June 02, 2019
One of the casualties of an improving team is their high draft picks, as the Phillies are learning first hand. After picking at the top of the draft just a few years ago, the Phillies have found themselves down in the middle of the pack for the 2019 version, and will likely see themselves fall even further in coming years.
And that's a good thing, because it means the big club is winning ballgames. But it certainly makes predicting their picks much more difficult.
The 2019 MLB Draft will begin on Monday night at 7 p.m., with the first two rounds being decided in primetime. Rounds 3-10 will be held on Tuesday, with the rest of the seemingly endless draft wrapping up on Wednesday.
So, who will the Phillies select with the 14th-overall pick on Monday? Well, that depends on who you ask.
We found eight different mock drafts, with six different players being chosen by the Phillies, meaning there were only two repeat picks. Here's a look at who the experts think Matt Klentak and Co. will select in the first round, and some reasoning behind each pick.
[Spoiler alert: A lot of it depends on what happens to the 13 picks ahead of the Phillies.]
Matt Gelb, The Athletic: The Phillies’ draft room is data-driven, and Kirby, a 6-foot-5 right-hander from Elon, checks all of the boxes. They have leaned toward college picks higher in the draft over the past few seasons because there is more actionable information. Kirby is a power arm with refined command — he has one of the better strikeout-to-walk ratios in the NCAA — and still has some projection in him because of his larger frame. The Phillies have not used their first pick to select a pitcher since Aaron Nola in 2014. This feels like the right moment to target another arm, even though the system’s weakness is position-player prospects. Plus, Kirby told the Elon News Network last month, “I just go out there and try to be a savage.” That’s first-round bravado.
Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel, Fangraphs: [RHP Jackson] Rutledge is the pick if he’s here, which he likely won’t be. They may underslot [Tulane 3B Kody] Hoese. Alabama SS Gunnar Henderson is a dark horse.
Keith Law, ESPN: I've heard Philly all over the place -- Kirby, Carroll, Brennan Malone and Hoese, in particular, which is one player from each of the four major categories.
Ryan Phillips, The Big Lead: Kody Hoese has jump up draft boards by annihilating college pitching this season. He finished this season hitting .391 with 23 home runs, 61 RBI and a ridiculous 1.265 OPS. He found his groove in the Cape Cod League last summer and hasn’t looked back. At 6’4″ and 200 pounds, Hoese has a solid frame and should stick at third base long-term. As his number show, Hoese isn’t just a raw power guy. He can hit and has a disciplined approach at the plate.
The Phillies want Rutledge, but he’s gone here. The feeling is they’ll cut an underslot deal with a college bat. In this case, Hoese’s stock is rising as a potential buy-low candidate.
Jim Callis, MLB.com: This feels like the floor for Langeliers, with Tulane third baseman Kody Hoese and Morgan Academy (Selma, Ala.) shortstop Gunnar Henderson as backup plans.
Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com: The Phillies could be in on any of the top college arms should they get here, including Thompson and Elon’s George Kirby. A high school bat like Brett Baty or Gunnar Henderson could also enter the conversation. And don’t rule out a prep pitcher like Matthew Allan.
Joel Reuter, Bleacher Report: Thompson failed a post-draft physical as an 11th-round pick out of high school, and he missed two months during his sophomore season with an elbow issue. He didn't have to undergo surgery and has been healthy this spring, but questions persist. Still, a left-hander with mid-90s heat and three solid off-speed pitches who has posted a 2.40 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 90 innings this spring is worth the risk.
Mike Axisa, CBS Sports.com: Henderson is the first player who did not appear in our first mock draft to climb into this update. He is shooting up draft boards this spring thanks to his smooth lefty swing and power potential, and defensive chops that at least give him a shot to remain at short long-term. The Phillies would likely jump on Manoah or Thompson here though.
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