The 2018 MLB Draft has come and gone, as 1204 prospective ball players heard their names called over the three day selection process. Of those over 1200 players selected, the numbers suggest that approximately 120, or roughly ten percent, will play in the big leagues. And of those that spent some time playing collegiate ball, the numbers are greater of reaching the Show than those who passed on furthering their studies.
That could be why the Phillies selected Whichta State third baseman Alec Bohm with the third overall pick this past week. It also could explain why the top five picks have all played at least a season in the college ranks.
Despite the numbers leaning toward college players having more successful Major League careers than high school players, it’s fairly obvious that, after the first round, the MLB Draft becomes a total crapshoot. First round picks, even number one overall picks, have busted out quickly. Think of the career Matt Bush had. Can’t do it? That’s probably because it hardly existed. Late round picks can just as easily become diamonds in the rough. Mike Piazza was drafted by the Dodgers in the with the 1390th overall pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a favor. He became the lowest drafted player to reach the Hall of Fame in 2016.
The moral of the story: teams really just don’t know. At least, often times that is the case. We all knew Bryce Harper was going to be a star. But as the draft progresses, lines become blurred and teams are drafting players on the trajectory projections of their scouts. I preface this for structural purpose and to not allow you to drive yourself insane if the Phillies 12th round pick doesn’t make a Major League roster. Despite those reserves, let’s meet the list of the players the Phillies drafted on day two of the MLB Draft.
Day Two Picks
4th Round: Colton Eastman, RHO Cal State Fullerton
After the Phillies selected Bohm with the third overall pick, they had to wait quite a while for their next selection. The team did not have a second or third round selection after signing Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana in free agency. Those picks wen to the Cubs and Indians as compensation.
The Titan, a team aptly named in recent memory for the successes in the College World Series, went 10-3 this season with a 2.20 ERA in 16 starts. He logged 110.2 innings, the most in his three years with the Titans. Over that time frame, Eastman struckout 116 hitters, holding the opposition to a .206 average. He tossed a no-hitter earlier this season as well. The righty doesn’t throw overly hard, but has good command, as we walked just 63 in nearly 250 innings of work over three seasons. but Eastman was originally drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in the 30th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He jumps 26 rounds with a successful three threes in California.
5th Round: Matt Vierling, OF Notre Dame
The Phillies used their third pick of the draft on a third consecutive college player, snagging their first position player in the process when the drafted Vierling out of Notre Dame. Vierling saw a dip in his average from his sophomore to junior year, but effectively progressed in every other statistical category. He still managed to hit .310 this past season for the Fighting Irish, clubbing ten homeruns and driving in 43 runs in the process. He struckout just 28 times in 210 at bats this season. The team suggests that Vierling was taken a steal pick in the fifth round, as the right hander could excel in the minor leagues and rise quickly. Vierling was originally taken by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 30th round of the 2015 Draft, but elected to play at Notre Dame instead.
6th Round: Logan Simmons, SS Tattnall Square Academy
The Phillies took a high school player in the sixth round of the 2018 MLB Draft, marking the first time they’d take one this year. The Macon, Georgia product has committed to Georgia Tech, but obviously could forfeit his collegiate rights to play professionally if he chooses. Over his 116 games in Macon, Simmons hit .358. This past year, he hit two homeruns and drove in 25 runs in 36 games. When you talk about unknowns, this is the kind of player you describe. Simmons appears to have the build to grow into a much more consistent power hitter as he gets older. Should Simmons decide to forgo Major League Baseball and head to Georgia Tech instead, he’d be re-eligible for the Draft in 2019.
7th Round: LHP Gabriel Cotto, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
One of the youngest players that Phillies selected this season, Cotto just recently turned 18-years-old. He already stands 6’5″, but weighs just 175 pounds. The slim lefty is said to throw in the low 90’s with frequency and has the ability to spin four different pitches. He comes from the same school that produced Astros’ superstar Carlos Correa. I’d love to see what the youngster can do in the minor leagues with the help of a professional training staff. If he could add on 10-20 pounds and up his fastball into the mid-90’s, this could become a potential sleeper pick for the Phillies.
8th Round: IF Seth Lancaster, Coastal Carolina
From another premier baseball program the Phillies drew this infielder. While at Coastal, Lancaster, a left handed hitter, slashed .305/.454/.646 this past season, but perhaps his most impressive feat was the 20 homeruns he hit in 2018. In his first two years with Coastal Carolina, Lancaster combined for just 13 bombs. He also drove in 57 runs, just eight less than his first two years on campus. He walked an inordinate 63 times in 2018, but also struckout 55 times. The lefty struckout 150 times in 601 collegiate at bats. He provides a rare combination of pop and speed, as the infielder stole 23 bags in 2018 and nearly 50 in his college career.
9th Round: RHP Dominic Pipkin, Pinole Valley HS (CA)
Pipkin is even thinner than the aforementioned Cotto, matching him in height but weighing just 160 pounds. The 18-year-old is being touted as a project with enormous upside. According to MLB.com, he was ranked within the top 100 players available, but wasn’t taken until the Phillies nabbed him at 257. On the future’s scale, a grading system that ranks prospects from 20-80, Pipkin received a 60 for his fastball, which routinely sits in the mid-90’s. This past season, he struckout 88 hitters over less than 50 innings pitched. He threw to a 2.12 ERA as well. He kept the opposition under the Mendoza Line for the season, as teams hit just .192 against him. Pipkin is committed to Cal, and much like Simmons, he’ll have a tough decision to make.
Tenth Round: SS Madison Stokes, South Carolina
Stokes is still currently playing with his fellow Gamecocks in the College Baseball Super Regionals, but to this point, he’s been mighty successful. The senior is currently hitting .331 with ten homeruns over South Carolina’s 47 games this season. He has struckout 41 times over that span, so that number may be a bit alarming. He has 57 hits in 172 at bats, nearly half of which have gone for extra base hits. That high extra base hit total has led to an increased slugging percentage, and subsequently, a productive OPS. Stokes was previously drafted out of high school, as the infielder was taken in the 40th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees.
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports