Randolph eager to start professional career

Randolph eager to start professional career

PHILADELPHIA -- Cornelius Randolph has been compared to the likes of Tony Gwynn, Robinson Cano and Dmitri Young.

If Randolph has a career close to any of them, the Phillies will be thrilled with their first pick in this year's Draft. Randolph answered questions Wednesday morning on a conference call, and he seems eager to get his professional career going.

"I'm pretty confident," Randolph said about signing a contract in the near future, "but we'll see how it goes, though."

Almaraz puts stamp on Phillies' Draft

Randolph, who is being advised by agent Scott Boras, hit .526 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 walks and a .934 slugging percentage in 17 games this season with Griffin (Ga.) High School. The Phils drafted the 18-year-old with the 10th overall pick as a shortstop, but amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz said Monday night they expect Randolph to move to left field once he signs.

Randolph is OK with that.

"I'm open to anything, honestly," Randolph said. "I'm just ready to play ball. I've played outfield a little bit with my summer ball team, so I think I'll adapt pretty quickly."

Randolph said he learned to play baseball from his father, Cedric. Father and son worked together from the time Randolph was 5 years old.

"We go to the cages every day," Randolph said. "We hit buckets and buckets [of balls]."

Randolph said he modeled his swing after Cano.

"That's my favorite player," Randolph said. "I watched him growing up. That's where I got the little smooth swing from the left side. I know I have a lot of work to do with my hitting, but I feel like I can be a clutch hitter."

The Phillies think so, too.

"We love his bat," Almaraz said. "He's somebody who we feel is one of the top three hitters in the country as far as this year's Draft is concerned. Very rarely do you ever get a consensus from an entire room. There's no doubt we feel he's got a chance to be a hitter in the Major Leagues that hits for both average and power."

Randolph said he went to his share of Braves games at Turner Field with his father and brother. They saw the Phils play quite a bit, and he gravitated toward Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard.

"Getting drafted by the Phillies is actually pretty cool," Randolph said.

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.