Phillies: Assessing Day 2 Draft Picks

The second day of the MLB Draft rolled along with rounds two through five, and the Phillies have made three more picks at 87, 116 and 146 to top off yesterday’s first round selection of Mick Abel.

While the Abel pick has been well received, first year scouting director Brian Barber comes from an organization (Yankees) that’s managed to build a deep farm system beyond hitting on first round picks, and the idea is he can deliver on a few prospects in this range of the draft for the Phillies.

87th overall (third round)

Casey Martin

Arkansas | SS | 5’11” | 175 lbs.

With the 87th overall pick Klentak and company selected Casey Martin, a 21 year old shortstop from Arkansas. Martin was a three year starter with the Razorbacks after going undrafted out of high school, and he’s one of the most athletic prospects in the draft. He has plus-plus speed and is considered by some to be the fastest player in the class. Martin has all the tools to stick at shortstop but if he needs to be moved to centerfield his speed would actually have more value out there.

The concern comes at the plate. While his above average raw power for a middle infielder is what enamors scouts, he was inconsistent barreling up the baseball throughout his college career, and has a noted problem with solid off-speed pitches. His high strikeout rate is concerning for his position, and overcoming that flaw at his age and against better competition is a big hurdle.

The raw tools and athleticism are absolutely there for this guy—his ability to make the majors has more to do with improved consistency in the field and refining his approach at the plate. If he can develop more patient hands and learn to lay off breaking balls he has the potential to turn his raw power into real value at the shortstop position. Given his speed/power combo you can understand the potential the Phillies are betting on, but this feels more like a lottery ticket/insurance for Bryson Stott (2019 first rounder, 22 y.o).

116th overall (fourth round)

Carson Ragsdale

South Florida | RHP | 6’8” | 225 lbs.

The Phillies used their fourth round pick on Carson Ragsdale, a towering pitcher out of South Florida who figures to sign for less given the shortened 2020 season, and because he missed the entire 2019 campaign to Tommy John surgery.

Ragsdale had an impressive spring before the shutdown, posting a 2.84 ERA, 1.00 WHIP over 19 innings, striking out 37 batters in the process. In just four starts he twice struck out double-digit batters (once against top-ranked Florida). The health of his arm is a concern, as it is for any prospect with prior arm injuries, but his potential combined with signability equates to good value at this point in the draft.

He has a low to mid-90s (91-95) fastball that has a predictably good downhill plane, and he’s an obvious candidate to add more velocity. His only other legitimate offering at the moment is a curveball that flashes plus and has the potential to really be a wipeout pitch (as he evidenced in college). He does a good job of locating, but if he doesn’t add a third pitch (changeup, ideally) then he’ll fit better in the ‘pen where he has a fairly high floor.

146th overall (fifth round)

Baron Radcliff

Georgia Tech | OF | 6’4” | 228 lbs.

Radcliff is a left-handed hitting slugger with tremendous raw power that is considered near the top of the class (great value). The catch is his swing can be long and somewhat high-effort, which leads to a high strikeout rate. He’s somewhat of an all-or-nothing hitter, but if he’s able to get more quiet with his hands and shorten up to the baseball on a consistent basis then he has the tools to not only find his way to the big leagues, but be an impact middle of the order bat.

He’s listed as an outfielder and appears to move pretty well for his size. Obviously if everything comes together at the plate he’s a candidate to move to first, but I haven’t seen any indication that he needs to move from the outfield. This pick falls in line with the trend of high-upside prospects drafted for the Phillies.

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