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May 27, 2018

Phillies focusing on third overall pick in upcoming MLB draft

It's by far the least popular, least well-known draft — but it's definitely worth paying attention to.

In the shadow of the Sixers (and their 10th and 26th overall picks) and the Eagles (who traded their 32nd pick to move back and take Dallas Goedert) and even the Flyers (who will pick twice in the top 20), the Phillies' pick third in the first round of June's MLB draft and it's a really important decision for the franchise.

Close to a surprising first place in the NL East (prior to first pitch in Sunday's series finale against Toronto they were before falling 5-3), the Phillies expect to be done picking in the top 3 after this year, making their retroactive pick to last year's 96 loss season of utmost importance. It's like the 2017 NBA draft with the Celtics picking first — the rich get richer.

Of course, with a complex farm system and a long process to make the big leagues there is no guarantee even the No. 3 pick makes it to the majors. But it's the Phils' best shot at a young superstar as the team starts to compete for a playoff spot.

"There's still a lot of work to do," Phillies director of scouting Johnny Almaraz said Sunday.

Philadelphia has been slotted $6.9 million to make the pick and according to Almaraz they are looking at 10 players more in depth for their first pick. While it seems likely the team will look for a big bat early, Almaraz stressed how talented several college arms — many of them potential bullpen pieces — were in the draft pool as well.

With mock drafts circulating as the event approaches, on June 4, here's a brief look at the four best players likely to be taken early on draft day (the Tigers have the first pick, followed by the Giants, Phillies and White Sox):

Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn

Mize, in all likelihood will not be around for the Phillies to get a shot at him — as he is the near consensus No. 1. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds he is a power pitcher known for his splitter. If some sort of tumble occurs the Phils will no doubt pounce on the junior who is 9-5 with a 3.07 ERA.

Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech

Bart could be the dream selection for Philadelphia. He's perhaps the best catching prospect since Buster Posey and has slash lines of .368/.481/.651 with 16 home runs this spring. Jorge Alfaro is still learning to be an everyday catcher (just holding his own hitting .240) there is no glaring need for a quick to the bigs backstop but the upside makes him quite appealing if Philly can grab him at No. 3

Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State

Bohm seems the most likely player to land in red pinstripes, with power and the ability to hit to all fields. His range on defense could make him move to first base — a spot currently manned by veteran Carlos Santana. Bohm is also a junior, but his college experience gives him a quicker path to the majors than Phillies' recent first rounders Mickey Moniak or Cornelius Randolph.

Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State

The Phils could also go for the best pure hitter in the draft in Madrigal. At, 5-foot-7, he hit an incredible .458/.514/.635, though he did miss several games early in the year with an injury. He could be a gold glove caliber second baseman but likely won't hit for much power as a pro.

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