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Phillies Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: 1B Reggie Griggs (18) batted .340-6-42 to rank in the top five in all three triple-crown categories in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He was old for the GCL at 22, though he came from a small-college background at Florida A&M. OF Anthony Hensley (20) led the short-season New York-Penn League in stolen bases (43 in 52 attempts), walks (60) and on-base percentage (.430).

Best Athlete: RHP Keith Bucktrot (3) has a live arm; some teams liked him better as a multi-tooled outfielder.

Best Hitter: 2B Chase Utley (1), who hit .307-2-22 with 13 doubles for short-season Batavia, was the best pure hitter in the college ranks. Some teams didn’t like his hands and range at second base, but the Phillies say he has shown improvement and should be able to stay there.

Best Raw Power: For now, it’s Griggs. 1B Tony Cancio (7), who’s four years younger, has more power potential and a better chance of reaching the majors.

Fastest Runner: Hensley has good leadoff skills and baserunning instincts to go with his 6.55-second speed in the 60-yard dash.

Best Defensive Player: Danny Gonzalez (4) is a pure shortstop who’s so fluid that he has been compared to Roberto Alomar. SS Scott Youngbauer (10) is less flashy but more reliable at this point.

Best Fastball: RHP Andrew Elskamp (36), the lowest-drafted player signed by Philadelphia, has hit 94-95 mph when used in relief. RHP Matt Riethmaier (5) has thrown 93-94 mph in the same role.

Most Intriguing Background: OF Brandon Caraway (12) hit in 40 straight games at Houston in 1998-99, the eighth-longest streak in NCAA Division I history. He batted only .218 at Batavia, however.

Closest To The Majors: If Utley can handle the defensive responsibilities of second base, Marlon Anderson better start looking over his shoulder.

Best Late-Round Pick: Emil Belich, the 2000 scout of the year honoree in the Midwest, uncovered both Elskamp and RHP Chad Sadowski (23) in Wisconsin, which isn’t exactly a prospect hotbed. Sadowski throws 92-93 mph.

The One Who Got Away: Philadelphia signed 25 of its top 27 picks and got everyone it really wanted. The best player it didn’t get is projectable LHP Chad White (30), who may also play some outfield at Alabama.

Assessment: In time, Utley will fit nicely at the top of a Phillies lineup that already includes standouts Bob Abreu, Pat Burrell, Mike Lieberthal and Scott Rolen. Losing their second-round pick for signing free agent Mike Jackson, who got hurt before pitching in a regular-season game, was a blow.

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