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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/10/23 : Phillies Draft - Day Two

3rd Round : SS/OF Devin Saltiban - Hilo High School - Hawaii - 18 years old

“The state of Hawaii has produced some very good hitting talent, with a guy like Shane Victorino signing out of high school and Kolten Wong going on to college before turning into a first-round pick. Saltiban is hoping to follow in their footsteps and become the latest prep outfielder from the Aloha State to get taken in the early rounds after Kala’I Rosario (2020), Shane Sasaki (2019) and Micah Bello (2018) all went in the top five rounds of their respective Drafts.

A right-handed hitter, Saltiban has worked with Kaha Wong, Kolten’s father, who has helped him develop into an outfielder with a solid all-around toolset. He has the chance to really hit, with a quick swing and excellent bat speed, which could point to decent power in the future. Challenging himself by competing in MLB’s Draft League ahead of the Draft, Saltiban held his own, putting up some good exit velocities and punishing fastballs, albeit in a small sample.

Saltiban runs and throws well, with a chance to play center field in the future. If he slows down as he matures, that arm would play well from a corner. He would go on to the University of Hawaii if the Draft doesn’t go his way, but he’s done everything he can to increase his exposure, going from the Draft League to the Combine in June.” - MLB Notes

“Saltiban is the top Hawaiin prospect in the class and a late riser who impressed scouts this spring with a solid all-around package of tools. A 6-foot, 185-pound righthanded hitter, Saltiban has a polished, aggressive swing with a lot of bat speed and a chance for above-average power. His competition level in Hawaii wasn’t the greatest, and scouts don’t have much history with him facing quality velocity and secondary stuff, so hit tool evaluations could vary strongly, but Saltiban played in the MLB Draft League after the season to get more reps against more advanced arms. He has turned in plus run times and should settle in as an above-average runner in the future, with split opinions on whether or not he’ll stick in center field long term. He has the above-average arm that could allow him to play either corner well, and some teams think he’ll outgrow center field while others think he has the speed, instincts and defensive chops to stick up the middle. Some teams are more aggressive on late-rising prospects than others, given how much performance track record and history are weighted, but those who like Saltiban view him as a fourth- or fifth-round talent now. If he doesn’t get signed, he’s committed to Hawaii.” - Baseball America

For the West Virginia Black Bears in the 2023 Draft League posted a .262/.354/.405 slash line with two home runs and nine RBIs in 48 plate appearances playing left and center field.

4th Round : OF TayShaun Walton - IMG Academy - Bradenton, Florida - 18 years old

“Followers of high school baseball in Virginia talked about the Walton brothers -- Antwan, who is older, and TayShaun -- often a few years back. When Antwan graduated and initially headed to Old Dominion to pitch, TayShaun brought his offensive potential to Florida and IMG Academy. He’s jumped on radars with a strong spring at the plate, showing well when scouts came in to see teammates like Cameron Johnson and Zion Rose.

Walton is big and physical with the chance to be an impact hitter. Though he’s 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he’s been hit-over-power at IMG, but he has shown an excellent approach at the plate and an ability to hit the ball hard consistently. He doesn’t lift or backspin the ball much right now, focusing on being a hitter first, but there’s considerable strength and raw power for him to unlock at the next level.

Athletic for his size, Walton is an above-average runner who records plus run times occasionally. He’s destined to be a corner outfielder, likely left, because of a fringy arm. That puts a bit more pressure on the Miami recruit to become a run producer, but a team willing to be patient could take him on Day 2 and work with him to develop into an impact bat.” - MLB Notes

“Walton is a strong, physically mature player for his age with an extremely muscular and well-built 6-foot-3, 220 pound frame. With that physicality comes plenty of raw power, that’s driven by his strength and imposing bat speed from the right side. Walton developed a reputation as one of the better hitters in the 2023 class as an underclassmen, but he didn’t get much exposure on the 2022 showcase circuit thanks to an arm injury. A strong offensive performance during the 2023 season with a prospect-laden IMG Academy team should help his case offensively, as Walton led a team that included standout catcher Zion Rose in hitting with a .473/.526/.770 slash line, six home runs and more walks than strikeouts.

Walton has a level swing path that should lead to plenty of hard hit line drives and more in-game power in the future as he adds to his already impressive physicality and elevates the ball more consistently. He’s a good runner for his size, but should be an average runner in the long term, who fits in an outfield corner. Walton is committed to Miami and seems like the type of player who could be an immediate run producer if he gets to campus.” - Baseball America

He transferred to IMG after initially playing at Greenville County High School in Emporia, Virginia and then Maury High School which is in the Norfolk area.

5th Round : Forfeited

6th Round : RHP George Klassen - University of Minnesota - 21 years old

“Klassen is the 2023 version of Ben Joyce, who went in the third round to the Angels last July after hitting 105 mph with his fastball at Tennessee. He missed his first season at Minnesota in 2021 after having Tommy John surgery and worked just 7 2/3 innings last spring, allowing 14 runs and 14 walks. But he touched 100 mph in those brief looks, reached 102 while making progress in the summer Northwoods League and has continued to bring the heat this spring. 

Klassen may have the quickest arm in the entire Draft, producing a fastball that averages 98 mph with running action, and he has reached triple digits in most of his outings. His heater plays below its velocity, however, because it has ordinary shape and he has limited extension and control. He has an 82-86 mph curveball and a sharper 83-88 mph slider, and both can be plus breaking balls when he can command them. He almost never throws his changeup, an upper-80s offering with fade and sink that he can't land in the zone. 

While his arm speed helps him overcome a lack of physicality, Klassen has significant effort in his delivery and has yet to prove he can throw strikes. A well above-average athlete, he made significant strides improving his timing and keeping his mechanics in sync during the fall, when he pounded the zone, but his control has been well below-average again this spring. He still has a lot to prove, especially if he's going to be a starter, but his fastball definitely demands attention.” - MLB Notes

“Klassen is one of the hardest throwers in the 2023 draft class and wowed scouts with his pure velocity in 2022 with Minnesota and during the summer in the Northwoods League, with a fastball that’s been above 100 mph at peak velocity. Klassen is still looking to refine his strike-throwing, though he managed a significant step forward in 2023 after walking a quarter of the batters he faced in a brief bullpen stint in 2022. He posted a 5.72 ERA in 56.2 innings, with an 18.6% strikeout rate and a 17.9% walk rate. Those numbers don’t give the 6-foot-2, 170-pound righthander credit for his arm talent, which is impressive. He averaged 97-98 mph on his fastball this spring, and touched 101 mph at peak velocity. Klassen threw the pitch for strikes less than 60% of the time, which limited its effectiveness, as could his moderate shape on the pitch. He also has a firm breaking ball in the mid 80s that has three-quarter shape and flashes an average look when he doesn’t leave it hanging, and he showcased a solid cutter in the upper 80s during the 2023 MLB Draft Combine which had short and hard glove-side movement. Klassen needs to improve his control and command across the board, and is a reliever-only prospect because of that, but his huge velocity provides an intriguing upside play.” - Baseball America

7th Round : RHP Jake Eddington - Missouri State - 22 years old

“Played his first two college seasons at Alabama, where he appeared in 14 games for the Crimson Tide in 2021 and missed the 2022 season with an injury.   Struck out 25 batters in 21 innings as a true freshman, going 1-0 with one start in 14 appearances for an NCAA Tournament club..  Top-ranked player in Missouri’s class of 2020 according to Perfect Game out of Doniphan High and was a two-time all-state selection by the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association.  Selected to the MLB Prospect Developmental Pipeline League following his high school junior season.” - Missouri State profile

“At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, he can sling his fastball up to 97 mph from the right side and complements it with a high-80s slider.” - BVM Sports

Had Tommy John surgery and transferred to Missouri State from Alabama.

8th Round : INF Bryson Ware - Auburn - 22 years old

Set the single season home run record for Auburn this season with 24, he’s from Germantown, MS.  Has also played outfield.

“Bryson Ware had that DAWG in him this year. The senior was one of Auburn's most consistent and deadly offensive threats, only being held hitless in six SEC contests on the season. He had a 34-game on-base streak to open the season, and reached base in 50 of 53 games this year. He finished the year as the 6th Auburn player since 2016 to be on the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list, and is the seventh player in program history to have 20 plus homeruns in a season.” - Auburn Daily

“Ware made a name for himself as one of the top juco players in the country in the 2020 class with Pearl River (Miss.) JC thanks to his defensive ability, athleticism and power potential. He went undrafted and made it to campus at Auburn, where he initially struggled with the bat. That changed in 2023, when Ware turned in a career year with a .350/.438/.731 slash line and homered 24 times—good for fifth among all SEC hitters. A 6-foot-2, 211-pound lefthanded hitter, Ware has played shortstop, right field and third base, though he’ll need to improve to stick at the hot corner, where he spent most of his time in 2023. His 2023 production, power and top-end exit velocities could make him a priority senior sign and late day two or early day three draft pick.” - Baseball America

9th Round : OF Avery Owusu-Asiedu - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville - 20 years old

‘‘2022: Hit .260 in 49 games… Added 12 doubles, a triple and eight home runs… Drove in 33 and scored 37 runs…Eight game hitting streak April 1-29…Went 4-5 with three doubles April 9 against Eastern Illinois.  2021: Appeared in 43 games, made 40 starts, 39 of which came in rightfield…Hit .235 in 153 ta-bats…Collected six doubles, four home runs and drove in 23…First two hits came at Wichita State Feb. 27…First home run was a grand slam against UT Martin April 10…Perfect in the outfield in 100 chances, while adding an outfield assist.  Prior to SIUE: A three-sport standout at Waukesha West High School, he played basketball, baseball and soccer…National Honor Society member… Originally from England… Also lived in Canada.” - SIUE Profile

Played in the 2022 Appalachian League for the Greenville River Riders

10th Round : RHP Cam Brown - Texas Christian University -  21 years old

On his best days, Brown can look like one of the best college starters in the Draft and an easy top-three-rounds pick. But he confounds scouts because he completely loses his control and command and never has strung together consistent success. After pitching his way out of Texas Christian's rotation by mid-April, he got another start in the Big 12 Conference tournament and walked six in 3 1/3 innings against Kansas State. 

Brown regularly works at 93-97 mph with his fastball and he can blow it by hitters up in the zone, but it lacks life and gets hammered when he doesn't locate it well. His mid-80s slider reaches 90 mph and shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch but he struggles to land it for strikes. He barely trusts or uses his upper-80s changeup, which has some fade. 

Brown's difficulties stem from his inability to repeat his arm slot or his mechanics. While he has cleaned up his delivery some in college, his walk rate has risen each season. He still offers starter potential with three pitches and a 6-foot-3 frame built for durability, but he comes with a high probability that he'll be a reliever.” - MLB Notes

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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