2003 Draft: Phils Go Big For College Pitchers

On day two of the 2003 Draft, the Phillies took a different approach from the first day, when they focused on need and position players. Day two was dominated by drafting some need – three catchers – but primarily in just taking the best available talent that was still sitting on the draft board.

As day two of the draft opened, the Phillies knew that they had gotten a lot of speed and a good amount of power from the position players that they drafted on day one of the draft. Sprinkled in between, they found a few pitchers and a couple interesting projects to work on along the way.

The strategy changed Wednesday. The Phillies went deeply for pitchers, taking 22 pitchers. They also leaned toward college players, especially in the earlier rounds of the day. Of their first ten picks Wednesday, eight of them were pitchers and nine of the players came from the college ranks. Seven of the eight pitchers that they took were college pitchers, with the lone exception being pitcher Blair Erickson, who they took from Sacramento Jesuit High School in the 28th round.

Late in the day, the Phillies drifted toward high school players and a lot of them may well wind up going to college rather than signing with the Phillies. One player who seems destined for college is Greg Reynolds, who the Phillies took in the 41st round. The two-sport high school star has a football scholarship to Stanford all wrapped up and is likely to take the offer. The 6-5 right-hander already has the makings of a major league fastball and curveball and was thought to go much higher. The fact that teams figure him to be a lock to head for Stanford scared off most teams.

The Phillies grabbed just one first base prospect in the entire draft. On Tuesday, the Phillies took Matt Hopper from the University of Nebraska in the tenth round and then ignored the position. They did draft three catchers; Robert Johnson (Saddleback Community College), Charles Waite (University of Mississippi) and Justin Riley (North Carolina State). The Phillies have a definite need for catchers in the organization and while none of the three are projected to be big time stars, they all seem to have at least some potential to make the majors and are all very signable.

Among the high school players that they grabbed late in the draft was Ryan Tabor, a left-handed pitcher, who they took in the 46th round. Tabor attended Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nevada and was a teammate Jordan Parraz, the Phillies sixth round pick.

As every team does, the Phillies claimed to be happy with the talent that they drafted and will set out to sign the players. They believe that many of the picks that they took on Tuesday will be relatively easy to sign and hope that they'll be in camp before long.

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