The Phillies made California outfielder Mickey Moniak the first pick of the 2016 MLB draft Thursday night. Moniak, a right-handed high-school bat, has the glove and speed to potentially remain in center field throughout his career.
The Phillies have been trying to find a consistent outfield for years now. Moniak has considerably less power in his bat than you might be used to seeing in a player that goes off the board number one, but he did grow his home runs from zero as a junior to seven as a senior.
Moniak was the fifth best player in the draft according to MLB.com. He might be fast-tracked, but since he’s a high schooler, it will still be years before fans get a whiff of him as a major-leaguer.
For their second pick they dipped back into the California high school pool (and back into the UCLA commitment list) to take right-handed pitcher Kevin Gowdy 42nd. Gowdy, 6-foot-4, was ranked the 37th best prospect by MLB.com. He compliments his fastball with a slider and a changeup, showing a more developed arsenal than an average high school pitcher.
The Phillies believe signing both players won’t be a problem, despite their commitments to UCLA, and you can expect to see them climbing the minor league rosters soon.
MLB.com’s Jim Wallis said the Phillies had the best second day of any team at the draft.
They started it off by grabbing third baseman/shortstop Cody Stobbe. Another high-schooler and another right-hander, Stobbe hit 14 home runs this season. He likely won’t stay at shortstop in the majors, but with J.P. Crawford on the upswing, that’s probably just fine. MLB.com ranks him 47th, so by that rating, Stobbe was a bit of a steal at the 78th pick.
Their fourth round pick, JoJo Romero, is the first college player selected by the Phillies and a left-handed pitcher. He attended Yavapai College, notable as the school of former Phillies pitchers Curt Schilling and Ken Giles.
They rounded out the second day and their first ten selections with four more college pitchers, a catcher, and center fielder David Martinelli, the first of three players drafted by the Phillies from Dallas Baptist University.
The third and final day of the draft began just as the first did, as the Phils took a high-school outfielder from California: Josh Stephen. They followed that selection with two high school pitchers. Then, following their pattern from the first two days, they delved back into the college ranks.
All in all, as the team made 30 selections Saturday, they wound up with 21 collegiate athletes and nine high-schoolers. They drafted 17 pitchers (five lefties,) seven infielders, four outfielders, and two catchers on the third day. Three of the infielders were first basemen.
If the Phillies are looking to replace Ryan Howard, they’re aiming for the right mold. 15th round pick Alex Wojciechowski hit 33 home runs for division-II Minnesota-Duluth. A round earlier, their second dip into the Dallas Baptist cookie jar found junior Darick Hall, who had 20 home runs in 2016.
This draft is the first of the new Phillies regime and like any baseball draft won’t be possible to grade for years to come. Future drafts will shed some light on whether the trends in 2016 following pitchers, hitters, high-schoolers, signability, and money allotment are one offs or, just that: trends.