Wolever understands that the Phillies are often at a disadvantage at draft time, but that's not what he dwells upon.
"Honestly, I guess it is a fact," he said. "We've discussed it several times that, since 2000, we're probably in the bottom five or the bottom three in terms of having picks in the first five rounds," Wolever said. "It's something we've dealt with. We don't like it, but we move on and we do the best we can."
The Phillies have had 60 picks in the top five rounds and 29 picks in the top 100 overall since 2000. The latter figure ranks last in the National League East and the former is tied with the New York Mets in the division for the fewest picks in the first five rounds. In that same span, the Atlanta Braves have had 81 picks in the first five rounds and 50 in the top 100.
It's a tough way to do business over the long haul, and it appears to finally be catching up to the Phillies.
Look at the Phillies' drafts from 2000 through 2004 and it's easy to see why they rose to the top of the division and stayed there for a half-decade. Nobody in the division during that span drafted three players as valuable as Chase Utley (15th overall in 2000), Ryan Howard (140th overall in 2001), and Cole Hamels (17th overall in 2002).
Add in the fact that they used picks such as Michael Bourn, Lou Marson, and J.A. Happ from those drafts to acquire Brad Lidge, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt and it's easy to see why the Phillies were able to sustain their success.
Eventually, years and years of lower draft picks are going to catch up to a franchise, especially if there is a team in your division consistently drafting in the top 10. That team, of course, is the Washington Nationals, who have had a top-10 pick nine times since 2000, including the number-one picks in 2009 and 2010 when Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were the obvious choices.
Examine the drafts of the Mets, Braves, and Miami Marlins over the last dozen years and the Phillies have fared quite well given their limitations.
If you start studying the draft since 2005, however, and factor in many of the players the Phillies have traded in recent years, there is reason for concern about the franchise's future.
Utley, Howard, and Hamels are all-star players, as are Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, but three of the five are on the disabled list. Look down at the farm system and it's difficult to find players you can be sure will perform at the caliber of the guys above.
If Jonathan Singleton, Travis d'Arnaud, and Anthony Gose were still in the system, there would be a lot more reasons to feel good about the future, but they were part of the price paid for Hunter Pence, Halladay, and Oswalt. The Phillies do not have a single position player in their system right now who projects as well as any of those three.
Domonic Brown did at one time, but not anymore.
The fact that Wolever drafted those three guys all after the first round is reason for optimism. For the first time since 2008, the Phillies have four picks among the top 100.
"I think any time you can accumulate that number of draft picks high, it's an opportunity to replenish your minor-league system and we look forward to it," Wolever said.
In 2008, the Phillies took Anthony Hewitt (24th overall), Zach Collier (34th), Gose (51st), and Jason Knapp (71st). Hewitt and Collier are both at single-A Clearwater and have been disappointments. They are now long shots at best to even reach the big leagues. Knapp was traded to Cleveland in the 2009 Lee deal and has not pitched since 2010 because of shoulder problems.
The 2008 draft could still end up being a success, however, because with the four picks after Knapp the Phillies selected Vance Worley, Jonathan Pettibone, and Trevor May.
The Phillies will make the 40th and 54th overall selections Monday and pick 77th and 95th the following day. The draft will last 40 rounds through Wednesday. Wolever said he views each one as an opportunity to land a big-league player, pointing to the 30th-round selection of Jake Diekman in 2007 as proof that all the picks have importance.
There's no denying that this draft is of the utmost importance for an aging team with a crowded disabled list.
Inside the Phillies:
Phillies' Picks in Top 100 Since 2000
Overall Games All-Star
Player Year Pick Pos. in Majors Games
Chase Utley 2000 15 2B 1,109 5
Keith Bucktrot 2000 85 RHP 0 0
Gavin Floyd 2001 4 RHP 175 0
Cole Hamels 2002 17 LHP 191 2
Zack Segovia 2002 58 RHP 9 0
Kiel Fisher 2002 89 3B 0 0
Tim Moss 2003 85 2B 0 0
Greg Golson 2004 21 OF 40 0
Jason Jaramillo 2004 62 C 119 0
J.A. Happ 2004 92 LHP 98 0
Mike Costanzo 2005 65 3B 14 0
Matt Maloney 2005 97 LHP 31 0
Kyle Drabek 2006 18 RHP 31 0
Adrian Cardenas 2006 37 SS 15 0
Andrew Carpenter 2006 65 RHP 17 0
Jason Donald 2006 97 IF 143 0
Joe Savery 2007 19 LHP 15 0
Travis d'Arnaud 2007 37 C 0 0
Travis Mattair 2007 83 SS 0 0
Anthony Hewitt 2008 24 SS 0 0
Zach Collier 2008 34 OF 0 0
Anthony Gose 2008 51 OF 0 0
Jason Knapp 2008 71 RHP 0 0
Kelly Dugan 2009 75 OF 0 0
Jesse Biddle 2010 27 LHP 0 0
Perci Garner 2010 77 RHP 0 0
Larry Greene 2011 39 LF 0 0
Roman Quinn 2011 66 SS 0 0
Harold Martinez 2011 90 3B 0 0
Contact Bob Brookover at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @brookob.