Phillies 2002 Draft Overview
By Josh Boyd
Scouting Director: Marti Wolever (first year: 2002).
2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking 15th)
2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking fourth)
The plan is designed to keep a consistent balance between the two departments, and gives the organization a two-headed scouting director. Arbuckle has done wonders with the system during his tenure.
Despite giving up second- and third-rounders for veteran relievers last year, the Phillies are encouraged by the early returns on the 2001 draft. They landed the top prep pitcher in the country, Gavin Floyd, with the fourth overall choice and found potential high school sleepers in third baseman Terry Jones (fourth round), first baseman Bryan Hansen (sixth) and lefthander Vinny DeChristofaro (seventh). Fifth-rounder Ryan Howard slipped after a disappointing junior season at Southwest Missouri State, following an 18-home run performance as a sophomore, but has shown plus-plus power potential.
In addition to bulking up the system through increased international efforts, Arbuckle and his scouting staff have found several gems after the first round of the draft, including top prospect Marlon Byrd (10th round, 1999), righthander Taylor Buchholz (sixth round, 2000), outfielder Jorge Padilla (third round, 1998) and righthander Ryan Madson (ninth round, 1998).
The Phillies' philosophy won't change under Wolever, who was instrumental in previoius drafts as a national crosschecker. They have found success in going after projectable power righthanders like Brad Baisley, Brett Myers, Floyd, Buchholz and Madson.
The system is short on position players in the lower levels, however. They are strong up the middle with shortstops Anderson Machado, Danny Gonzalez and Carlos Rodriguez, and the hot corner has been fortified by shifting second baseman Chase Utley to third, and the emergence of Travis Chapman at Double-A Reading.
The Phillies will be one of many teams that will have to decide whether to take a top talent who slides due to signability questions. They won't shy away from Jason Neighborgall, who fits their mold to a tee with his 92-96 mph gas and tight-spinning curveball. They also see Florida high schooler Matt Whitney as a potential Scott Rolen clone at third and could pop him with the 17th pick.
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