The Phillies haven’t had the first overall pick in the amateur draft since 1998, when they selected Pat Burrell. This year, their first pick will be number 39 overall, but Phillies amateur scouting director Marti Wolever says it’s a good problem to have, since it means the Major League team has played well. Just don’t expect the Phillies to draft with an eye on their 2011 win total.
“You have to look down the road and I don’t think you can look for a quick fix necessarily,” Wolever said on a conference call with reporters. “Often if you look back at those [picks] they don’t work out the way you planned them to work out.”
The Phillies are eyeing catchers and middle infielders, though they will be ready to adjust since they realize many of their top targets may already have been selected by the time they make their first pick. It’s “one of the deeper drafts" in recent memory for position players, so Wolever will be looking out for bats, but he’ll also monitor pitchers, particularly southpaws.
“I love offensive players and I think everyone does,” he said. “But strong pitching certainly gets you to where you need to be when the bats aren’t going quite right.”
This draft features a strong group of college pitchers, some of whom the Phillies acknowledge they aren’t drafting. Though Wolever and his staff saw every elite prospect in preparation for Monday’s draft, the Phillies know that they have zero chance of obtaining certain players. Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer and Danny Hultzen are among the pitchers who figure to be long gone by the time the Phillies make their first selection.