Image credit: Bryson Stott (Photo by Mike Janes/Four Seam)
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2019 RECORD: 81-81
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: The Phillies have graduated most of their few draft successes to the majors (Austin Nola, Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Adam Haseley), giving them presently one of MLB’s shallowest and worst farm systems. Righthander Spencer Howard and third baseman Alec Bohm at least give Philadelphia two prospects at the top to work with.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: RHP Aaron Nola (first round, 2014). The Phillies found a star when they drafted the Louisiana State righthander seventh overall. Nola reached the majors in a year and has settled in as a durable, front-of-the-rotation starter. He already has an all-star appearance and top-3 Cy Young finish on his resume by age 26.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: OF Mickey Moniak (first round, 2016). The Phillies decided to play slot games at the top of the draft and paid the price. Rather than select the best player available with the No. 1 overall pick, the Phillies gave Moniak an under-slot bonus and used the savings to go over-slot on later picks Kevin Gowdy and Cole Stobbe. Moniak hit .252 at Double-A last year while Gowdy and Stobbe have yet to play above low Class A. The No. 2 pick, Nick Senzel, received a larger signing bonus and has already spent a season in the majors. The top-ranked prospect in the class, lefthander A.J. Puk, reached the majors in three years despite having Tommy John surgery and was on the A’s playoff roster last fall.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): Shortstop and catcher. 2019 first-rounder Bryson Stott and intriguing teenager Luis Garcia headline a Phillies shortstop group that has some promise. While none of them project as true everyday backstops, the Phillies have five catchers in their Top 30 Prospects, headlined by defensive stalwart Rafael Marchan.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): Outfield. The struggles of first-round picks Moniak and Cornelius Randolph have left the Phillies without any outfield prospects who project as everyday players. Bryce Harper is signed for another 12 years, but the Phillies will need current young big leaguers like Haseley to step up in the outfield around him.
DRAFT TRENDS: The Phillies have drafted a college position player with each of their last three first-round picks. They haven’t shied away from drafting players from mid-majors up high, selecting Bohm from Wichita State and Stott from Nevada-Las Vegas with their last two first-round picks and Howard from Cal Poly with their most recent second-round pick.