2003 Draft: Phillies Add Power, Pitching To Speed

As the 2003 Draft moved past the fifth round, the Phillies had enough speed merchants and looked elsewhere. Pitchers got a good look as the Phillies went that way for a few rounds and then filled another team need by grabbing some power hitters. As the day wound down, the Phillies found some serviceable left-handers. The surprise of the day was that the Phillies didn't really get into the catchers that were available, choosing instead to wait until the fourteenth round to get a backstop.

If the speedsters that the Phillies took in rounds three, four and five all come through, the Phillies will have more speed than they may be able to handle. Of course, things like that don't always happen. A strong part of the Phillies minor league system is pitching, but that doesn't mean that they ignored the young pitchers as the draft moved on.

The Phillies may have made a very interesting move in the sixth round. At first glance, they took another outfielder, but the Phillies in announcing their choice, threw a curve – and a pretty good fastball. Jordan Parraz was primarily an outfielder for Green Valley High School (Nevada) and occasionally worked as a pitcher. Bingo. The Phillies will develop Parraz as a pitcher and with good reason. Parraz has been clocked at upto 95 miles per hour as a pitcher. The upside is that the Phillies got a young high school pitcher, who can throw pure heat, but hasn't put a lot of mileage on his young arm. It may take a little longer for the Phillies to develop Parraz, but he may well be worth the wait.

With the success that the Phillies have had with high school pitchers in recent years, they didn't shy away from the real kids. Kyle Kendrick (Mt. Vernon High School – Washington) was grabbed in the seventh round, followed by Matt Linder (Hammarskjold High School – Ontario). Kendrick has good mechanics and a solid fastball that hits the upper 80s. Kendrick is a three sport star (baseball, basketball and football) and obviously, very athletic. Linder is the rare high school player who grew up in a cold climate without the benefit of year-round warm weather to play baseball in. Linder has been working on a curve and already has a good fastball. Both Kendrick and Linder are big boys; Kendrick is 6-3 and Linder goes 6-4.

The Phillies went to fill their power needs in rounds nine and ten. Jason Crosland (Lamar High School – Idaho) is a 6-2, 230 pound third baseman. Crosland has pure power as a right-handed hitter. Matt Hopper was taken from the University of Nebraska, who has a lot of power potential as he continues to develop. Originally, Hopper was drafted by the Giants in 2001, but returned to Nebraska. Hopper might have gone higher, but he missed most of 2002 with various injuries.

The Phillies went for a number of college prospects after the top ten rounds finished. After grabbing a young second baseman in the third round, the Phillies returned to the infield in round eleven. Myron Leslie, a third baseman/shortstop out of the University of South Florida is a big boy. Leslie goes 6-3, 213 and is a switch-hitter. Especially for his size, Leslie moves very well and is extremely athletic. Almost as surprising is how well Leslie plays defensively. Of course, it's equally as surprising that Leslie doesn't display more power than he has, but that might come down the road.

Since you can never have enough left-handers, the Phillies grabbed two in rounds twelve and thirteen. Out of Texas A&M comes Kyle Parcus, a 6-3, 190 pounder from Rosebud, Texas. Parcus mixes his speeds well and has developed a better than average change-up and throws a fastball that consistently is in the high 80s. The Phillies took another lefty out of the University of Maryland when they drafted Joe Wilson in the thirteenth round. Wilson is a bit more of a project, but the Phillies believe that with some work, he'll develop into a potential major league pitcher with slightly above average stuff.

The Phillies were supposedly looking for catching help, but they waited until the fourteenth round to go after a catcher. Jose Cortez isn't a top prospect and wasn't on a lot of scouts radars, but the Phillies believe that Cortez has all of the basic tools that he'll need to develop. The Phillies made one more pick on day one of the draft, taking Nate Cabrera, a right-hander out of Trinidad State in the sixteenth round.

All in all, the Phillies got a good mix of young talent for the first day of the draft. They're excited about the speed that they've added to the organization and think that they've also added power and pitchers who simply need some time to develop.

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