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Phillies 2002 Draft Overview

By Josh Boyd
May 16, 2002

Scouting Director: Marti Wolever (first year: 2002).

2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking 15th)
1. Chase Utley, 2b, UCLA.
2. (Choice to Indians as compensation for free agent Mike Jackson).
3. Keith Bucktrot, rhp, Claremore (Okla.) HS.

2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking fourth)
1. Gavin Floyd, rhp, Mount St. Joseph HS, Severna Park, Md.
2. (Choice to Red Sox as compensation for free agent Rheal Cormier).
3. (Choice to Mariners as compensation for free agent Jose Mesa).

2002 Draft
Phillies pick 17th in rotation.

Marti Wolever assumed the scouting director's job last fall when Mike Arbuckle was promoted to assistant general manager. But don't expect Arbuckle, who had been the scouting director since 1992, to relinquish his draft responsibilities completely. In fact, his promotion gives the Phillies an additional perspective because he still oversees the scouting and player development departments.

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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