It may not have the pomp and circumstance as its NFL and NBA brothers, but it is still a lifeline for Major League Baseball teams to build for future success. Baseball’s draft begins tonight and the Phillies have the first pick.
The choice might be California prep star Mickey Moniak, who could become the first high school outfielder selected No. 1 since Tampa Bay drafted Delmon Young in 2003. The left-handed hitter has solid power to the gaps and is also an outstanding defensive player.
Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis, a two-time Southern Conference player of year who hit .395 with 20 HRs and 72 RBIs, could be the pick. Louisville’s Corey Ray has been the offensive leader (.319, 15 HRs, 60 RBIs, 44 for 52 in stolen bases) for the Cardinals, who are in the NCAA Tournament’s super regionals.
Florida left-hander A.J. Puk, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound fireballer, has only two wins for the Gators, but has the stuff that could make him a future ace. He could become the sixth lefty to be selected No. 1 overall, but the second in three years – joining Brady Aiken (Houston, 2014). Only two college lefties have gone first: Arizona State’s Floyd Bannister (Houston, 1976) and Vanderbilt’s David Price (Tampa Bay, 2007).
New Jersey high school lefty Jason Groome, who threw a no-hitter with 19 strikeouts this season, was also in the mix.
“There’s no pressure,” scouting director Johnny Almaraz said earlier this week. “We’re doing our job to take the best player with the best ability.”
(the Associated Press contributed to this post)