Scouting director Johnny Almaraz said the Phillies would target college pitching in the 2017 MLB draft.
In the second round Monday night, they did just that by drafting right-handed pitcher Spencer Howard out of Cal Poly with the 45th overall pick.
Howard, a sophomore who was named a second-team All-American, went 8-1 in 17 games (12 starts) with a 2.05 ERA, 97 strikeouts and 23 walks over 87 2/3 innings.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder was ranked the 99th-best prospect by MLB.com and 137th by Baseball America, which also rated Howard as the 49th-best right-handed pitcher among this draft class.
Howard, a Templeton, California native, turns 21 years old on July 28. As a freshman, 19 of Howard's 21 appearances came in relief. He posted a 2.95 ERA with 39 strikeouts to 13 walks in 36 2/3 innings.
"We will get our share of college pitchers that are big and strong," Almaraz said last week. "They will be fast movers through minor-league systems.
"When you talk about ceiling, you talk about floor, it's dealing with the older, mature players where a lot of them, they are what they are. So you know the worst-case scenario is they may be a bullpen piece, may be a starter if they could function in that role and pitch every fifth day. We view things that way as far as the college players are concerned. Their true ability that they possess right now really isn't going to change a whole lot."
The Phillies used their first selection on Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley, whom they picked at No. 8 overall (see story).
The draft picks back up Tuesday starting with the third round in which the Phillies hold the 83rd overall selection.