Phillies Recent Crop of First-Round Picks Could Be Best in a Decade

Sep 8, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola (27) pitches during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2013, the Phillies have acquired several intriguing talents in the first round of the draft. Considering their past picks, they may be the best in years.

The MLB amateur draft is different from other drafts like the NFL and NBA drafts in that players often take several years from being drafted until they reach the major-leagues. Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola is the exception to the rule in that he only took a year to reach the majors; most take at least three to four. In that time, players can completely bottom out and never reach the majors.

The Phillies have had bad luck in the draft in recent years, from 2004 with Greg Golson to 2010 with Jesse Biddle, they have had five draft picks and hit on none of them. Arguably, the most successful first-round pick in that stretch was pitcher Kyle Drabek, and that’s only because he was part of the trade that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia.

However, in recent years, the Phils have acquired several impact prospects in the first round of the draft. 2013 pick J.P. Crawford is a top-ten prospect among all outlets and 2014 pick Nola is already in the majors and has shown top-tier potential. 2015 pick Cornelius Randolph hit a rough patch last season due to injury, but he maintains that he will bounce back and improve. 2016 No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak is already among the top prospects in Philadelphia’s system.

Moniak could very well be a top-100 prospect come spring.

With the new cap on international spending coming in the new CBA and the draft pick compensation attached to qualifying offers, hitting on the picks you do have is more important than ever. The Phillies have already – seemingly – hit on two of their last four draft picks, with at least one of the other two bound to pan out. That’s three high-end players destined for Philadelphia by the end of the decade, and not to mention all the other players that are already or will soon be there.

With this most recent crop of first-round picks, I wanted to look back and find the last string of solid first-round picks.

That string came from 1998 to 2002, when the Phillies drafted Pat Burrell, Brett Myers, Chase Utley, Gavin Floyd, and Cole Hamels. All of those players besides Floyd were key parts of the 2008 World Series team, and even Floyd wound up being a four-win starter for a few seasons with the White Sox.

It will still take a few years to find out what Crawford, Nola, Randolph, and Moniak will be at the major-league level, but so far they are on the right track. The club is poised for a playoff run in the coming years and the parallels to the mid-2000s are being drawn. These draft picks could help bring the team to their next playoff run, just like the picks from 1998 to 2002.

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