Phillies Grab Shortstop But Not What They Need In First Round of MLB Draft
Phillies leave Secaucus with two top-class middle infielders.
The first round of the Major League Baseball draft is in the books and the Philadelphia Phillies are walking out of Secaucus with two top-class middle infielders. With the tenth pick in the draft on Monday night, the Phillies selected shortstop Cornelius Randolph out of Griffin High School (Ga.) and second baseman Scott Kingery out of the University of Arizona with the 48th pick.
While the potential power-hitter in Randolph may look like a good pick in the first round, it’s not what the Phillies need at the moment. There is no certainty that Randolph is a good fit at shortstop to begin with. The Phillies brought up Freddy Galvis last season and he is the everyday shortstop this year and is batting .256, following the trade of Jimmy Rollins in the off-season. Randolph’s body build could leave him as a second baseman, where he may eventually replace Chase Utley who is nearing the end of his career at 36 years of age. With the Phillies second round pick of Kingery, however, that hole may already be filled when the time comes. Randolph’s arm strength he could also be a good fit at third base if it weren’t for Maikel Franco, who was brought up this season at 22 years old and is batting .250.
The area of interest for the Phillies should be pitchers and with an aging pitching staff, there were plenty of pitchers left on the board when the team selected tenth.
One of those pitchers that was left was the number ten prospect and number four pitcher in the draft Jon Harris, according to MLB.com. Harris was a starter at Missouri State this season, finishing with an 8-2 record and a 2.45 ERA in his junior year, leading the Bears to a Super Regional appearance in the NCAA tournament. Harris ended up going 29th to the Blue Jays.
Also on the board at the time was Walker Buehler, a right-handed pitcher out of Vanderbilt. The junior has four pitches that are rated at above average or better, according to MLB.com. Buehler’s best pitch is his fast ball which tops out at 96 miles per hour. Buehler ended up being selected 24th by the Dodgers.
With a starting rotation that features three pitchers over the age of 30, the Phillies first round is a less than desirable one looking toward the future. In addition to the starting rotation, two pitchers out of the bullpen are over 30 years old, leaving the pitching staff with five out of 11 pitchers over the hump and on their way to the end of their careers.
The Phillies have been trying to recreate the magic they had when they were able to get Roy Halladay at the age of 33 in 2010, adding A.J. Burnett and Aaron Harang in the past two seasons, both of which were over 30 at the time as well.
That was a once in a lifetime chance for General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., getting Halladay and the World Series ring that followed. Now the Phillies need to rebuild with a focus on the pitching staff. The best place to start is at the entry draft and promote players from the minors the way the Kansas City Royals did in 2014. With another 38 rounds to go in the draft, the Phillies still have time but they need to strike the match soon before all of the talent is gone.
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