A Look at the Phillies Minor League Exploits
Kelly Dugan lives under the shadow of his Big Daddy.
Debuting right here, right now, this weekly segment looks to delve deep into the depths that is the Phillies minor league system. Check here every Friday for the scoop on the latest call-ups, rehabbing stars, hot shot prospects, and over-the-hill major leaguers (I’m looking at you Miguel Cairo). The first installment, however, focuses on the just-completed MLB draft, but the minor leagues will get some love next week.
Although lacking the grandeur that its football and basketball counterparts possess, the MLB draft packs a punch in its sheer size. Countless accounts are told of the late-round draft heroics from the Mike Piazza’s to the Ryan Howard’s. Because teams draft upwards of 40 players over 50 rounds, there isn’t the same science as in the NFL or NBA — it’s more guesswork and a lot of luck.
For the Phillies, much of the World Series roster (Rollins, Burrell, Utley, Howard, Hamels, Myers, Madsen) came from the draft. As detailed in a pretty in-depth Inquirer article, loads of preparation goes into the three-day draft (read the piece if you’re really interested in what Eric Valent and Gene Schall are doing now).
Because of the Raul Ibanez signing, the Phils didn’t draft until the second round Tuesday. It’s usually annoying when teams lack first-round picks, but with the Triple Crown candidate and potential All-Star starter Ibanez, I think we can let the Phillies slide this year.
Picking 75th overall, the Phillies selected high school OF Kelly Dugan. Stirring some interest for trend watchers, their second pick, (#106) OF Kyrel Hudson, also came from high school ball. In fact, six of their first 10 didn’t play in college.
Some perils of drafting young is signability. Dugan has a letter of intent to play at Pepperdine, Hudson signed on at Oregon State to play both baseball and football. Same goes with so-called five-tool player Jacob Stewart. Drafted 437th, scouts doubted his commitment to baseball, hence his first-round talent (Baseball America called him the nation’s best high school center fielder) falling to the 14th round. Stewart has signed a letter of intent to play at Stanford.
Dugan does threaten Cole Hamels’ Hollywood nickname as he is the son of film director Dennis Dugan (Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, other Adam Sandler stuff). As for talent, this is from MLB.com:
The 6-foot-3 Dugan, who hails from Sherman Oaks, Calif., has at least an average arm, the potential to become at least an average runner, and, most importantly, power from both sides of the plate, Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever said.
Breaking the draft down, the Phightin’s took 49 players. Including the three aforementioned high schoolers, they took 12 outfielders, 11 infielders, five catchers, and 21 pitchers. Lots of unknowns, as always, but I’ll point out a few notables.
With the 137th pick, the Phillies finally nabbed a college boy in IF Adam Buschini. Playing for the Cal State Poly Mustangs, Buschini rotated around the infield, but mostly played first and second base. The junior shares the distinction of being drafted in the fourth round from Cal State Poly with Hall of Fame SS Ozzie Smith. From the Cal Poly site:
Buschini recorded three four-hit games and eight three-hit games for a total of 25 multiple-hit games and 20 multiple-RBI contests, including five RBI against USC on March 31 when he drove in the go-ahead runs with a two-run single in the seventh inning. Buschini finished No. 6 on Cal Poly’s all-time RBI list for a single season with 61 and No. 10 with both his 18 doubles and 11 home runs.
Also in the fourth-round, the Phillies selected their first pitcher in left-hander Matthew Way from Washington State. The senior, originally from Alaska (ala Curt Schilling), went from 4-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 2008 to a 8-4 with 2.49 ERA this past spring. Quite a turnaround, as detailed by this WSU blog.
On the local front, the Phillies drafted two players from area colleges. Albeit very late and on the third day, Wilmington University C Phil Aviola was selected 1,067th overall and Penn State 1B Cory Wine 1,157th. Additionally, Robert Amaro, nephew of Ruben Amaro Jr., was selected at 1,217th from William Penn Charter HS. I wonder how those contract talks will go with Uncle Rube.
You can check out the entire draft list here.
When and if the Phillies sign their draftees, the players will be assigned to various short season and Gulf Coast leagues down south. Tune in here weekly to keep tabs on these and all youngsters in the Phillies system.
-Sam Fran Scavuzzo
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