Believe it or not, the MLB Draft is this Wednesday.
Am I the only person ultra-excited for it? Probably.
While it doesn’t carry the same hype as the NFL and NBA Drafts, this could give us a little entertainment while we wait for the return of sports, and maybe, baseball.
The Phillies hold the fifteenth pick in the draft and given the talent, and depth, of first round talent, they should have a chance to walk away with a really talented player on Wednesday night.
Here are the five best options for the Phillies with the 15th pick on Wednesday night.
Three things on Nick Bitsko.
1. He re-classified from the 2021 draft to this draft in January in hopes to advance his professional timetable. Had he stayed in the 2021 class, Bitsko would have been a top 5 pick in next year’s draft.
2. Had he been able to pitch this spring I believe the Phillies wouldn’t have the chance to get him at 15, but nevertheless, COVID-19 came in and shut down high school sports so the last time scouts saw him pitch in a live game was the Summer of ‘19.
3. He’s #FromHere. Bitsko went to Central Bucks East and grew up a Phillies fan so I’d like to think he gets it.
Anyway, here’s the good stuff.
Bitsko, as recently as last week, had his fastball up to 98.5 MPH with a spin efficiency of 99%. I don’t want to bore you with spin efficiency but that’s a fastball that is directly comparable to Justin Verlander.
Most people are concerned with injuries when it comes to high school arms, but Bitsko stands in at 6’4 and is a pretty shredded 220 lbs. He’s not your normal 17 year old, from a physicality standpoint, and has the look of a future ace.
Simply put, I think Bitsko would be a steal for the Phillies at 15. His fastball explodes like Max Scherzer’s, he’s not a fraile 17 year old, he has a feel for a change-up and a curve that is close to a plus pitch and if he had been able to get on a mound this year in competitive games, he likely would have only helped his draft stock.
Hopefully Bitsko erases the memory of Jesse Biddle if he becomes a Phillie.
The range for Mitchell is pretty vast. He could go as high as six or as low as 20 due to concern by some about him having Type-1 Diabetes, a concern I believe is being overblown. We won’t really know until draft night, but if Mitchell is available for the Phillies at 15 they should jump at the opportunity.
Mitchell is a 70 grade runner, which is the highest you can possibly grade out. He also can stick in centerfield and has really good bat-to-ball skills.
Mitchell would be a pretty safe bet at 15 for the Phillies. You’d get 15-20 homers, very good defense in centerfield and 30+ stolen bases. The health risk is there but if I was the Phillies I don’t think they can pass on this opportunity.
The Phillies drafted a shortstop in the first round of last year’s draft, but that shouldn’t deter them from taking another one in this draft if they feel so inclined. This isn’t football, prospects are prospects, and you should always take the best player available.
Personally, I think Howard is going to be a stud at the next level. He’s incredibly smooth in the field, he has a swing that once you add some strength has a chance to be an impact bat at the next level and he’s been a winner his whole life. Howard was the starting shortstop of the Chicago Little League World Series team that made it to the championship of the entire tournament in 2014.
Howard is going to be a starting shortstop in the major leagues one day and even though they drafted one last year, it shouldn’t take them out of the running to add a player as talented as Howard.
Crochet is another guy that might be the steal of the draft.
He was only able to pitch three innings this season as he was combatting a shoulder injury that held him back at the start of the season. However, in that start he was able to touch 99 with his fastball and showed the wipe-out slider he has always possessed. From the left-side that’s a nasty combination. Who knows how he high he would have gone had the season not been shutdown due to COVID-19.
The risk with Crochet is obviously that he has an injury history, and given that, he might be best utilized as a reliever at the next level. Also, just in my mind, I think the fastball is hittable even with the miles per hour behind it. Regardless, 99 MPH from the left side with a wipe-out slider is nothing to sneeze at and if the Phillies plan on competing this year, Crochet may even be ready to be used out of the bullpen this season if need be.
Every time I watched Soderstrom leading up to the draft, he consistently barrelled up the baseball, which is really all that matters from a prep standpoint. You hope the power comes but really, if a guy is making consistent hard-contact you take a chance on the pop coming down the road.
Soderstrom played catcher throughout the prep circuit, but he profiles best as a corner infielder or outfielder because his bat is that elite. If he had a set position, he might go higher in this draft, but he doesn’t so that’s why he could be there when the Phillies pick at 15.
He’s been mocked to the Phillies in at least two mocks so far so it seems like there could be interest there. Either way, Soderstrom would give the Phillies a chance to get an athletic player that can play third or left and possesses a really strong hit tool that could hopefully unlock more power as he gains strength and works with the Phillies developmental staff.