Scouting The First 20 Signings From The Draft

Less than one week after the draft, the Phillies got signatures on 20 contracts from players that they drafted. The signings included players taken anywhere from the second round to the 33rd round of last week's draft.

Here's a look at the first 20 prospects to sign professional contracts with the Phillies.

Travis Mattair, 3B/SS, 2nd round: Drafted in the second round, the Phillies believe that Mattair is a great find. He's played just about every sport imaginable and had some potential basketball scholarships out there. Instead, Mattair is now ready to focus on baseball and will likely start his pro career in the Gulf Coast League.

Michael Taylor, OF, 5th round: Drafted out of Stanford, the 21 year old Taylor brings some question marks with him since he has just average speed and average defensive skills. Offensively, he hasn't learned to turn on pitches, but has enough raw power to get by. The Phillies will work with him on learning the ins and outs of being a true power hitter and will look to develop his skills. The fact that he signed so early was a bit of a surprise, since he had college eligibility remaining.

Chance Chapman, RHP, 8th round: Most scouts believe that Chapman's slider would work at the major league level just the way it is. His fastball needs to develop more velocity - it hangs right around the 90 m.p.h. mark - and movement. He missed the entire 2004 season with an injury and toiled at the JUCO level before attending Oral Roberts University, so at 23, he's older than most picks. He was among the Division 1 leaders in ERA and KO/9IP and has definite skills if he can put everything together.

Christopher Kissock, RHP, 9th round: Kissock has decent velocity on his fastball (low 90s) and keeps the ball down in the zone well. The problem is that there isn't much to compliment his fastball and he'll need to develop his other pitches above what they are now. He throws a slider and a split-finger pitch that are okay, but are going to need to be much better than they are now if he's going to advance far in the minors. Kissock is one of the names coming out of tiny Lewis & Clark State in this year's draft.

Joseph Rocchio, RHP, 10th round: After leading the Cal State University Northridge Matadors in saves in 2006, Rocchio was moved into the starting rotation for much of the 2007 season. His numbers suffered, mainly because of control problems. He walked 44 hitters in 85.2 innings and threw 13 wild pitches. He also hit 11 batters during the season.

Justin De Fratus, RHP, 11th round: Pitching at the JUCO level, it's hard to gauge pitchers like De Fratus. He has decent pitches, including an improving slider that he can throw for strikes to keep hitters off stride. He mixes his pitches and speeds well, but doesn't maintain velocity throughout a game. It's likely that he could project best as a reliever at the big league level.

Luke Wertz, RHP, 13th round: The big goal for Wertz in 2007 was showing that he was healthy after arthroscopic shoulder surgery last fall. He did that by posting a 4-1, 2.98 mark in 16 games (4 as a starter). He shows good command and keeps the ball down in the zone, allowing him to strike out 66 hitters in 60.1 innings this season while allowing just six homeruns. He's worked primarily as a reliever, but could develop well enough to work into the starting rotation in the pros.

Jesus Villegas-Andino, SS, 14th round: Andino has strong defensive skills and is one of the harder workers that you'll find. Offensively, he'll need some help and it may take a little while for him to find his stroke at the professional level, but there is no reason to believe that he can't become at least a serviceable offensive player.

Karl Bolt, OF/1B, 15th round: Air Force moved Bolt from first base to right field this season and he responded well. He's got good plate discipline and doesn't give ground on inside pitches, hence his inclusion on Air Force's top 10 list for being hit by pitches. He's got impressive power and an even more impressive work ethic. He could stick in the outfield at the pro level.

Brian Schlitter, RHP, 16th round: This is a guy with plenty of potential and tools, but hasn't shown the ability to put it all together. He has good velocity, but gets sloppy with his delivery from time to time and works himself into trouble. The 21 year old was drafted out of the College of Charleston.

Zachary Sterner, RHP, 17th round: The Mets originally drafted Sterner out of high school, but he decided to attent Tennessee Wesleyan College instead. He went 11-2 with a 3.26 ERA this season for the BullDogs, pitching 85.2 innings. Sterner throws a fastball in the low 90s and the Phillies believe he'll develop more velocity and movement with some tinkering in his mechanics.

Adam Sorgi, 2B, 21st round: Another player from the Stanford program, Sorgi missed the entire 2006 season after undergoing shoulder surgery just before the start of the season. He proved himself healthy in 2007, but the injury likely dropped him down at least a few rounds. This is one of those tough, gritty type of players who can hit the long ball and will work his butt off. Some have compared him to a Jeff Kent type of player as long as his offensive skills continue to develop. Defensively, he gets a quick jump on the ball and has good hands.

Gerard Breslin, RHP, 23rd round: Coming to the Phillies from Havertown and La Salle University, Breslin is home-grown talent. Breslin pitched 25 games in relief for the Explorers this season and posted a 2.72 ERA. He keeps the ball down well and moves his pitches in and out of the strike zone keeping hitters guessing where the next pitch will be. He also mixes his pitches well and has decent stuff as he enters the pro ranks.

Caleb Mangum, C, 24th round: With solid offensive skills, Mangum was second on the North Carolina State team with 8 homeruns this season. He finished the year hitting .285 with a .462 slugging percentage. Defensively, he's strong with an accurate arm. He'll need a little work on his mechanics to throw out runners, but that's nothing that can't be fixed. At 5'11", 185 pounds, he's a little sleek for a catcher, but he has shown good durability in college and should be able to stand the rigors of the job.

William Harris, LHP, 25th round: The only left-hander to sign so far, Harris comes out of Bear, Delaware and the University of Delaware. The Blue Hens had five players taken in the draft this year. Harris has worked as a starter, middle reliever and closer for Delaware and posted a 7-1, 3.59 mark in 16 games - 12 starts - this season.

Nolan Mulligan, RHP, 26th round: Coming out of tiny Lynn University, Mulligan rose to the top of the Fighting Knights' rotation this season. He throws a low-90s fastball, but his real out pitch is his curve that seldom fails to freeze hitters in the box. This is the third time that Mulligan has been drafted, but it was the lowest that he was ever taken. The Giants took him in the 25th round out of high school and a year later, the Twins drafted him in the 24th round out of Broward Community College.

Richard Austin, RHP, 27th round: Austin is the first player ever drafted out of Seton Hill University; yes, HILL, not HALL. He compiled a 22-18 mark in college and struck out 238 hitters in 256 innings.

Christopher Rhoads, RHP, 28th round: Rhoads didn't show outstanding numbers at Arkansas this year (3-1, 4.75), but the Phillies believe that he can develop into a suitable arm with some work. He tends to try to overthrow and leaves the ball up in the zone at times. When he remains poised, he can get hitters out, but he'll likely need to add a few pounds and will definitely need to tweak his mechanics if he's to succeed.

Kirk Bacsu, C, 32nd round: This is a kid who epitomizes the toughness needed to catch, but mixes in some interesting skills. He never shies away from collisions at the plate or from inside pitches. In fact, he seems to thrive on them. He will also do what it takes to win games and has even developed his bunting skills to get on base in key spots, including in a recent Missouri Conference Tournament game. Evansville coach Dave Seifert refers to Bacsu as a "warrior".

Rich Prall, C, 33rd round: Another La Salle product, out of Doylestown, Prall was glad just to be drafted, let alone by the Phillies. The Phillies took somewhat of a stealth approach to scouting Prall and surprised him by picking him. Truth is that he caught their eye when they were scouting Breslin and figured it couldn't hurt to bring Breslin's catcher along to see what he can do at the pro level.


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