Don’t Bump Your Head On That Ceiling
I’ve been complaining about the Phillies and their propensity for drafting “high ceiling” guys out of high school early in the draft. I really couldn’t tell you if the guy they got in the first round this year fits that description, but the first player they drafted last year sure does. Granted, he was not a first round pick, but he was close at # 39 overall. His name is Larry Greene and had a lot of “raw power” in high school. He had a decent first year in the short-season league, but this year he came into camp so overweight he had to stay in extended spring-training to lose weight and get in shape. Way to do your homework on this guy’s attitude, Phillies scouts. At least he’s not in denial about it saying it was “his fault” (although how could it not be his fault? Was he locked in a Krispy Kreme during the off-season?)
This year he is up at Lakewood lighting up low A ball with a .185 average, no home runs and 14 RBI in 130 at-bats. So much for the raw power. He was even given a few days off recently to “clear his head”.
Of course, he is still very young, but I can definitely see this guy washing out after a few years. It makes me think of one of the ultimate bad draft picks, Jeff Jackson. A high school player from Chicago he was taken as the fourth overall pick in the nation by the Phillies as they passed up some guy named Frank Thomas. I guess to be fair to the Phillies, no other picks were that great in that first round other than Thomas and Chuck Knoblauch. Plus, it’s really easy to judge picks in retrospect. You can read a little more about Larry Greene here.
In other draft news, the Phillies wasted their 29th round pick on Craig Biggio’s son Cavan, a second baseman. While he undoubtedly would be the first person named “Cavan” to play in the majors, and maybe even all of professional baseball, apparently Craig Biggio said he will not sign and is going to college. He was expected to go in the top two rounds, but fell reportedly due to asking price and a commitment to Notre Dame. While you’re not likely to find a major league player at 29, it has happened before, so why waste it on a guy who is not going to sign? The Phillies also drafted Mark Leiter’s son, Mark, Jr. in the 22nd round. Leiter, Jr. pitched at NJIT and posted a lovely 4.94 ERA this year. He did strike out 20 in a game and averaged over one strikeout per inning, though. Somehow I doubt NJIT faces tough competition, however. You may remember that Mark Leiter pitched for the Phillies during the late 90s when the teams were unbelievably bad. In 1997 he lost 17 games with an ERA of 5.67.