MLB Draft Night: 5 College Players Phillies Fans Should Monitor - NBC 10 Philadelphia

MLB Draft Night: 5 College Players Phillies Fans Should Monitor

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    MLB Draft Night: 5 College Players Phillies Fans Should Monitor
    CSNPhilly.com
    MLB draft night: 5 college players Phillies fans should monitor

    Projecting who the Phillies end up with tonight in the first round is tougher than it was this time a year ago when they picked first.

    This time around, they pick eighth overall, and there's plenty of uncertainty regarding who will be selected in front of them.

    Will it be a college pitcher? An outfielder? The draft's best first-base prospect? Let's take a look:

    If they go for another bat
    After taking high school outfielders Cornelius Randolph and Mickey Moniak in the first round the last two years, the best bats possibly in the Phillies' range this year are from college, specifically the University of Virginia.

    OF Adam Haseley (Virginia)
    A left-handed hitting outfielder whose hit tool and ability to control an at-bat is more advanced than his power. 

    In 58 games for the Cavaliers this season, Haseley hit .390 with 16 doubles, 14 homers, 56 RBIs, 44 walks and 21 strikeouts. The Phillies like players who control the strike zone and Haseley has done exactly that in a competitive ACC.

    In the outfield, he could end up moving from center to a corner.

    1B Pavin Smith (Virginia)
    Haseley's teammate, Smith has opened eyes with his ability to hit for power and limit the whiffs. Smith hit .342 this season with 13 homers, 77 RBIs, 38 walks and just 12 strikeouts in 274 plate appearances. 

    That's right, more home runs than strikeouts.

    Some consider Smith the best hitter in the draft, a left-hander with the ability to make consistent contact who also produces a loft and swing path conducive to hitting home runs.

    The question is: Would the Phillies go with a clear-cut first baseman at 8? Smith (6-2/210) is regarded by scouts as an above-average defender at first base, but you rarely see guys who play only that position taken so high in the draft.

    Plus, the Phillies already have two young first basemen in Tommy Joseph and Rhys Hoskins. You don't worry a ton about Joseph's fit if you believe enough in Smith, but the Phillies do really like Hoskins, who's knocking on the door to the majors. They already have a first-base situation that screams trade, and if they take Smith they could be faced with another in two years. Smith turns 22 next February.

    If they go for pitching
    Louisville left-hander/first baseman Brendan McKay and high school right-hander Hunter Greene seem like near-locks to be taken in the top three. 

    Names to monitor if the Phils go for pitching are Vanderbilt's Kyle Wright, North Carolina's J.B. Bukauskas and Florida's Alex Faedo, all right-handers projected to go in the Phillies' range.

    RHP Kyle Wright (Vanderbilt)
    Some think Wright can go in the top 3, but again there's the uncertainty as to what the teams ahead of the Phillies seek. The Padres, picking third, will likely opt for upside. The Rays, picking fourth, are believed to be in pursuit of a top position player. The Braves, picking fifth, could look to make a deal and save money in the first round by taking a player projected to go a bit lower.

    Wright (6-4/220) has a mid-90s fastball that touched 97 earlier this month, a changeup and a developing curveball. He has a very simple, three-step delivery that's en vogue these days as pitchers limit the moving parts.

    He probably won't be there for the Phillies at 8.

    RHP Alex Faedo (Florida)
    Faedo (6-5/220) has a sort of funky, hyperactive delivery that leads you to believe there's a good amount of effort in his velocity. 

    His velo hasn't been as high as some others in this range, sitting in the 92 mph range. Phillies scouting director Johnny Almaraz maintains that he seeks pitchers with command who have an idea on the mound, that those attributes factor into a first-round decision just as much as upside or velocity.

    RHP J.B. Bukauskas (North Carolina)
    Bukauskas was believed to be a top-10 pick but his last outing June 2 against Davidson could have affected his draft stock. He allowed six runs and 10 baserunners in 3⅔ innings to suffer his first loss of the year.

    Bukauskas has a fastball that ranges from 93 to 98 mph and a good, hard slider. There's a bit of a delay when he raises his front leg in his delivery, a la Jeremy Hellickson.

    In their latest mock drafts, MLB.com has Bukauskas going 11th, while Baseball America has him going 15th.