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11/30/09 10:00 AM ET

Patience for Draft picks Phils' strength

Class of 2009 has potential to pay off in long run for club

The Phillies got a late start during the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, losing their first-round pick due to the free-agent signing of outfielder Raul Ibanez (and it's doubtful many Phillies fans will quibble with that decision in retrospect). But once they got going at No. 75, they wasted no time, aggressively signing their first 12 picks.

Over the last few years, the Phillies have appeared to be pursuing a number of what the scouting society calls "high-risk, high-reward" players -- in other words, younger players who have talent and tools, but are not necessarily close to being ready for the big leagues. Some, admittedly, may never pan out. But that's a chance the club is willing to take, because if it all comes together for those players, the payoff can be worth it.

"We have enough talent at the Major League level and the upper levels that we can roll the dice and look for these 'high-risk, high-reward' types of players," said Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar. "We will never be an organization that worries more about numbers than quality."

NL East

AL East

NL Central

AL Central

NL West

AL West

This year, Philadelphia continued to stockpile athletic young outfielders, picking two such players with the first two picks in the Draft. Overall, the club had good balance in its first 12 picks with seven high schoolers and an even six-six split between position players and pitchers (and an even split between left-handers and right-handers among that half-dozen).


Top five picks

2. Kelly Dugan, OF: Taken with the Phillies' first overall pick at No. 75, the Southern California product hit .233 in 45 games in the Gulf Coast League with nine steals. A switch-hitter with gap power potential from both sides, he's also got some interesting non-baseball lineage in that his dad Dennis is an actor-director, which helps explain why he lives right outside Hollywood.

3. Kyrell Hudson, OF: The Vancouver, Wash., native is considered the best pure athlete taken in the Draft and certainly the fastest kid the Phillies selected. Wooed away from a football scholarship at Oregon State, he hit .162 with two steals in his brief pro debut in the Gulf Coast League and has raw power potential to go with his speed.

4. Adam Buschini, 2B: The first college product taken by the Phillies in the Draft, Buschini was Cal Poly's highest-drafted player this year and went on to hit .228 with two homers, 15 RBIs and 15 steals as he was caught just once at short-season Williamsport. He got hot down the stretch, hitting .302 in August, and brought his average over the .200-mark for the first time on Aug. 11.

5. Matt Way, LHP: Boasting one of the best pro debuts of the Phillies' draftees, the Washington State southpaw was 2-3 with a 1.67 ERA in eight games for Williamsport and then went 4-1 with a 3.11 ERA in six starts at Class A Lakewood, to combine for 85 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings vs. just 12 walks, limiting hitters to a .197 average. His changeup is his out pitch.

6. Steven Inch, RHP: Another big, strong player to dream on, the Edmonton, Alberta, high schooler has great upside and projected ability at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds. He scuffled a bit in his brief pro debut, allowing six runs on seven hits in two innings in the Gulf Coast League.

Best of the rest

RHP Brody Colvin (7), a Louisiana high school pick, is just 19 but has one of the best fastballs in the Draft class and tossed two hitless innings in his brief pro debut in the Gulf Coast League. ... 1B Jonathan Singleton (8), taken out of high school in Long Beach, Calif., has a mature hitting coach and plus-power potential and could be the fastest riser of the high school picks. He hit .290 with two homers and 12 RBIs in the Gulf Coast League. ... OF Aaron Altherr (9), another upside high school outfielder from Arizona, hit .214 in Gulf Coast League action. ... RHP Josh Zeid (10), out of Tulane, was third in the system with a 2.94 ERA at Williamsport, where batters hit just .217 against him in 79 2/3 innings while he fanned 72. ... SS Jeremy Barnes (11), out of Notre Dame, batted .287 with four homers and 27 RBIs at Williamsport, ranking ninth in the organization in average. ... LHP Nicholas Hernandez (12), out of Tennessee, is more of a finesse guy than a power pitcher, but his command and his changeup netted him an 8-1 record and 2.70 ERA at Williamsport in his debut. ... RHP Austin Hyatt (15), out of Alabama, posted an 0.66 ERA in relief at Williamsport, with 81 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings despite most of his appearances coming in relief. Between the CrossCutters and a brief promotion to Lakewood, he limited hitters to a .153 average. ... LHP Kevin Angelle (32), drafted out of San Jacinto junior college, led the organization with a 1.89 ERA in the Gulf Coast League, striking out 42 batters in 57 innings.

Fast risers

As mentioned above, the Phillies didn't focus heavily on bringing in players they thought would help right away, since the luxury of back-to-back National League titles gives them time to develop young talent. That said, some of their college pitchers could move quickly, including Way, Zeid and Hyatt.


The Phillies had good success in their early rounds despite the lack of a first-round pick, and signed their first 12 selections and, overall, 34 of their 49 picks. The first player unsigned was Colorado high school outfielder Jake Stewart (14), who opted to play college ball at Stanford. Two picks later, Philadelphia also lost out on strong-armed northern California catcher Andrew Susac (16). Susac, who had been regarded as one of the top defensive prep catchers in the Draft, was also predicted, correctly, to be a tough sign as he committed to Oregon State. Those were the lone two players left unsigned in the first 29 rounds.

Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.