The first round of the 2015 MLB Draft is in the books and for the Philadelphia Phillies, that meant selecting the 18-year-old high school shortstop, Cornelius Randolph, with the 10th overall pick. Overall, Randolph, who profiles in the average to above average range in three (hit, power, arm) of the five tools, isn’t a bad selection. He just isn’t the guy the Phillies should have drafted.
The first knock against Randolph is the position he currently plays, shortstop, and the position he profiles at, third base.
It is expected that Randolph will be converted to third because he lacks the quickness to play the middle infield. This makes the pick a little more sensible considering that the Phillies already drafted their shortstop of the future last year, in J.P. Crawford. They really don’t need another one so soon.
But Randolph at third isn’t much better since the Phillies 22-year-old third baseman of the future, Maikel Franco, is currently making an impact with the team in the form of six home runs, 14 runs and 16 RBI in just 22 games this season. Clearly, he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The second knock against Randolph is the position he doesn’t play, catcher.
After trading away Travis d’Arnaud, failing to find anything with Sebastian Valle and really even with Cameron Rupp, and dealing with Tommy Joseph‘s history of concussions, the Phillies desperately needed their catcher of the future. And he was available in the form of Tyler Stephenson, who went to the Cincinnati Reds just one pick later.
Stephenson was by far the best of the best at his position. He profiles in the average to above average range in field and power as well as an above average arm. He was actually a dark-horse to go first overall to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Considered quite advanced for a high schooler, Stephenson has gained comparison to Matt Wieters.
The Phillies needed a catcher and they drafted a shortstop/ third baseman. Seems like Ruben Amaro missed on that one. Surprise, surprise.
But the team is riding a high as of the past two years as both of their picks, Crawford in 2014 and Aaron Nola in 2013, look primed to reach the majors sooner rather than later. In fact, Nola could see the bigs this year especially if Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang are traded as is expected.
So maybe the Randolph pick will prove fruitful too. Maybe the Phillies will keep true to their recent statement and use him in left field. After all, the kid is considered to have a better pitch recognition than most high schoolers, and is seen to have the tools to really hit for power and average. The Phillies could use a bat like that, especially from the left side of the plate and even more so in the corner outfield.
But then again, the last time the Phillies drafted a power bat out of a Georgia high school with their first round pick in Larry Greene, well, he retired at the age of 22, deciding baseball wasn’t quite for him.
Let’s hope Randolph’s future in baseball lasts at least a little longer than that.