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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/3/24 : Just Sayin

The Draft :

The draft is just around the corner with twenty rounds of selections to take place beginning on Sunday July 14th (5 PM) and concluding on Tuesday, July 16th.  Due to no free agent signing penalties from last off-season the Phillies will have a selection in every round this year (pick numbers 27,63,100,130,162,194,223,252,281,310,339,368,397,426,455,484,513,542,571 and 600).

The Phillies, like every other team, convene pre-draft meetings to discuss potential selections and to establish a draft board.  There have already been multiple reviews of players, inclusive of in person scouting, video analysis and data collection.  It’s a very thorough process that also includes invites to work out for the club individually or in small groups, some of those take place here in Clearwater. That all gets vetted in the pre-draft conference and throughout the draft itself.

After the draft concludes the process of signing both the draft picks and un-drafted players takes place - last season the club signed eight un-drafted players in addition to signing all eighteen of their draft picks. What that eventually means, after the grace period for signings, is that a concurrent number of roster positions must be created to maintain the limit of 165 active stateside players in the minors.  In other words adding the new employees will require dismissal of some of the current ones.  Btw all but one of the 26 players signed last season in the draft/un-drafted process remain active in the organization.

Protect the Standard :

There is a charter in the Phillies Player Development process (from an outsiders view it’s throughout the organization for that matter) that establishes standards for conduct, commitment, communication, teamwork, preparation, performance, etc.  It’s an all encompassing approach that everyone is held accountable to.  Compliance is a requirement.  “Protect the Standard” is the mantra and it’s within that guide that both player selection and development occurs.

That being said there is no human in the world who doesn’t have a bad day or subpar performance every now and again.  Sometimes those days occur in the most inopportune settings which are widely visible, doesn’t mean that’s the ultimate judgement day though.  Player development, like many ventures in life, is a grind and build of multiple daily occurrences strung together - it’s the collective body of work that is the review of significance, not the one off great or poor performance.   

From what I’ve ascertained from my observations that’s the strong suit of the current group of Phillies Player Development and Baseball Operations management - the ability to see the broader view thru the collective effort in both current and future organizational progression and apply that to individual evaluations and fit.  As an example, in my view, the “26th” man on a roster isn’t necessarily the most talented player but rather the one who fits the group mold the best and energizes the engine in a team oriented way, it’s those types of players, coaches, managers, administrators and roster occupants that truly “protect the standard” and push the winning environment forward.  The John Vukovich type player and organizational roles are integral parts that should never be discounted and always protected with the “stars” in equal accord.  Just Sayin - success isn’t built on the misconception of failure but rather on the confidence of posting each and every day.  Of course having talent helps as well 😎.

The Depth :

While some folks harken back to the belief that all the levels of minor league baseball are related to the ongoing development of “prospects” that’s not necessarily the case.  In my last ten years of observing and writing about the daily grind of the Phillies minor leagues there’s an ongoing misnomer and misconception amongst some that the Triple A level is a development level.  For organizations that are building from non-competitive stature in the show the AAA level may have more “prospects” than players who can step into temporary roles at the next level but even that’s not entirely the case.  The most prudent organizations use the AAA level as an auxiliary group of players who over the course of the season can fill big league voids.  Successful organizations have smart people identifying needs and appropriate roles, players like Ricardo Pinto, Buddy Kennedy, Kody Clemens, Weston Wilson, Michael Mercado, Darrick Hall, Rafael Marchan, etc. aren’t accidentally signed or placed in positions that strengthen their skills to provision the major league level if and when needed.  That’s not to say that those players can’t make opportunities for themselves by their performances for more extensive major league roles - in fact those are bonus situations for the organization as well.  Long story short - if you’re looking for big league depth then watch the AAA level, if you want to see developing talent the Rookie level thru AA is your ticket.  I watch em all - just sayin. 🥸

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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