Phils likely to take position player with 16th overall draft pick

Posted: June 02, 2013

The Phillies need offense, and the sooner it gets here the better.

Marti Wolever, the team's assistant general manager in charge of amateur scouting, is aware of the desperate need and is likely to take a position player when the Phillies select 16th overall in the first-year player draft Thursday night.

This is the highest the Phillies have selected in the draft since they took pitcher Gavin Floyd with the fourth overall selection in 2001. If they do take a position player, it will be the team's highest non-pitcher selection since Chase Utley was taken with the 15th overall pick in 2000.

This is the highest selection the Phillies have had since Wolever took primary control of the draft from former assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle in the middle of the 2001 draft.

Regardless of whom the Phillies get, Wolever doesn't see the player making a rapid ascent to the lineup in Philadelphia.

"Picking at 16, no," Wolever said. "There is no one at 16, in my estimation, that we could take that would impact this club this year or next year, in my opinion."

He added that even a 2015 arrival would be a stretch.

The Phillies set up four separate draft boards - one each for high school position players and pitchers, and one each for college position players and pitchers.

Under Wolever's watch, the team has had seven first-round picks and five supplemental first-round selections. They also had three years in which they did not have a first-round selection.

The only first-round selection Wolever did not use on a high school pick was in 2007, when the Phillies took lefthander Joe Savery from Rice University. Savery, 27, was the 19th overall selection and has had almost no big-league impact. The lefty was recalled from triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday and in 24 big-league relief appearances he was 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA entering the weekend.

Wolever's best first-round pick remains his first one. He took Cole Hamels 17th overall in 2002.

The assistant general manager was tight-lipped about whom the Phillies will select and, of course, he cannot know for sure until he sees how the names come off the board.

"We're going to get a very good player," Wolever said. "We've got a couple of kids . . . that we have a lot of interest in. I think they can . . . certainly have long and successful major-league careers."

Asked later about the two, Wolever admitted that there was one player in particular he is hoping falls to the 16th pick.

"We're doing the boards up there right now," Wolever said. "One guy in particular I saw last year and I thought he was one of the best position players I saw last year. I think maybe there is a chance we can snag him this year. I hope so. I have my fingers crossed."

Two California high school players fit the profiles that often attract Wolever and the Phillies.

One is first baseman Dominic Smith, a kid with a sweet lefthanded swing who can also play in the outfield. Smith is from Serra High School in Northern California, the same school that produced Barry Bonds, Jim Fregosi, and Gregg Jefferies, among others.

"We like him," Wolever said. "We had him in some workouts and he's a very polished high school hitter. He's advanced in that regard. We see him as a first baseman."

Wolever said it's possible Smith is gone by the time the Phillies pick.

Another intriguing high school player is J.P. Crawford, a shortstop from Lakewood, Calif. He has great athletic bloodlines. His father played in the Canadian Football League and he is also related to Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford.

The Phillies also have four picks in the top 100 for the second straight year.

"We're excited about that," Wolever said. "We've done a lot of homework on a lot of players. We think from those top 100 we're going to get four good ones."

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