Thursday, June 09, 2016

Ranking the Phillies first round draft picks

The Phillies have drafted 52 players in the first round. Thirty-five of them have made the major leagues. It's not a bad record. They haven't picked any Hall of Famers, though two current players might get in. Here's a look at the Phillies record.

No. 1 Chase Utley
WAR: 63.7
Rating: Majestic home run of the Jim Thome variety
Comment: The Phillies got the best player out of this draft despite picking 15th. He led the Phillies to the World Series.

No. 2 Cole Hamels
WAR: 47.3
Rating: Home run, Chase Utley shot off the facade at Yankee Stadium
Comment: Two years after picking Chase Utley in the middle of the draft, Ed Wade and co. nabbed a future NLCS and World Series MVP at No. 17.

No. 3 Greg Luzinski
WAR: 26.1
Rating: Ryan Howard home run in the ninth that ties the game.
Comment: The Bull was a major player on a World Series-winning team in Philadelphia and was nearly an MVP in a couple of seasons.

No. 4 Lonnie Smith
WAR: 38.4
Rating: Line drive home run that's out of the park before you see it.
Comment: It's easy to forget how good a career Smith had. He won three World Series rings with three different teams in the 1980s and played in another with the Braves in 1991 and 1992. An All-Star, he finished in the top 11 in MVP voting twice.

No. 5 Pat Burrell
WAR: 18.8
Rating: Line shot deep to center field. That ball is ... off the wall. Burrell lumbers into second on a double. He just missed that one Wheels.
Comment: Pat the Bat was selected first overall and did make a splash in the Big Leagues, winning two World Series wins - including one with the Phillies - while only collecting one World Series hit.

No. 6 Mike Lieberthal
WAR: 15.2
Rating: Triple in the gap.
Comment: In a deep draft, the Phillies got a solid pick out of the No. 3 slot in Mike Lieberthal. He spent 13 years in Philly, and played in two All-Star games.

No. 7 John Stearns
WAR: 19.6
Rating: Double, solid
Comment: Here's a tricky one. Stearnes had a good career. A four-time All-Star, he played just one game in Philly. However, he was one of the players the Phils sent to the Mets to get Tug McGraw.

No. 8 Brett Myers
WAR: 14.4
Rating: Double, bloop
Comment: It's easy to forget how long Myers pitched in Philly. He was quite good for much of his career, including helping the Phillies win a World Series.

No. 9 Larry Christenson
WAR: 10.6
Rating: Double lofted just past the reach of the second baseman and somehow rolls to the wall
Comment: The pitcher spent his entire 11-year career in Philadelphia, including winning a World Series. That's a solid pick.

No. 10 JD Drew
WAR: 44.9
Rating: Double, thrown out going to third.
Comment: OK, so he never played an inning in Phillie; J.D. Drew was still a very good baseball player. Drew was better than all but three or four guys on this list. Anyone who denies that doesn't know the difference between Dr. J and Dr Pepper.

No. 11 Ricky Jordan
WAR: 4.9
Rating: Solid single
Comment: Selected at No. 22, Jordan spent several seasons in Philadelphia but never lived up to the hype.

No. 12 Gavin Floyd
WAR: 15.5
Rating: Bloop single
Comment: Floyd never developed in Philly, but he was a solid pitcher overall. Mark Tiexiera was selected one pick later. That hurts.

No. 13 Adam Eaton
WAR: 5.3
Rating: Seeing-eye single
Comment: Hey, he came back and won a ring in Phillie, 12 years after being selected 11th.

No. 14 Pete Smith
WAR: 5.2
Rating: Line drive, caught
Comment: I always forget he was a Phillies draft pick. He stayed around in the big leagues for awhile. Not bad for the 21st pick in 1984

No. 15 Mike Anderson
WAR: 4.5
Rating: Bunt single
Comment: A couple of good guys were selected after Anderson, but he was drafted sixth in 1969, was in the big leagues two years later and stuck around in Phillie until he was traded for 1980 champion Ron Reed.

No. 16 Aaron Nola
WAR: 3.5
Rating: Swung on and lifted to left center field. Grissom racing back. He can't get it. It's a...
Comment: He doesn't even have 35 starts in and he's been very good. If he can stay healthy and keep doing what he's doing he'll climb up this list in a few seasons.

No. 17 Travis D'Arnaud
WAR: 1.3
Rating: Single
Comment: He helped net Roy Halladay. Probably should be higher on this list. If he could stay healthy in future seasons, this 2007 pick could be a solid player.

No. 18 Roy Thomas
WAR: 3.2
Rating: A double play that scores a run.
Comment: Taken sixth overall in 1971, he was eventually part of the deal that netted Jim Kaat. Jim Rice, Frank Tanana and Rick Rhoden were still available when he was drafted, though.

No. 19 John Russell
WAR: -3.1
Rating: A dribbler past the mound that gets through.
Comment: Selected 13th overall in 1982, John Russell ended up playing more than 400 games in the big leagues. He did however have a negative WAR almost every season he played.

No. 20 Pat Combs
WAR: 1.8
Rating: Soft liner to left for an out.
Comment: Picked 11th in 1988, Combs made the majors. As a kid in Scranton, I got his autograph a number of times. He had bible verses on the card. As a practicing Catholic, I was more concerned with his lack of location than strength of devotion.

No. 21 David Coggin
WAR: .3
Rating: Ground ball to the right side that moves the runner over
Comment: This guy had some solid stuff, but never put it together. That said, he reached the big leagues as the No. 30 pick.

No. 22 Wayne Gomes
WAR: .3
Rating: Sinking liner to center that's caught.
Comment: Joe Carter wasn't the only thing that haunts the Phillies from 1993. When they selected Wayne Gomes fourth overall, they left Chris Carpenter, Derrek Lee, Jason Varitek, Torii Hunter and Billy Wagner on the board.

No. 23 Reggie Taylor
WAR: -.5
Rating: Single
Comment: Picked 14th in a solid 1995 draft, Taylor played more than 200 games in the big leagues. So it's not a full miss. The problem is that Roy Halladay was still on the board.

No. 24 Eric Valent
WAR: -.9
Rating: Line drive to third for an out.
Comment: A suplimental pick in the 1998 draft, he was once more highly touted than Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. He did play 200 games in the big leagues, but he didn't have a successful big league career.

No. 25 Tyler Green
WAR: -.5
Rating: Foul tip out on 10-pitch at-bat.
Comment: If I told you you had the tenth pick in the draft and that the guy you selected would be an All-Star, you'd be happy. The context, though, is that the guy pitched a total of 71 games in the big leagues, tossed fewer than 400 innings and retired with an ERA north of 5.10. Oh, and the next five picks were Shawn Estes, Doug Glanville, Manny Ramirez and Cliff Floyd.

No. 26 Scott Munninghoff
WAR: .2
Rating: Fly ball to deep right that allows the runner to move up to third.
Comment: He played four games in the big leagues after being the 22 overall pick in 77.

No. 27 Kyle Drabek
WAR: -.1
Rating: Line drive in the gap, caught on the dive. The runner on third scores.
Comment: OK, let's remember the Roy Halladay trade. The Phillies got him for two first rounders who have yet to accomplish much in the big leagues. Drabek was the 18th pick in 2006 and looked like a stud, but injuries got in the way.

No. 28. Joe Savery
WAR: 0.0
Rating: Hard grounder to first base.
Comment: Man, this was a loaded class. It's not even a decade old and we've seen Jason Heyward (31.9 WAR), David Price (29.9), Josh Donaldson (27.5) and Madison Bumgarner (25.8) leave an imprint on the game. The draft also included the likes of Matt Weiters, Todd Frazier, Mike Moustakas and Rick Porcello. Missing on Savery, who was selected before Donaldson, Frazier, Ben Revere, Porcello and a few others.

No. 29 Adrien Cardenas
WAR: -.3
Rating: Ground out to third.
Comment: Pat Gillick was able to package the 37th selection from 2006 with a few others for Joe Blanton, who won a ring in Philly.

No. 30 Brad Brink
WAR: -.2
Rating: A grounder in front of the plate.
Comment: Selected seventh overall in a top-heavy 1986 draft, Brink didn't pay off. The first six picks helped their franchises. Jeff King, Greg Swindell, Matt Williams, Kevin Brown, Kent Merker and Gary Sheffield were the top picks. Brink was a miss, but the best guy after him was Roberto Hernandez.

No. 31 Greg Golson
WAR: -.5
Rating: Soft fly to center.
Comment: The 21st selection in 2004, Golson had a ton of promise. By 2008, he was hitting above .280/.330/.420 in AA with 13 homers and more than 20 stolen bases. But he could never stay healthy and keep everything together. He was traded for John Mayberry Jr.

No. 32 Carlton Loewer
WAR: -1.7
Rating: Pop up to the mound
Comment: Picked 23 in 1994, the Phillies picked a guy who pitched in the big leagues. They also used him to get Andy Ashby back from the Padres, but he never developed into what they expected.

No. 33 Johnny Abrego
WAR:  -.6
Rating: Infield Fly rule
Comment: Selected 20th in 1981, Abrego made it to the show for six games for the Chicago Cubs after the Phillies lost him in the rule 5 draft.

No. 34 Mike Adamson
WAR: - 1
Rating: Watching a fastball go right down broadway for strike three.
Comment: This was the Phillies first ever first round pick. Guess what. He didn't sign. But the next year, he was gobbled up by the Orioles and he spent three years in the bigs. So the Phillies picked a guy who made The Show, but they didn't seal the deal.

No. 35 J.P. Crawford
Hasn't made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: The pitch is going to be a strike and the swing looks good.
Comment: Though he still hasn't played a game in The Bigs, the young shortstop is one of the hottest prospects in baseball. Though we're sure he'll end up higher than this, we can't put him higher until he plays a few games.

No. 36 Cornelius Randolph
Hasn't made it to the Big Leagues 
Rating: The pitcher just released the ball.
Comment: Another kid who looks good and is working his way through the system. Last year's tenth overall pick hasn't played much this year because of a shoulder injury.

No. 37 Mitch Guellar
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Ground ball to the left side
Comment: He's spent five years in the system and hasn't made it out of A-ball. It's not promising.

No. 38 Shane Watson
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: High chopper, back to the mound
Comment: Taken 40th overall in 2012, Watson has battled injuries and inconsistency. Like Guellar, he hasn't made it out of A-ball. Lance McCullers was taken with the next pick.

No. 39 Jesse Biddle
Never made it to the Big Leagues 
Rating: Line drive caught by a diving first baseman
Comment: Taken 27th in 2010, the early returns were good. The lefty mowed down hitters until an injury and other issues lead to his release. 

No. 40 Jeff Kraus
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Whiffed on a fastball above the eyes
Comment: The Phils picked Kraus No. 17, which meant Mike Scioscia and Bruce Hurst were still on the board. Kraus, at least, made it to Double-A and hit .300 in one of his minor league seasons.

No. 41 Rip Rollins
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Struck out after fouling off a bunt.
Comment: Rollins has the best name of any Phillies first rounder. Sadly, he got ripped in the minors. Though he made it to Double-A, he never had an ERA under 4.27. He walked 170 batters in 367 innings.

No. 42 Trey McCall
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Swing and miss at a ball in the dirt, doesn't even run to first.
Comment: Taken 16th overall in 1985, McCall never made it past A-ball.
No. 43 Phil Meyer
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Didn't swing at three straight strikes
Comment: Taken with the No. 14 pick in the 1967 draft, Meyer looked good early on. He had decent ERAs and even retired with fewer hits than innings pitched.

No. 44 Chad McDonnell
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Backing out of the box as a strike rolls in.
Comment: McDonnell was one of 15 picks from this draft who didn't make the big leagues. The problem is that 23 players did. Those picked after him included Shannon Stewart, Rick Helling, Jason Kendall, Charles Johnson and Johnny Damon.

No. 45. Zach Collier
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Swing and a miss at a hittable pitch
Comment: He was drafter further down the first round than Anthony Hewitt, but he still hasn't made the show. The 25-year-old is playing in Double-A for Washington, so he's still got a shot. Just not a great one.

No. 46 Anthony Hewitt
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Foul tip
Comment: The No. 24 pick from the 2008 draft, Hewitt made it to Double-A, but was taken ahead of Gerrit Cole

No. 47 Henry Powell
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Popped up to short.
Comment: Picked 13th overall in 1980, Powell never played 200 games in the minor leagues.

No. 48 Sammye Welborn
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: With a runner on third and no one out, a ground ball to third that doesn't bring the runner in.
Comment: Welborn was selected 12th in 1975 and lasted nine years in the minor leagues and made it to Triple-A. He retired with an ERA north of 5.

No. 49 Larry Greene
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Batting out of order
Comment: Thanks to the Phillies dominant 2011 season, the Phillies didn't have a pick until No. 39. Well, Greene didn't make it out of A-ball. Selected because of his promising power, he popped a grand total of four home runs in his minor league career.

No. 50 Mike Martin
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Bunting into a double play.
Comment: This was a terrible draft in 1970. The best player was Darrell Porter and Dan Ford was the only other consequential pick. Still, he was the only pick in the top 7 to not make the Major Leagues. Interestingly, he was a pitcher and hitter who showed some success  with a 15-homer, .252/.307/.438 at A-ball.

No. 51 Mike Biko
Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Struck out on three straight balls in the dirt.
Comment: He was selected 9th  overall in 1966. Seven of the next nine picks would play in the big leagues, including Gary Nolan and Richie Hebner. Biko pitched 91 games in the minor leagues.
No. 52 Jeff Jackson
 Never made it to the Big Leagues
Rating: Remember John Kruk batting right-handed against Randy Johnson in the 1993 All-Star Game? Yeah, that was this.
Comment: So, Jeff Jackson was picked fourth overall. He never made it above AA. His minor league batting average was .225. Only once did he hit more than six home runs. He was taken ahead of Frank Thomas. The guy with more than 500 home runs, two MVPS and a plaque in Cooperstown. That said, the second through sixth picks combined for a .4 WAR.


ripjgarcia said...

Adam Eaton?! really? Has no business being that high on your list. But... there is always a future in comedy for you.

GM-Carson said...

Adam Eaton wasn't terrible for half of his career. We just remember the bad.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Eaton:
1. He made it to the show. Others didn't.
2. He was in a fairly weak draft in which Eric Chavez was the best player and RA Dickey was second best.
3. He spent 10 years in the big leagues, started more than 200 games, pitched more than 1,000 innings. Only 190 pitchers in history have more strikeouts than him.

rslitman said...

Chad McDonnell (I thought it was McConnell) suffered a serious knee injury after a quick ascent to AA and was not able to come back from it.

Wayne Gomes was injured as a baserunner in a major league game, no doubt an unfamiliar role for him. By the time he came back, the Phillies had moved on to other bullpen options. He was traded to the Red Sox, but his career stalled in that organization. Rico Brogna was another Phillie around that time who got injured, and the Phillies went with other options in his absence and traded him to another organization where he got lost in the shuffle.

Tyler Greene had one good short stretch early in the 1995 season that garnered him an All Star selection that year, and it was downhill from there. Incidentally, this scenario repeated itself in 2013 with a guy the Phillies didn't draft until the 20th round but who quickly became the team's top prospect.

Larry Greene was gone very quickly for someone that was drafted so early. I think that even Anthony Hewitt and Jeff Jackson were retained longer. Did they release him, or did he just give up on the game?

Henry "Lebo" Powell, a high school catcher, was released less than three years later due to a substance abuse issue, from what I've heard. The Phillies drafted another high school catcher in a 20th-something round, a guy named Darren Daulton. So Powell's failure may not have hurt much.

Johnny (or Jonny) Abrego only won one MLB game for the Cubs. It was against the Phillies at the Vet.

rslitman said...

Roy Thomas shared his name with a long-ago Phillie who's in their team Hall of Fame. The more recent Roy Thomas was their first round pick the same year the Phillies picked Mike Schmidt on the 2nd round.

Pat said...

Growing up in Moosic, the same borough that was home to the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, I saw a couple of these guys growing up.
Man, did I have high hopes for Gomes.

rslitman said...

Now I'll throw a few more names at you: Matt Rambo - 2nd round, 1987
Tim Moss - 3rd round, 2003
Mike Costanzo - 2nd round, 2005
Kelly Dugan - 2nd round,2009

These were the Phillies' first picks when they didn't have earlier ones. Only Costanzo has made it to the majors, although Dugan may still be in some other team's minor league system. Costanzo made it to the big leagues with the Reds, his fourth organization, for less thana month. His war was negative zero point six. He did serve the Phillies well in one regard: He was part of the package sent to Houston for Brad Lidge.

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