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June 22, 2016

Phillies announce deals with Gowdy, three other top picks

Mickey Moniak arrived at the Phillies facilities in Clearwater, Fla., on Wednesday morning. Soon, he’ll be welcoming four more 2016 draft picks, including two guys he referred to as “some of his best friends” before the end of the week.

After coming to an agreement with Moniak, the No.1 overall pick of the draft, on Monday, the Phillies announced they had come to terms with four more players, including second-round pick Kevin Gowdy, a prep righthander out of Santa Barbara, Calif., who was thought to be a tough sign with a firm commitment to UCLA entering the draft.

Along with Gowdy, the 42nd overall pick of the draft, the Phillies announced deals with third-round shortstop Cole Stobbe, fourth round junior college left-hander JoJo Romero, and 11th round high school outfielder Josh Stephen. The Phils have signed 25 of their 40 selections, including each of their first 14 picks.

According to, Gowdy received a $3.5 million signing bonus, which is nearly $2 million more than the recommended slot value for the 42nd pick.

But that was clearly the Phillies strategy in a draft that was without a surefire No. 1 pick (like a Bryce Harper or Ken Griffey Jr.). They signed Moniak earlier this week for a reported $6.1 million bonus, which was nearly $3 million below slot for the draft’s top pick. The Phillies transferred that “savings” to lock in Gowdy, Stobbe, and others.

The 6-2 Gowdy had a 1.59 ERA and 93 strikeouts (and just five walks) in 56 2/3 innings in 20 games at Santa Barbara High this year.

“A young right-handed pitcher who has the ability to command the baseball at such a young age,” Almaraz said of Gowdy on draft night. “Above average fastball and good breaking stuff. I’m a believer you can’t teach somebody how to pitch. He’s got that innate ability to pitch and get hitters out and that’s what we want in this organization, front line pitchers.”

Gowdy, Stobbe, and Moniak all played together last summer on the United States under 18 national team. Moniak said the trio has been texting daily ever since all three were drafted by the Phillies two weeks ago.

“I played with them last summer and now to start a career with them,” Moniak said. “It couldn’t be scripted any better. It’s awesome.”

The Phillies obviously valued Moniak as the best high school bat in the country on draft night. But after the draft’s third day, amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz called 11th rounder Stephen as “the third-best high school bat in California.”

Stephen was committed to play at the University of Southern California before coming to an agreement with the Phillies.

“A really good-looking kid who can hit,” Almaraz said of Stephen after the Phillies completed the three-day draft. “He has power. We think he’s a corner guy who is going to hit for average and hit 20 home runs.”

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