From 1998 through 2002, the Phillies went 4 for 5 with their first-round picks.
They used the first overall pick in '98 on Pat Burrell, who didn't quite live up to the hype but had a very good major-league career that would look even better through today's lenses.
In 1999, they took Brett Myers 12th overall. Myers went on to pitch more than 1,200 innings for the Phillies and was a key figure in the 2008 playoffs.
In 2000, Chase Utley was selected 15th overall. In 2002, the Phillies took Cole Hamels 17th overall. Both are Phillies legends who would be on any list of the 10 best players in franchise history.
The only miss during that stretch was Gavin Floyd, fourth overall in 2001. Floyd did have a serviceable big-league career but only solidified himself years later, and for a short period, with the White Sox.
Aside from that five-year period as the '90s became the '00s, the Phillies have had an ugly track record in the first round over the last 30 years. Of the last 32 players the Phillies have drafted in the first round (excluding the lost J.D. Drew pick), 17 can be considered flat-out busts:
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Cornelius Randolph, Shane Watson, Mitch Gueller, Larry Greene, Jesse Biddle, Anthony Hewitt, Zach Collier, Kyle Drabek, Adrian Cardenas, Greg Golson, Eric Valent, Adam Eaton, Reggie Taylor, David Coggin, Carlton Loewer, Chad McConnell, Tyler Green.
A few, like Drabek and Cardenas, were used in trades. Drabek was part of the package to acquire Roy Halladay from Toronto, and Cardenas was part of the package to acquire Joe Blanton from Oakland.
The Phillies have actually had almost as much success in the second round as they have in the first. Mike Schmidt (1971), Scott Rolen (1993) and Jimmy Rollins (1996) were all second-rounders. Schmidt is the best player in franchise history, Rollins is the all-time Phillies hits leader, and Rolen is a borderline Hall of Famer who became a star here before winning a ring in St. Louis.
The Phillies' first-round pick the year they drafted Rollins was Adam Eaton (the pitcher). Their first-round pick the year they drafted Rolen was Wayne Gomes. It has been decades since they've "hit" on their picks in both rounds.
That streak will extend by default because the Phils do not have a second-round pick in this week's draft. They forfeited it with the signing of Zack Wheeler. There will be only 23 picks in the second round because seven teams forfeited their pick: the Phillies (signed Wheeler), Yankees (signed Gerrit Cole), Angels (signed Anthony Rendon), Diamondbacks (signed Madison Bumgarner), Braves (signed Marcell Ozuna), Astros (cheated) and Red Sox (also cheated).
WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is not the be-all, end-all stat some make it out to be, but for comparisons like this, it can be a decent tool.
The combined career WAR of the top five first-round picks in Phillies history is 233.6.
The combined career WAR of the top five second-round picks in Phillies history is 272.4.
The deeper you go on the lists, the more of a comeback those first-round picks made. Extend it to Top 10 and it's 322.6 WAR for first-rounders compared to 309.8 for second-rounders.
Beyond Schmidt, Rollins and Rolen, the Phillies got decent big-leaguers in the second round such as Randy Wolf, Marlon Anderson, Kevin Stocker and Bruce Ruffin. In recent years they've selected Scott Kingery, Spencer Howard and Roman Quinn in the second round.
The first round of the 2020 MLB draft begins Wednesday, June 10 at 7 p.m. on MLB Network. The first night includes the first 37 picks — the entire first round and Competitive Balance Round A.
Rounds 2 through 5 air Thursday, June 11 on MLB Network beginning at 5 p.m.
This year's draft will be only five rounds, one-eighth the length of a usual June draft.
The Phillies pick 15th overall.
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