The MLB Draft is just days away now and the Philadelphia Phillies have the eighth overall pick in the draft. Last year, the Phillies selected outfielder Mickey Moniak with the first overall pick who emerged late as the best bet for the Phillies for their future. Let’s take a look at who some of the experts have the Phillies taking with eighth overall pick and then break down who the best option is.
In an earlier mlbpipline.com mock draft, the Phillies are set to select right-handed pitcher J.B. Bukauskas out of North Carolina, who is ranked by MLB.com as the 7th best prospect in the draft. Bukauskas has a mid-90’s fastball with sink and a mid-80’s slider with tilt. These two pitches have contributed to him having one of the best strikeout rates (12.8 K/9) and an absolute electric arm. His slider isn’t on the level of his fastball but it’s still an effective pitch for him most of the time. Bukauskas’ change-up is still a work in progress and it could evolve into an average offering. His delivery is cause for some concern because it’s not very clean and it could land him in the bullpen. Although, if Bukauskas ends up in the bullpen he for sure has closer upside.
In mlbpipleline.com’s mock draft done a month before the draft, they project the Phillies to take 17-year-old right-handed pitcher Shane Baz, who is ranked the 12th best prospect on MLB.com and is a TCU commit. Baz has a lively fastball ranging from 92-96 MPH that can sometimes touch 98 MPH. He also has the ability to run and sink it, while maintaining velocity throughout the game. He also offers an 84-88 MPH cutter that can generate some swing and misses and sometimes turns his cutter into a true slider. Baz is working on a curveball and has developed a change-up that could both become solid pitches. Baz is an excellent athlete and has a clean delivery which should allow him to pound the strike zone consistently. His makeup and physicality give him upside as a potential front-line starter.
In Baseball America’s latest mock draft, they have the Phillies taking right-handed pitcher Alex Faedo out of Florida who is ranked as the 11th best prospect in the draft by MLB.com. Faedo got off to a slow start this year recovering from a minor arthroscopic knee surgery, which has hurt his draft stock a bit. His fastball usually sits at 93 MPH, touching 95 MPH with some good sink. His slider has continued to look like an out pitch, he just needs to refrain from using it too much. He’s starting to get a better feel for his change-up and it could evolve into a good pitch in the future. Faedo should be at the top of the list for college arms in the draft even after an inconsistent junior season.
ESPN’s Keith Law mock draft he slated the Phillies to pick outfielder Austin Beck out of North Davidson High School in Arcadia, NC who is ranked as the 9th best prospect in the draft by MLB.com. Beck has been able to generate tremendous bat speed from the right side of the plate. Most agree he can become a solid defender, however his instincts aren’t the sharpest and could land him in right field instead of center. He is considered to have some of the best all-around tools in the draft and should become a star.
With three of the four experts having the Phillies going with pitching with the eighth overall pick it may be because as Phillies GM Matt Klentak said when he first got here, you can never have enough pitching depth. With the Phillies taking Mickey Moniak first overall last year they’re unlikely to draft another outfielder so that likely rules out Austin Beck. Shane Bazis very intriguing because of the amount of velocity he can unleash and his athleticism is something that can carry him a long way. With that being said the Phillies still may hesitate to take Baz with him being a high school arm and the uncertainty with how his arm will develop/hold up.
So it’s down to J.B. Bukauskas and Alex Faedo who are two completely different pitchers. Bukauskas can endlessly mow hitters down with his electric arm, but may ultimately end up in the bullpen. Faedo has a pretty good fastball that won’t overpower hitters and he can calmly get outs with his slider. Faedo is also trending as having the longevity to remain in the rotation without any ware or tear. The Phillies should strike on Alex Faedo if he’s around because his 6’5″ frame could allow him to become a workhorse in the rotation. His slide could also become a huge tool, which is an essential pitch for most right-handed pitchers to have. Faedo’s makeup is outstanding and he has stepped up in every big game in his college career which has come against SEC and ACC rivals demonstrating he is a flat-out competitor with a bright future in the MLB.