Dana Hills’ Lucas Williams, right, was drafted by the Phillies in the third round of the 2015 MLB Draft on Tuesday. (Photo by VICTOR M. POSADAS, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER)
The Phillies added a high school shortstop, a college first baseman, a high school pitcher, two college pitchers, two college hitters and a high school hitter with the teams eight picks in Tuesday’s Day 2 action of the MLB draft.
Overall, Phillies director of amateur scouting, Johnny Almaraz feels confident.
“We’re very excited overall,” said Almaraz, to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. “We are extremely confident that everyone is going to be reporting here pretty soon.
In the first round of Tuesday’s action, the Fightin’s took Lucas Williams out of Dana Hills, California with the third-round, 83rd overall pick.
Williams, the 6-foot-1, 180 pound right-handed hitter is committed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. His senior year, he posted a .315 average in 32 games while setting the school’s career stolen bases record this year.
“This is somebody who we feel is a really good athlete with the ability to hit,” Almaraz said to Zolecki. “He can run. He can throw. We see him more as a third baseman with some type of power. We were really pleased to draft him. He’s somebody we believe has a high ceiling, along with the fact he knows how to play the game.”
In round 4 (114th pick), the Phillies went to South Carolina to draft first baseman Kyle Martin, who earned second-team All-American honors in his senior season with the Gamecocks. He hit .350, adding 12 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, 56 RBI’s, a .635 slugging percentage and a .455 on-base percentage, while walking 39 times and striking out just 27.
The 6-foot-2, 240 pounder was selected by the Angels last season in the 20th round, but returned to South Carolina for his senior season.
“We believe he’s a very good prospect,” Almaraz said to Zolecki. “He’s got above-average power. He’s got the ability to go the other way. He came to our workout and answered some questions, as far as his athleticism is considered.”
The Phillies took left-handed pitcher Bailey Falter with the 144th pick overall (Round 5). The lefty, who stands at 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds and is committed to UC-Santa Barbara, is throwing in the mid-to-high 80-mph rang, but the scouts believe that the coaching staff will be able to help his velocity grow over time.
“He’s a projection,” said Almaraz to Zolecki. “I felt he was one of the top pitchers in the country, whether it be college or high school. The ability to pitch and command his pitches. That is something you cannot teach, and he possesses that. He’s got a bright future and a chance to be a frontline starter.”
In round six, the Phillies took University of South Carolina lefty, Tyler Gilbert with the 174th pick. Gilbert went 5-2 with a 2.79 era as a junior, where he spent most of the year in the bullpen. The junior allowed 68 hits, 21 earned runs, 25 walks and struck out 66 batters in 67 1/3 innings of work this season.
Round seven featured Luke Leftwich, a right handed pitcher out of Wollford College. The 6-foot-3, 205 pound righty is a junior, who’s father made 34 start with the Angels from 1993-1996, while his grandfather, Tom Timmermann pitched six seasons with the Tigers (1969-1973) and the Indians (1973-1974).
This season, the righty went 7-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 16 appearances, including 14 starts, where he struck out 114 batters and walked only 28 batters in 89 innings of work.
Legend High School’s Greg Pickett was selected in the eight round of the 2015 draft by the Phillies to become a 6-foot-4, 215 pound outfielder for the team. The senior hit .420 this season and has dominate power from the left side of the plate.
Almaraz says he is committed to Mississippi State, but the director is confident that all the draft picks from the first two days will sign with the team.
“Our area scouts really did a great job in keeping the lines open with these high school kids and college kids that sometimes have a tendency to not give us very accurate signability [information],” Almaraz said to Zolecki. “We stayed on him. We got some information that really, really made us make the decision of taking him in that round. We’re pretty sure that we’re sending him out there pretty quickly to start his career in the Gulf Coast League.”
Round nine featured LSU center fielder Mark Laird, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound player that has good speed but lacks power. He played the corners in college but the Phillies have signed him as a center fielder. This year he hit .323 with nine doubles, a triple, a home run, 23 RBI’s, 23-of-29 stolen bases, a .379 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base percentage.
“He can really run. He can really play defense,” Almaraz said. “If those speed guys learn how to bunt and use both sides of the field, they’re going to create havoc.”
Last, but certainly not least, was Josh Tobias, a third baseman out of Florida in the 10th round of the draft.
Tobias hit .373, posting 14 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 41 RBI’s, a .557 slugging percentage and a .447 on-base percentage. Listed as a senior, he is only 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds.
“My biggest interest was that Tobias just started hitting left-handed this year,” Almaraz said. “He possess above-average ability. At that point in the Draft, if you can select somebody who can have an impact on the Major League club — whether it’s as an everyday player, a left-handed bat off the bench or even an extra outfielder or utility-type guy — that’s considered a really good Draft.”
The Draft will conclude on Wednesday, with rounds 11-40, beginning at noon.
Co-Editor for the Baseball section here at Pattison Ave. Die-heart Phillies & Eagles fan and always root for Sixers, Flyers & Union. Former writer for the South Jersey times covering all high school sports. Now writing for South Jersey Sports Digest covering cross country and track.