Phillies Draft Preview: Middle Infielders

The Phillies don't have a glaring need in the middle infield, but it never really hurts to look. With that in mind, here are a couple potential targets for the Phillies in the first round.

This isn't the year to be looking to draft a quality middle infielder late in the first round, so it's good that the Phillies don't have any urgent needs at either shortstop or second base. In fact, the Phillies probably won't draft a middle infielder with either of their first two picks and it's likely that they'll wait a few rounds before heading to the middle infield.

Just in case though, here's a look at some of the possibilities with either the first round pick or with the sandwich pick that the Phillies hold.

Reese Havens, SS, University of South Carolina

Havens has shown consistent improvement both at the plate and in the field during his time at South Carolina. He doesn't have much speed to draw on and therefore doesn't have much range at shortstop, which is compounded by the fact that he doesn't have the greatest footwork and could wind up moving to third base down the road. His arm is consistent and strong, so he could conceivably move to a corner outfield spot as well. His range and defensive ability at short have continued to improve, so he could wind up being able to stay at short in the pro ranks, but only time will tell. Offensively, he should develop enough power to hit 12 or 15 home runs a season in the pro ranks. He's got a nice, compact swing and is a basic gap hitter who shows good plate discipline and just looks to make contact. Havens has an interesting approach at the plate, keeping his hands very low, but it's worked for him, so it's going to be interesting to see if whoever drafts him tries to change that approach when he hits the pros.

Casey Kelly, SS, Sarasota HS (Florida)

We profiled Kelly - the son of former Major Leaguer Pat Kelly - on our preview or right-handed pitchers, but he could wind up being a shortstop in the pro ranks. Many scouts have question marks surrounding Kelly when it comes to his offensive future and believe that he's better suited to make the pros as a pitcher. Kelly does have a good approach at the plate and is showing steady progress, so it's not out of the question that he could play at short. In the Phillies position though, they would be much more likely to draft him as a pitcher and groom him because they like to get young pitchers who don't have a lot of miles on their arm and Kelly fits that profile, especially since he's split his time in high school between pitching and shortstop.

Jemile Weeks, 2B, University of Miami

Yes, he's the younger brother of Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks, but he's not quite up to the quality of big bro. The big difference is in the power potential area, with the younger Weeks being more of a contact hitter who simply puts the bat on the ball and then gives the opposing team headaches because of his speed. Weeks is on the small side - 5' 9", 180 pounds - and has had some problems with groin injuries that have slowed him in his development, but those issues appear to be behind him and he looks ready to show what he can do in the pro ranks. Mechanically he needs some work at short and some scouts believe that he could be better off with a move to center field, but he should be able to stick to an infield spot with the right coaching to improve his footwork. He sometimes will blow a routine play and is a little rough on turning a double-play, but then turn around and make a dazzling defensive play. If he can put together some consistency, Weeks would be an interesting prospect.



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