Reading a list of the Phillies’ first round picks since 2004 is like reading the IMDB page of Ashton Kutcher…. incredibly depressing and just bomb after bomb after bomb after bomb.
With 40 total rounds, the MLB Draft is a complete crap shoot, yes, but in the first round of the draft, the round you’ve had years to prepare for, to scout for, to research for….you should be able to pick at least a few players who actually MAKE your big league roster at one point or another. I’m not even talking about starting, or being a role player off the bench…I’m talking about making the roster and appearing in a Phillies uniform for just ONE GAME after being drafted in the first round.
It wasn’t always this way. The Phillies had a fantastic run of first round picks from 1997 to 2002. JD Drew in ’97 (yes he refused to sign with the Phillies and went back to college, but he was a fabulous talent and an even better target for 9-volt batteries), Pat Burrell and Eric Valent (ok, not Valent) in 1998, Brett Myers in 1999, Chase Utley in 2000, Gavin Floyd in 2001, and Cole Hamels in 2002. Nine all-star appearances between Utley and Hamels. A solid starting pitcher on the 2008 World Series team in Myers. An everyday player for the Phillies from 2000 to 2008 and one of the most popular players in franchise history in Pat Burrell.
Four solid picks. Four solid contributors. Maybe even a Hall of Famer in Utley. Great picks.
Since 2004 (the Phillies didn’t have a first round pick in 2003 or 2009), however, they have struck out FAR MORE in the first round than they’ve hit. Out of their last 18 first round picks, only five have played at least one game for the Phillies at the major league level. Of the non-pitchers that have reached the big leagues and played at least one game for the Phillies, they’ve combined to hit .205 with 3 HRs and 19 RBI.
That’s 15 years of first round futility.
Put this into perspective –
Yesterday, Adam Haseley, the Phillies first round pick in 2017, picked up his first major league hit. He became the first Phillies outfielder taken by the team in the first round of the draft to get a major league hit since Reggie Taylor was drafted by the Phillies in 1995 and picked up his first major league hit five years later. I don’t count Burrell, who played 48 games in the outfield his rookie year in 2000, because he was drafted as a third baseman out of college…that ain’t good.
It’s not like the Phillies didn’t select any outfielders since 2004….they selected four. The last outfielder selected by the Phillies in the first round to even HAVE A PLATE APPEARANCE in the majors was the immortal Greg Golson, picked 21st overall in 2004. He had six at-bats in 2008 and didn’t get a hit, though he did score two runs and never made it back to the bigs with the Phillies. Righteous bucks.
<Seinfeld voice> Who are these draft picks? How many of these guys do you even remember?
Golson was selected in 2004. In 2005, Kyle Drabek was selected 18th overall by the Phillies and never pitched an inning at the major league level for Philadelphia. Of course, he traded to Toronto as the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay deal, along with the Phillies 2007 first round pick Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Taylor. They all stunk, but they at least brought us the joy of being able to see Halladay pitch for four glorious seasons, which is so much more than the rest of these first-round punching bags ever gave us.
From 2006 to 2010, the Phillies selected Adrian Cardenas (SS) in the first supplemental round of the 2006 draft, Joe Savery (LHP), d’Arnaud (C), Anthony Hewitt (SS), Zach Collier (OF), and Jesse Biddle (LHP). Savery actually made (bravo!) the big league roster and pitched halfway competently for three seasons, compiling a 3-2 record with a 4.15 ERA. Sadly, he was snubbed for Cy Young consideration and hasn’t pitched since 2014.
The Phillies then selected Larry Green (OF) in 2011 and had a twofer in 2012, taking Shane Watson and Mitch Gueller, two right-handed pitchers in the supplemental first round of those drafts. None of these guys even have Wikipedia pages, that tells you all you need to know about their professional careers. How were you a first round pick in the MLB Draft in the last decade and you don’t even have a Wikipedia page? EVERYTHING IN THE HISTORY OF EVERYTHING HAS A WIKIPEDIA PAGE EXCEPT FOR THESE THREE GUYS. Were all of these guys in the mob? Did they all get simultaneously placed in the witness protection program after flipping on their crime syndicates? Or were they just terrible at baseball? I don’t know, they don’t have Wikipedia pages so I guess I’ll never find out.
2013 was fine, I suppose. The Phillies selected JP Crawford (SS), he played one and a half subpar seasons, lauded as the “Phillies shortstop of the future” before being traded for the actual Phillies shortstop of the future in Jean Segura prior to this season. 2014 was Aaron Nola (RHP), a great pick with Cy Young potential.
In 2015, the Phillies selected Cornelius Randolph (SS). I don’t know much about him, but with a name like Cornelius Randolph I can only assume he’s the first man of the Amish way of life to try to make it in the major leagues. He’s hacking a sterling .223 in Double-A Reading this season, but I’m told he can raise a mean barn and re-shoe a horse faster than anyone in the system.
Mickey Moniak (OF) came in 2016, Haseley (OF) in 2017, Alec Bohm (3B) in 2018, and Bryson Stott (SS) in 2019. Stott has the look of a preppy kid who is killed first in a “Friday the 13th” movie after he goes outside to “just see what that noise is, god, shut up, guys. Nothing is going to happen.”
That’s 18 first round picks since 2004. Only five of those picks (Golson, Savery, Crawford, Nola, and Haseley) have played at least one game with the Phillies.
Nola is the prize pig of the group from the last 15 years. You know what he’s done, you can see his immense talent…but these other first round picks, these players the franchise targeted as the best bets in their respective drafts, they haven’t been worth a damn for the Phillies. It’s unfathomable how badly the organization has drafted in the first round.
Maybe Haseley will continue to impress this season? Maybe Moniak, Bohm, and Stott will actually don the Phillies uniform in the next year or two? Maybe someone will devote a podcast to finding out what really happened to Larry Green, Shane Watson, and Mitch Gueller?
Or maybe they’ll just keep putting these first round picks in burlap sacks and tossing them into the Schuylkill River?