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March 13, 2016

South Jersey's Groome No. 1 on Baseball America's top draft prospect list

Holy Ghost's Jones ranked 16th

TAMPA, Fla. – The Phillies took the field on Sunday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field set to play an exhibition game that could go a long way into determining who will win the final job in the team’s rotation.

Adam Morgan, in the rotation at the end of the 2015 season, was set to start. Brett Oberholtzer, who came over in the December trade that sent Ken Giles to Houston, is on tap to follow. The two left-handers are competing with right-hander Vince Velasquez, also from the Giles trade, for the fifth spot in the rotation.

It’s a fun spring storyline. But, at least from this chair, a more interesting piece of information came across my twitter timeline about a half hour before the game.

Baseball America released its Top 100 Draft Prospects list.

Since you could certainly make the argument that no date on the Phillies 2016 calendar is more important than June 9, when they’ll make the first pick Major League Baseball’s draft, this list is more than a little interesting and worth taking a look at.

A few quick takeaways:

Jason Groome, the big-armed, South Jersey left-hander everyone has been aware of as a legitimate contender for the 1-1 slot for most of the last year, is on top. Not surprising. Given all of that, Groome would seem to be the odds-on favorite, as of March 13, to go No.1 to the Phillies.

• What is a little surprising: five of Baseball America’s top eight prospects are position players. For most of the last year, the word was the top of the 2016 draft (particularly the top five) would be pitching heavy. So, perhaps the Phils will have a real option with a projectable bat.

• According to Baseball America, two local kids are among the top 16 prospects. Along with Groome (Barnegat High in Barnegat, N.J.) is Nolan Jones, a shortstop from Holy Ghost Prep (Langhorne, Pa.). Jones is a former two-sport star whose brother could also be drafted in June – but not in the baseball draft.

Here are Baseball America's Top 20 prospects (click on each name for more biographical information):

BA Rank  NamePosition School 
 1. Jason Groome  LHP Barnegat (N.J.)  High School  
 2. Nick Senzel   3BUniv. of Tennessee 
 3. Blake Rutherford  OF Chaminade College Prep, Canoga Park, Calif.  
4.  Riley Pint   RHP St. Thomas Aquinas High, Overland Park, Kan.  
 5.  Delvin Perez SS  Professional Educational High School, Carolina, Puerto Rico  
 6. A. J. Puk  LHP Univ. of Florida
 7.  Corey RayOF Louisville University 
 8.Kyle Lewis OF Mercer University 
9.  Alec Hansen   RHP Oklahoma University 
 10. Connor Jones   RHP Univ. of Virginia 
 11. Josh Lowe  3B  Pope High, Marietta, Ga. 
 12.  Buddy Reed OF  Univ. of Florida 
 13. Ian Anderson  RHP  ShShenendohowa High, Clifton Park, N.Y. 
 14. Kevin Gowdy  RHP  Santa Barbara (Calif.) High 
 15. Mickey Moniak  OF La Costa Canyon High, Carldbad, Calif. 
 16. Nolan Jones SS  Holy Ghost Prep (Pa.) 
 17. Bryan Reynolds   OF Vanderbilt Univ. 
18.  Matt Krook  LHP  Univ. of Oregon 
 19. Dakota Hudson  RHP  Mississippi St. 
 20. Daulton Jefferies  RHP  Univ. of California - Berkeley 

(No, that last name is not the son of Gregg Jefferies, and named after his former Phillies teammate.) 

Again, here is the link for Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects for the draft, which, again, takes place on June 9.