We’re just a week away from the start of the 2015 MLB Draft. The Phillies, picking 10th in this year’s draft, have back-to-back years with top 10 picks for the first time since they took outfield J.D. Drew 2nd overall in 1997 and then third baseman Pat Burrell 1st overall in 1998. Drew of course is famously known for not signing with Philadelphia and instead being subject to boo birds and batteries when coming to town as a visiting player.
So what are the needs?
The answer that many fans may give is, everywhere. There is little hope with the current product being put on the field. To that point, you’re correct. With the current players on the Major League roster, there is need just about everywhere, with the exception of third base where Maikel Franco seems to be getting every chance to prove that he has a future in Philadelphia.
You have to look deeper than what’s on the Major League roster though.
Roman Quinn for example, who was highlighted this year in a Phuture Phils feature, continues to dominate at AA Reading. He continues to lead the Eastern League in stolen bases with 24 to date, but what will give him an opportunity to play center field and bat leadoff for the Phillies in the future will be his ability to get on base.
Shortstop is covered as well. Third year prospect J.P. Crawford was called up this past week to AA Reading after batting nearly .400 at A Clearwater. The Phillies top prospect still needs to fine tune his game, but it’s safe to say that shortstop isn’t an area that the team needs to target with their first pick in this year’s draft.
While the rotation is always a need because you can never have enough starting pitchers, I would argue that there are areas of greater need around the diamond. Righty Aaron Nola has proved why the Phillies drafted him 7th overall in last year’s draft going 6-3 with a 1.81 ERA through 10 starts at AA Reading this year. Fellow right-handers Zach Eflin and Ben Lively, both added this offseason via trade, have given the Phillies hope for the not-so-distant future.
But that’s just 5 players when you need 25 to fill out a roster.
Corner outfield is a big need for the longterm. Domonic Brown, once a top prospect, has all but fizzled out. His fielding struggles continue, while his power is now nonexistent. Cody Asche was converted from a third baseman to outfielder after Franco was called up, but Asche is only a starter on a very bad Phillies team. Put him on the Dodgers or Cardinals and he’d struggle to make the team as a 5th outfielder let alone a starter. And Ben Revere, while showing flashes, is more likely to be traded at this point than to be a part of the future Phillies.
Outside of Quinn, your best bet at an outfield prospect panning out at the Major League level may be Carlos Tocci. He’s still very raw though and plays in Single A Lakewood, meaning that he’s at least 2-3 years away from being given a chance to prove himself in Philadelphia.
First and second base are obvious needs as well with no one even close to taking their spots from within the farm system, but one of the greatest needs may be at catcher. Prospect Tommy Joseph was supposed to be our longterm solution at catcher after being the biggest return chip in the trade that sent Hunter Pence to the Giants. Multiple concussions later, Joseph may be closer to stepping away from baseball altogether than stepping on the field at Citizens Bank Park.
With plenty of speed in Quinn and Crawford, a power bat at one of these needed positions may be the best route to go with the 10th overall pick. You have the guys that will get on base. Now you need to draft the players that are going to be driving them in.