Over the past five seasons, Philadelphia Phillies fans have been among the most fortunate in all of baseball.
At this point in June, however, a sense of despair is creeping into the heart of the city. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley's best days are far behind them, Roy Halladay can't stay healthy and Cliff Lee has been unspectacular.
Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence have not been able to carry the team, and their record is hovering around .500. They are currently in last place in the NL East and things are not looking great for the future. But with the MLB Draft underway, Phillies fans can get a glimpse of the future and hopefully regain some optimism. Here is a breakdown of their top picks thus far.
Shane Watson, RHP (40)
Watson is a top high school prospect out of Lakewood High School in California. At a lanky 6'4", 195 lbs, this righty has the look of an MLB starter. He does not throw as hard as one would expect from someone with his length, hovering around 90 mph. His specialty is his curveball, which is considered one of the best in the entire draft.
He could turn out to be as high as a second or third starter in the rotation in a few years, but if he does not develop his fastball it would not surprise me if he never made it out of the bullpen.
Mitch Gueller, RHP (54)
Another pitcher out of high school, Gueller is more of a project than Watson. The righty out of W.F. High School in Washington was scouted as both a pitcher and position player, and his athleticism is a definite reason he went this high in the draft.
His fastball hovers around the low 90s, and he compliments it with a curveball and changeup, which both need improvement. Gueller is known for his poise on the mound, and if he improves his command, could end up being a third or fourth starter in the Phillies' rotation.
Dylan Cozens, OF (77)
One of the most intriguing players in the draft, Cozens had signed a letter of intent to play defensive end for the University of Arizona before being drafted and announcing that he would sign with the Phillies. Cozens is an impressive 6'5", 235 lbs., and has a lot of power from the left side of the plate. The corner outfielder was rated all over the place on different experts' boards, and the verdict is still out on how much he can produce at the next level.
Alec Rash, RHP (95)
The third right-handed pitcher to be taken by the Phillies, Rash is a raw prospect out of Adel DeSoto Minburn High School in Iowa. His fastball reaches 95, but he has issues with his mechanics and release. The Missouri recruit stands at 6'5" and has a lot of upside. If he can polish his delivery and improve his off speed pitches, the sky is the limit for this kid.
Zach Green, SS/3B (125)
Green is a hitter that Philadelphia hopes can develop to stick at the MLB level. The righty can play either short or third, but is lauded mostly for his bat. The Oregon State recruit has quick hands and a good build at 6'3", 185 lbs. Scouts have said his swing can be developed to add power and make him a dangerous all-around hitter. If this happens, he could be a great pinch hitter in a couple of seasons.
Chris Serritella, 1B (158)
Southern Illinois is not exactly a hotbed for baseball prospects, but the left-handed Serritella made enough of an impression on scouts to land in the fourth round. The Louisville Slugger Third Team All-American batted .389 in his junior season to win the Missouri Valley Conference batting title. If Serritella hits well in the Minors, he could get a shot to steal some starts from Ryan Howard down the road.