Phillies Have Been Here Before

Dallas Green and Larry Shenk will be in New York for the first three rounds of the MLB Draft, but they can have an extra cup of coffee through the first round, because there's nothing for them to do. So, what can the Phillies expect from the draft without a first round pick? And, what type of player can they expect to get when they make their first pick of the night, with the 75th overall pick?

With last December's signing of Raul Ibanez, the Phillies essentially made their first round pick in today's draft. That signing forced them to provide compensation to Seattle in the form of the Phillies first round pick (the 27th overall pick). The Phillies weren't able to net any compensation for the loss of Pat Burrell, so they now wait until the second round (the 75th overall pick) to make their first choice in the draft.

That doesn't mean that all is lost. Twice in this decade, the Phillies have been without a first round pick and one of those times, they didn't even have a second round pick.

In 2003, the Phillies had lost both their first and second round picks because of signing David Bell and Jim Thome in the offseason. Bell played three-and-a-half seasons with the Phillies and hit 38 home runs with a batting average of .258 during his time with the Phillies before he was dealt to Milwaukee for Wilfredo Laureano. Thome spent three seasons in Philadelphia and hit 96 of his 551 (and counting) home runs - including the 400th of his career - in a Phillies uniform. Finally, with an emerging Ryan Howard, Thome was dealt to the Chicago White Sox along with Daniel Haigwood for Aaron Rowand and Gio Gonzalez.

Speed was the buzzword for the Phillies in 2003 as they took Tim Moss, Michael Bourn and Javon Moran with their first three picks. Bourn is the only one who has made any impact in the majors and that's come with the Astros, who acquired him along with Mike Costanzo and Geoff Geary for Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett. Ironically, even though they sat out the first two rounds of the draft, the Phillies picked 85th that season, because there weren't nearly as many compensation picks.

As for the players that the Phillies might have drafted in 2003, names like Chad Cordero, Chad Billingsley and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were all still on the draft board when the Phillies would have drafted with the 18th overall pick in the draft. Andre Eithier could have been had with their second round pick, although there are no guarantees that the Phillies would have taken any of those available players.

Ultimately, the best player that the Phillies found in 2003 was right-hander Kyle Kendrick, who they drafted in the seventh round.

Two years later, the Phillies had signed Jon Lieber during the offseason, forfeiting their first round pick again. Lieber wound up going 29-30 with a 4.55 ERA in his three seasons with the Phillies. For that, the Phillies lost out on the chance to draft players like Jacob Ellsbury, Matt Garza and Clay Buchholz. Ironically, they also missed out on John Mayberry Jr., who they acquired this past offseason from the Texas Rangers, who had drafted him two picks behind where the Phillies would have picked in the '05 Draft.

Their first pick came in the second round of the 2005 Draft - the 65th overall pick - and they took third baseman Mike Costanzo. Unfortunately for both Costanzo and the Phillies, the homegrown talent who grew up a huge Phillies fan, never realized his potential with the Phillies and was dealt to Houston and ultimately was dealt to Baltimore. Costanzo has yet to reach the majors and is struggling in the Orioles' system.

The 2005 Draft did produce players like Josh Outman, Mike Zagurski and Jeremy Slayden. Outman was a piece of the trade with Oakland last summer that netted Joe Blanton. Slayden is at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Zagurski is working his way back from Tommy John surgery and is currently pitching at Double-A Reading (1-2, 4.50, 2 saves in 14 appearances) and could be back in Philadelphia before the end of the season.

Historically, the 75th pick in the draft has netted 13 players who have reached the majors, albeit in varying degrees. Yunel Escobar, Grady Sizemore and Tino Martinez were all 75th overall picks in the draft. Former Phillies A.J. Hinch (now managing the Arizona Diamondbacks) and Joe Lefebvre were also taken with the 75th overall pick. The Phillies have only ever held the 75th overall pick four times and don't have a good track record at that spot. Their picks include outfielder John Guarnaccia (1972), catcher Don McCormack (1974), right-hander Dean Martinez (1978) and outfielder Scott Hufford (1984). Of those four, only McCormack saw any time in the majors, going 2-for-5 (.400) in parts of the 1980 and '81 seasons with the Phillies. Current Phillies Jack Taschner was also a 75th overall pick, by the Giants in 1999.

This year, the Phillies hope to find a young player who can work their way through the minors and make the 75th pick seem somewhat glamorous. Odds are that they'll try to find a "project" type of player out of the high school ranks and he'll likely either be a left-handed pitcher or an infielder with a little pop in his bat.



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