Phils could seek big bat with 10th overall pick

With his first Draft, Almaraz looks to add to pitching-heavy farm system

Phils could seek big bat with 10th overall pick

PHILADELPHIA -- The 2015 Draft will take place from Monday, June 8, through Wednesday, June 10, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,700 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Phillies, whose first selection is the 10th overall pick.

In about 50 words
The Phillies changed course last September when they announced Marti Wolever's contract would not be renewed. He had been running the Phils' Drafts for more than a decade. Johnny Almaraz is the new man in charge. It will be interesting to see how he handles his first Draft, which is a critical one for a rebuilding organization.

The scoop
Phillies president Pat Gillick offered his early take on Almaraz at the end of Spring Training.

"Not saying that our former director didn't like players, but our new scouting director likes players," Gillick said. "People might not understand that, but sometimes you look at a player and you can talk about his minuses or you can talk about his plusses. Our new scouting director, he talks about players' plusses. He wants to concentrate on what this player can do, not on what he cannot do. So I think it's a little bit of a different approach."

First-round buzz
The Phillies acquired a handful of promising pitchers in offseason trades involving Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo. Those arms accompany recent Draft picks like Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle and others. What this organization needs badly is a big bat. If the Phils can select a power hitter with the 10th overall pick, it is a good bet they will take him.

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

The Phillies' have $7,058,500 to spend on their Draft picks. Their 10th overall pick is slotted at $3,231,300.

Shopping list
Everything. While the Phils would love a power hitter with the 10th overall pick, they will not go reaching for one, either. They are not in a position to be picky, so if they don't like their options when their time comes, they will take the most talented player available. That could mean another pitcher.

Trend watch
Throw those trends out the window. Wolever dramatically changed course last year when he chose mostly college players, but he is gone, so there is no way to know which way the Phillies will go this season. Almaraz is starting with a clean slate.

RECENT DRAFT HISTORY

Rising fast
Right-hander Nola should be in the big leagues before the end of the season. Of course, that is not fast enough for some folks, but there is no reason to rush the organization's top pitching prospect in a rebuilding season. But there is no question that Nola has been impressive with Double-A Reading. He is projected to be a No. 3 starter.

In The Show
The Phillies selected right-hander Ken Giles in the seventh round of the 2011 Draft. Fans clamored for him at the beginning of last season, but the Phils let him develop a little longer in the Minor Leagues. Giles remained there until June and the extra time, which he spent developing a nasty slider, served him well.

The Phillies' recent top picks
2014: Nola, RHP, Double-A Reading
2013: J.P. Crawford, SS, Double-A Reading
2012: Shane Watson, RHP, injured
2011: Larry Greene, OF, retired
2010: Biddle, LHP, Double-A Reading

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.