Phillies Draft Preview: First Base

The Phillies first round pick could be a first baseman, especially since they're lacking at that spot in the organization. There are some pretty decent first basemen - most of the left-handed hitters - who could be sitting there when the Phillies make their first pick at number 24.

The first base depth chart isn't awfully deep for the Phillies right now. Combine that with the fact that the Phillies have a slightly tenuous relationship with Ryan Howard and you can easily put first base under the "need" category for the Phillies come Draft Day. Lakewood has Michael Durant and Matt Rizzotti at first base and both can be projected as potential Major League first basemen, with Durant having the edge in projectability, but right now, neither is setting the world on fire. Plus, both players are at least a few seasons away from helping, so possibly finding a first baseman with the potential to move through the system quickly would be a way for the Phillies to go.

Here's what the first base crop looks like for late in the first round.

David Cooper, University of California

Among the crop of late first round first basemen, Cooper would be a Godsend for the Phillies. Cooper is the anti-Howard in that he doesn't strike out very often and actually has more walks than strikeouts this season while still hitting for decent power. While he's not going to strike out as often as Howard, he's not going to go deep as often either, but should be able to produce mid to upper-20s home run power and possibly more. He's got a sweet, left-handed swing and is known for his hard work on the field. With his compact swing, he can hit for average and also hits to all fields and has equal power to all fields. It's going to be interesting to see if Cooper falls to the Phillies at 24, because he's got a huge upside and it figures that there are going to be teams interested in him because of his offensive potential. Defensively, he's going to need work at first and may be weak enough that he needs to DH, but with a little luck, his defense will become at least serviceable.

Ike Davis, Arizona State

Davis should be there when the Phillies pick at 24 and possibly when they make their sandwich pick (34th overall) so they may pass on him with their first pick and then hope to pick him up later. He's got a nice swing from the left side of the plate and scouts agree that he'll develop more power, but his mechanics sometimes fall into disarray. He's one of those low energy guys that doesn't always come across well in Philadelphia, so he would have to put up the numbers to get fans on his side. He can also play the corner outfield spots and has pitches for ASU, but his future isn't on the mound. He's going to need some work and if they're lucky, the Phillies will have better first base options available to them with their first couple of picks.

Eric Hosmer, American Heritage HS (Florida)

It's very possible that Hosmer won't be there when the Phillies draft with the 24th overall pick, because there are plenty of scouts that have been following him this spring and believe that with the right coaching he could move very quickly. Some think he may be the best offensive high school player in the draft. He's a left-handed hitter who hasn't fully developed his power game, but it's likely to come along for him as he fine tunes himself at the plate. He can hit for a high average right now and has a good swing at the plate and above average discipline. He's one of the rare hitters that prefers the ball low in the strike zone and he has to develop a better approach to hitting high heat, which will help with his power development. Defensively, he's very strong and moves quickly around the bag, although he doesn't have much speed on the bases.

Brett Wallace, Arizona State

A teammate of Davis', Wallace is also a left-handed hitter and scouts are slowly coming around on him which is moving him up the draft charts and it's not likely he'll be there when the Phillies pick. Some scenarios though do have him slipping down near the Phillies range, so he's worth getting to know. One scout referred to him as the "best bat available" in this year's draft. He's also played at third, so the Phillies would potentially have some real reason to get him into their system since third base is also a need position, but he doesn't projec well as a third baseman because of his defense. Scouts rave about Wallace's plate discipline and see him as a guy who can hit close to .300 at the Major League level and launch about 25-30 balls out of the park per season. He's got a little bit of speed and can swipe a base or two here and there, but he tends to get his feet tangled defensively, which limits his range and slows him down.

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