Though it lacks the spectacle of its NFL and NBA cousins, the MLB Draft is nevertheless just as important for teams building a franchise.
It will take place throughout the next three days (Starting Thursday at 5 p.m.), as the league works its way through 40 rounds of picks over the same timeframe the NFL stretches out seven.
For Phillies fans looking to the future as the team slides further back the National League standings, the draft should pique the interest of those wondering when help is going to arrive for the club’s aged core.
The Phillies hold the seventh pick in the first round. It will be their highest selection since taking Gavin Floyd fourth in 2001.
That was a happier era of draft picks. From 1996 through 2002, five of the Phillies’ eight first round picks would feature in the 2008 World Series winning team: Adam Eaton, 1996; Pat Burrell, 1998; Brett Myers, 1999; Chase Utley, 2000; and Cole Hamels, 2002.
More recent high draft selections have failed to contribute on the same level. However, the team may have struck gold last year with shortstop J.P. Crawford. Crawford is batting .319 and has ten steals through 49 games at Single-A Lakewood this season.
A couple trends have emerged in recent seasons — it will be worth seeing if the Phillies stay true to them this year.
The Phillies last eight first round selections have been high school players. Interestingly, three of them (including Crawford) have come from the same high school: Lakewood High School, in California.
Since 2006, the Phillies have spread their first round picks fairly evenly, selecting six position players and five pitchers.
One prospect of note is Alex Jackson, a catcher from Cole Hamels’ high school Rancho Bernardo. Jackson is ranked as the fourth best prospect by MLB.com.
No matter which player the Phillies select seventh, don’t expect to see that player’s name in a major league line up anytime soon. It can be frustrating to wait for a top prospect to work his way through the minor leagues, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Two of the Phillies 2010 draft picks have begun establishing themselves in the majors in 2014. Reliever Mario Hollands was taken in the tenth round of the draft. He debuted on April 1st this season and has since made 23 appearances.
Starting pitcher David Buchananwas selected in the seventh round in 2010 and recorded a win in his May 24th debut against the Dodgers.
Both Hollands and Buchananwere collegiate players before being selected by the Phillies. If the Phils stay true to their recent past by selecting a player without college experience, he could take much longer to reach the majors.