With the 2013 MLB Draft right around the corner, the Philadelphia Phillies have likely narrowed their choices as to who they want to select with the 16th pick, their highest in the draft since 2002 when they drafted Cole Hamels with the 17th pick.
The Phillies' top-16 pick is a result of a 2012 season in which they played .500 baseball, ending with an 81-81 record. While it wasn't a losing record, it was the first time the Phillies had not finished a season with a winning record since 2002 when they ended at 80-81.
The Phillies' farm system is pretty bare across the board as a result of the many high-profile trades Ruben Amaro, Jr. has made in his time as Phillies GM. Nevertheless, some areas of the farm have more depth than others, so while the Phillies may disagree with my philosophy and select someone based upon talent alone, positional play will impact this list.
With a farm system thin of outfielders and first basemen, players at those positions will be the primary focus of this slideshow. So without further ado, here's a look at the top five players the Phillies will look to take with their first draft pick on June 6.
MLB.com Rank: 16
Another Dominic? Say it isn't so!
Well, the good news is that Dominic Smith spells his name with an additional "i" instead of another "o." What's even better is that he's able to play first base, the outfield and can pitch. As a potential southpaw pitcher, Smith has a lot of options should he sour at any other position.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, who coincidentally ranked him 16th among draft prospects, says that his bat is his standout tool and his swing is very good. He's apparently more of a contact, gap-power kind of hitter over power, which is a bit unusual for first base.
Mayo anoints him as "the best pure high school hitter in the draft," and with the Phillies liking high school prospects in recent years, they could easily take a flyer on Smith should he remain available at No. 16.
MLB.com Rank: 24
Aaron Judge is an outfielder who's seemingly got a lot of potential, but nothing's a guarantee. As much as it's probably wise to advise the Phillies not to take a player without blue chip skills, they may opt to do so.
Jonathan Mayo, of MLB.com, highlights Judge's power and outfield arm, but he especially notes Judge's size. At 6'7" ant 240 pounds, Judge is no small presence on the field.
The Fresno State product would be a good fit for the Phillies, even if outfielding doesn't work out. Judge's build suggests he could be a solid first baseman if worst came to worst, and he already has the power to boot.
MLB.com Rank: 38
While the three experts I listed clearly disagree about Hunter Renfroe's overall ability and potential, it's worth noting that he's still a likely force to be reckoned with at the plate and has a good reputation defensively.
Jonathan Mayo, of MLB.com, who ranked Renfroe 38th, ranks Renfroe low only because his batting is too inconsistent. While he's got the power ability and speed and arm for the outfield, he's less valuable until he can prove he can hit on a regular basis.
Bleacher Report Prospect Pipeline's Mike Rosenbaum ranked Renfroe as the sixth-best outfielder available in the draft and the outfield prospect with the "most helium." Perhaps his stock should rise rather quickly on draft day?
Nevertheless, he has the skills, but will the Phillies take the risk?
That is the question.
MLB.com Rank: 11
D.J. Peterson could be the Phillies' ideal pick should he drop to the 16th spot in the draft. A first baseman by trade, Peterson also plays third base, so like with Smith, fallback options exist should he fail at his primary position.
Nevertheless, Jonathan Mayo, of MLB.com, calls Peterson an "advanced hitter, one who's not afraid to take a walk." He also mentions that some scouts consider him to be the best college hitter in the 2013 draft. With the Phillies in need of offensive prospects who can get on base, Peterson fits the bill.
Mike Rosenbaum, of Bleacher Report, considers Peterson tied with Dominic Smith for the best bat among corner infield draft prospects and the fourth-best corner infield prospect compared to Smith, whom Rosenbaum ranks one spot ahead at number three. Either way, it looks as though the Phillies couldn't go wrong with either one, though Peterson's college experience at New Mexico may make him more appealing unless the Phillies prefer the high school route.
MLB.com Rank: 27
Aside from Bleacher Report Prospect Pipeline's Mike Rosenbaum's ranking, the consensus seems to point to Austin Wilson being a late first-round pick.
A junior at Stanford University, Wilson has the tools to rise higher on draft day, something which Rosenbaum perhaps sees as inevitable.
Wilson has a rather strong build at 6'5" and 245 pounds while Mayo notes that Wilson has power and can run rather well. Rosenbaum said that Wilson, whom he ranks third among outfielders heading into the draft, has the highest ceiling of any top outfield draft prospect this year, so that's encouraging.
If the Phillies were to go after the Stanford product, it could pay dividends. Then again, so could any other pick. As a seemingly powerful right-handed bat, Wilson could be a nice breath of fresh air in the Phillies' farm system.