Let’s be honest, the MLB draft is not the same spectacle that the NFL or NBA draft always puts on. Heck, it isn’t even close to the NHL draft. With the new era of Phillies baseball underway the draft is a little more exciting… at least to Philly sports fans. Let’s break down how new scouting director Brian Barber handles this shorten draft.
Ready and Abel
In the first round with the 15th overall pick, the Phillies went with the best player available. (I know I am shocked) The chose RHP Mick Abel. Abel, 18, out of Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. He is 6-5 and 198lbs.
Baseball America says Abel possesses “a tantalizing combination of present stuff, future projection, and pitchability.” He can heat up the radar gun 94 to 97 mph fastballs. He can also throw sliders and curveballs with room to improve and mature.
I take player comparisons with a grain of salt. Former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd said the following on MLB network. “I comped him to Justin Verlander, so that tells you how much I liked him,” former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd said on MLB Network. Another analyst compared the Portland Oregan prospect to Stephen Strasburg. Like I said a grain of salt but they are some great names to have with your comparison.
The Phillies had not taken a high school pitcher in the first round since 2010 with Jesse Biddle with the 27th overall pick. Mick Abel is the first pitcher taken by Philly in the first round since Aaron Nola in 2014.
The Second Pick is a Swing for the Fences.
Phils forfeited their second-round pick when they signed Zack Wheeler this offseason. They chose the University of Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin with the 87th pick of the draft in the third round. He was once considered a first-round picks. His strikeout rate and error total soared over the last two years. He was projected as the 38th-best draft prospect by Baseball America.
Martin is 5’11 and 175 lbs Martin has the prototypical build for a middle infielder. Martin has been described as both a potential five-tool player or a potential first-round bust. Only time will tell.
BIG Pick in the 3rd Round
RHP Carson Ragsdale is a beast. He is 6’8 and the tallest pitcher available in the 2020 draft. Ragsdale missed all of the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. He spent most of his college career as a relief pitcher until this year. All four of his appearances came as a starter in 2020.
In his four starts this season, He racked up 37 strikeouts in 19 innings of work. His pitches consist of a fastball that reaches 91-95 mph and a curveball as his best secondary pitch. During his college career, Ragsdale pitched to a 3.71 ERA in 50.1 innings of work.
The big man could continue to build his power and velocity. He may end up as a reliever long-term but has starter potential.
5th and Final Round
The Phillies’ final pick in the 2020 MLB draft was Baron Radcliff from Georgia Tech. Radcliff is a left-handed hitter who went deep 12 times last season but hit just .236 overall in three college seasons. His power is some of the best in the draft. Radcliff is a left-handed hitter who went deep 12 times last season but only hit .236 overall in three college seasons.
He struck out 44 times in 89 at-bats as a freshman, but improved that rate by about 15 percent in 2019. He isn’t known for speed or defense are not huge pluses for Radcliff’s. His power makes him a player to watch over the few years as he matures.
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