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October 17, 2016

How Moniak, Phillies graded out in Baseball America's Draft report card

Let’s begin with a disclaimer: it’s difficult to regard any Major League Baseball draft as a success or failure for at least three or four years, let alone three or fourth months.

For example, J.P. Crawford and Andrew Knapp were the Phillies first two picks in the 2013 draft, and both may be on the cusp of the big leagues, but it’s too early to proclaim them anything other than promising prospects in 2016. And even the 2012 draft has yet to produce a big leaguer for the Phillies but does have some hopeful names in Dylan Cozens and Andrew Pullin (and even former top pick Shane Watson had a promising 2016, his first full season since undergoing shoulder surgery in early 2014).

So taking the following for what it is: an educated, researched opinion – but still an opinion – from the good folks at Baseball America. The staff at BA has been covering baseball’s amateur draft longer than any other outlet, so they’re clearly respected in the industry … and that’s why we’re sharing their draft report card that can be found in the latest issue (available at your favorite newsstand/book retailer/on-line with a membership).

Some of the information was free of charge on their website on Monday, including this: Baseball America ranked the best overall drafts and had the Phillies at No.4, behind the Reds, Braves, and Brewers.

The Phillies had the top pick, of course, but the teams ahead of them are hardly surprising. The Reds had the largest draft bonus pool for their top 10 picks than any other team in baseball, while the Braves had the third largest pool.

The Phils had the second biggest bonus pool; the Brewers were eighth. The Boston Red Sox, ranked as having the fifth best draft by BA, had the 18th largest pool.

Back to BA's analysis.

Baseball America ranked several other categories and top pick Mickey Moniak fared quite well: the 18-year-old Southern California center fielder ranked as the second “best pure hitter” in the draft (behind second overall pick Nick Senzel), as the “best defensive player” in the draft, as the second “best high school player” (behind Blue Jays second-round pick Bo Bichette), and as the high school player in the draft “closest to the majors.”

Moniak, the franchise’s first No. 1 overall pick since Pat Burrell, hit .284 with a .340 OBP, one home run, 11 doubles, three triples, and 10 stolen bases in 46 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies this summer. If he continues to show promise this spring, Moniak will likely find himself at Low-A Lakewood at some point in 2017.

The only other Phillies draft pick that was featured on Baseball America’s overall draft report card was left-hander Kyle Young. The 18-year-old Young was ranked by BA as the second “best late-round pick,” behind Cleveland 11th round outfielder Andrew Calica.

Young, the Phillies 22nd round pick out of St. Dominic (N.Y.) High School, went 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA, 19 strikeouts, and just two walks in 27 innings (nine games) in the Gulf Coast League. Young basically has the body type of Hall of Famer Randy Johnson: he’s listed at 6-10, 220 pounds.

Here is what Hudson Belinsky, Baseball America’s primary draft writer, wrote about Young: “…the Phillies see an upper-90s fastball in his future to go along with extremely promising command and a curveball that works well from his angle.”

Here are a few other things Belinsky wrote within the Phillies draft report card inside the latest issue of Baseball America:

Best Power: 1B Darick Hall (14th round) has all fields power; he swatted 20 home runs for Dallas Baptist in the spring, then posted a .236 isolated slugging percentage with nine home runs and 19 doubles in his pro debut at short-season Williamsport. SS Cole Stobbe (3rd round) shows plus raw power and the ball comes off his bat with life even when he doesn’t loft it over the fence.

Fastest Runner: Moniak is a plus runner, with the ability to reach first base in 4.15 seconds from the left side.

Best Fastball: Kevin Gowdy (2nd round) fastball works in the low 90s and has reached as high as 96. He commands the pitch well and it shows late finish. LHP JoJo Romero (4th round) and Blake Quinn (9th round) have reached bumped 95 with their fastballs.

Best Secondary Pitch: Gowdy throws a hard and deep, late-breaking slider with power and he can command it to either side of the strike zone. RHP Grant Dyer (8th round) has a true top-to-bottom curveball that earns plus grades as well.

Best Pro Debut: Moniak excelled in his pro debut, particularly in July, when he batted .346. LHP Cole Irvin (5th round) never allowed more than two earned runs in a single start, and pitched to a 1.97 ERA. Dyer forced his way up to low Class A Lakewood, posting a robust 57-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 42 1/3 innings out of the bullpen across two levels. Quinn posted a 1.11 ERA across short-season Williamsport and low Class A Lakewood.

For more on the Phillies 2016 draft (and a complete look at the overall draft class), go pick up a copy of Baseball America.

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