Phillies feel prepared for Sunday’s 2023 MLB Draft

As a kick off to the Major League Baseball All-Star week festivities, the Phillies will be on the clock at pick 27 of the MLB Amateur draft, which will occur Sunday, July 9th, at 7 pm.

Like most professional drafts, this is a chance for high school and college players to be drafted into Major League Baseball ranks and to become professional ball players.

The Phillies will draft 27th this year, which is the second to last pick of the first round. Two teams lost their first-round picks due to free agent signings this off-season, which allows the Phils to move up a couple of spots.

In preparation for the draft on Sunday, I had a chance to sit with other members of the Philadelphia media and talk to Brian Barber, the director of Amateur Scouting for the Phillies.

Brian detailed his thoughts on the upcoming draft, the organization’s draft philosophy, and even gave us some insight on his thoughts of potential draft pick trading coming to the MLB.

Best Player Available

Explaining the Draft

While most drafts typically see the best player available taken, that is not always the case in the MLB Draft.

In this draft, players are not paid based on their draft slot, but a combination of factors. Players can demand certain wages, and it is up to the teams to determine if they are willing to pay these demands.

The dynamic of having high school players adds this wrinkle, as they can ask for a large signing bonus or defer into the college ranks. While college players don’t have that same leverage, they can demand a lot of money, especially based on the larger body of work they have at their disposal.

This sometimes results in a team taking a lesser player, because they know they will be able to sign them. This draft is about a combination of talent and finances, instead of purely talent evaluations.

The Phillies’ Approach

For the Phillies, Brian Barber made it very clear that the organization wants the best player available.

The Phillies have shown they are willing to spend money in the past, and that does not just stop at the major league level. The organization wants to win, and they have told their scouting department to focus more on the talent aspect, rather than the financial aspect.

Brian praised the support of the Phillies and spoke highly of how the organization invests in its scouting department and player development staff. He mentioned how important it was to ensure he and the team had every tool.

Phillies Alec Bohm MLB Draft
Alec Bohm, a third baseman from Wichita State University in Omaha, Neb., reacts after being selected No. 3 by the Philadelphia Phillies during the first round of the Major League Baseball draft Monday, June 4, 2018, in Secaucus, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Past and the Present

Brian Barber has heard the noise when it comes to drafting high school players.

Barber made a comment regarding the fact that people have said, “he only drafts right-handed pitchers from high school.” He thought it was funny, and spoke about how that was just how the draft fell to the team at the time.

The Phillies have successfully drafted those arms, and in his three years at the helm of the scouting department, the Phillies had selected Mick Abel, Andrew Painter, and Justin Crawford in the first round. Each player is a Top 100 prospect in baseball, and Painter of course, has been the talk of the town.

However, Abel and Crawford are holding their own, and both players will represent the Phillies in the Futures Game in Seattle during the All-Star break.

Changes to the Draft?

We all know how much Rob Manfred likes to change the rules of baseball around, so I asked Brian Barber a hypothetical question regarding the draft.

The MLB draft does not allow draft pick trading like the NFL, NBA, or NHL. It is the only sports league of the big four in the United States that has its draft configured this way.

I asked Brian what his thoughts were on the potential change, which has been rumored in baseball circles in the past.

While he hasn’t sure exactly how the system would play out, he was intrigued by the concept. He mentioned how the team does not have a pick in the 2nd or 5th rounds in this year’s draft and how trading could change how they approach the draft if trading were an option.

Being able to move up and down the draft board would create flexibility for teams, and it would be interesting to see how this could shake up the MLB trade deadline.

Regardless, this won’t affect the 2023 draft in any way, and it appears that the Phillies are prepared for their pick late in the first round. We will see Sunday night how the draft unfolds, and who will be the next member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II