Phillies Draft Preview
By Will Kimmey
Scouting Director: Marti Wolever (first draft: 2002).
2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking 15th)
2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking fourth)
Arbuckle, who handled the scouting and drafting of more of the premium talent last season, will allow Wolever to run the entire draft this year, as the Phillies won't pick until the third round. They lost their top two selections as compensation for signing Jim Thome and David Bell to anchor the infield corners.
While the lower draft position might prevent the Phillies from selecting a premium talent, it shouldn't cripple their draft haul. The scouting staff has uncovered several gems after the first round under Arbuckle's watch, including Marlon Byrd (10th round, 1999), righthander Taylor Buchholz (sixth round, 2000), outfielder Jorge Padilla (third round, 1998), righthander Ryan Madson (ninth round, 1998), first baseman Ryan Howard and third baseman Jake Blalock.
Before choosing Blalock last year, the Phillies grabbed a pair of projectable high school power arms in lefthander Cole Hamels and righty Zach Segovia.
Both made their way into the Phillies' Top 10 Prospects list, continuing the tradition started by 1999 top pick Brett Myers and followed by current top prospect Gavin Floyd (fourth overall in 2001), Buchholz and Madson.
While Arbuckle's shrewd drafting has helped rejuvenate a farm system that ranked in the bottom third of the league when he took over in October 1992, he's also led a significant improvement in international scouting for an organization that had very little Latin American presence upon his arrival.
The Phillies' most recent foreign investments include two Top 10 Prospects in shortstop Anderson Machado and righthander Elizardo Ramirez, as well as 11 more players among their best 30. And because more than 80 players will be off the draft board before the Phillies make their first choice, they might be more active in the foreign market by using some of the money that would have been used for signing a first-round pick.