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Phils successful at selecting talent

Phils successful at drafting, developing talent

PHILADELPHIA -- With their lowest pick numerically since the First-Year Player Draft debuted in 1965, the Phillies will have time to evaluate the piles of information gathered by their scouting department.

The Phillies hold the 24th pick in the 2008 Draft after an 89-73 season in 2007. The closest they came to having a pick that low was in 1978 and 1994, when they drafted Rip Rollins and Carlton Loewer, respectively, at 23. Those 23rd selections were actually later in the round, however, since there were fewer teams and thus fewer first-round selections.

After selecting 24th, Philadelphia goes again at 34, with a supplemental "sandwich" pick received when Aaron Rowand departed for the Giants. The Phillies also receive San Francisco's second-round pick.

Team history tells of a successful run of drafting and developing talent, with Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell and Brett Myers among the examples.

MLB.com will carry every pick of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, which takes place June 5-6 at The Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. Day 1 coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET, with a simulcast of ESPN2's broadcast of the first round and compensation picks. The remaining rounds on Day 1 will be shown exclusively at MLB.com, with live analysis on site from MLB.com Draft guru Jonathan Mayo.

Several of the top amateur prospects are expected to be in attendance for Day 1, and each of the 30 Major League clubs will be represented by front-office executives and baseball luminaries. Fans are welcome to attend Day 1 of the Draft, and admission is free, with seating limited to a first-come, first-served basis.

Day 2 will get under way at 11:30 a.m. ET and continue through Round 50, if necessary. Every pick on Day 2 can be heard live at MLB.com.

Following is a glance at what the Phillies have in store as the Draft approaches.

In about 50 words
This will be Marti Wolever's 15th season with the Phillies and seventh as director of scouting. He and Mike Arbuckle, the team's assistant general manager, scouting and player development, have always leaned toward high-ceiling athletes, which often brings them to the high school ranks.

The scoop
"We've got some real interesting guys in the Draft this year. There's a big pack of players at the bottom of the Draft. There are about five or six high school right-handed pitchers that we really like who aren't out of the realm of being there when we pick. We were always raised to get high-ceiling athletes. With the proper player development group in place, those guys will emerge." --Wolever

First-round buzz
The Phillies are more likely to select the top available player at No. 24 than try to fill a specific position. As Wolever noted, though, Philadelphia's slot isn't the most ideal. They would likely be thrilled to see Tim Melville (Holt H.S., Wentzville, Mo.), Ethan Martin (Stephens County H.S., Toccoa, Ga.), Gerrit Cole (Orange Lutheran H.S., California) or Alex Meyer (Greensburg H.S., Indiana) slip to 24.

Shopping list
The Phillies have established a decent pipeline of arms in recent seasons, with such pitchers as Joe Savery, Carlos Carrasco, Josh Outman, Andrew Carpenter, Julian Sampson and Drew Naylor climbing the ranks. That being said, the Phillies feel they can never have enough pitching. The organization is light on position-player prospects, save for outfielder Greg Golson, catcher Jason Jaramillo, and infielders Jason Donald and Adrian Cardenas. They'd love to find a third baseman of the future to replace the since-traded Michael Costanzo.

Trend watch
In his junior year at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, Hamels broke his arm running into a truck, and concerns over that injury caused him to slip to 17th. Savery's shoulder surgery in his junior year at Rice University pushed him to 19th. Kyle Drabek's off-the-field issues and rumored on-the-field temper sent him to 18th, despite what some scouts called "the best stuff in the Draft."

The Phillies took a risk in each of those cases. They benefited from Hamels, who is now their ace, and hope to do the same with Savery and Drabek.

"We do a lot of homework on these guys before we jump in," Wolever said. "We're not the wild guys who take guys who are athletic types. We're always very thorough in gathering information."

Recent top picks
Savery is having an up-and-down season with Class A Clearwater. He's recorded 49 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings but walked 24. Opponents are hitting .291 off him, though he's limited lefties to a .245 average. The team would like to promote the 22-year-old but won't until he shows more consistency.

Drabek has started throwing after ligament-replacement surgery on his elbow last summer. The team hopes he can be in games by August. Cardenas, a 2006 supplemental selection, is off to a good start with Clearwater, hitting .333 with nine extra-base hits in his first 26 games.

Rising fast
Right-hander Drew Naylor continues to rise rapidly up Philadelphia's organizational ladder. The Phillies signed him as an undrafted amateur in 2004 out of Brisbane, Australia. The 21-year-old is having an easy time at Class A Lakewood, posting a 2.55 ERA in 10 starts. He's allowed 45 hits and 15 walks in 67 innings while striking out 71. He could receive a promotion to Clearwater.

Cinderella story
Last June the Phillies promoted right-hander Kyle Kendrick from Double-A to fill in for injured starter Freddy Garcia, and Kendrick claimed a permanent spot in the starting rotation. Selected in the seventh round in 2003, Kendrick went 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 20 starts as a rookie in 2007, and the 23-year-old is 3-2 with a 5.19 ERA through 10 outings this season.

In The Show
Left-hander Michael Zagurski, a 12th-round pick from the 2005 class, is the only player in the past three drafts to appear for the Phillies. He soared from Single-A to the Majors last season, and posted a 5.91 ERA in 25 games. Zagurski will miss the 2008 season after having Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow in Spring Training.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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