Phils draft high school shortstop Hewitt
Committed to play at Vanderbilt, but wants to start pro career
PHILADELPHIA -- Taking batting practice at Citizens Bank Park on Monday, Anthony Hewitt made a few balls disappear to right-center field. That, according to Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever, "got everybody excited."Continuing the rigorous workout, the Phils placed the Salisbury (Conn.) School senior shortstop at third base, and peppered him with ground balls. As he scooped and fired each one to first, Wolever thought, "It was like he'd been a lifelong third baseman." Off that impressive workout -- and a few months of watching the Bronx-born prep school standout -- the Phillies made Hewitt the 24th overall selection in Thursday's 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
"There's so much potential here with athleticism," Wolever said. "The power. We think he's got a chance to play third base. The makeup is outstanding. We thought it was a great package, something we couldn't pass up."The Phils didn't, reaching into the high school ranks for a high-risk, high-reward talent, starting what would be the day's theme. The club's next three selections were high school kids: Outfielder Zach Collier (Chino Hills High School, Calif.), outfielder Anthony Gose (Bellflower High School, Calif.) and pitcher Jason Knapp (North Hunterdon Regional High School, N.J.). The organization went to college to select Cal State Long Beach pitcher Vance Worley, then returned to high school for Jonathan Pettibone from Esperanza (Calif.) High School and Trevor May (Kelso High School, Wash.). Six of the first seven picks were high schoolers. The Dodgers also selected a kid with a familiar last name in infielder Devaris Strange-Gordon (at No. 127 overall), the son of Phillies setup man Tom Gordon. The Phillies' next task is to lure the 18-year-old Hewitt away from a commitment to play at Vanderbilt University, a potential reason why the budding talent slipped in the first round. Hewitt is represented by Jack Toffey. Wolever is confident that Hewitt can be signed quickly, suggesting that three years of college would beef up his Draft standing. "I don't want to drag out the process too long," Hewitt said. "I'm pretty sure [the talks] will go pretty well. I really want to go ahead and pursue my professional career as soon as possible. I'm eager to start." Last year's 24th overall selection, high school right-hander Michael Main, signed for $1.2 million.
Phillies' top five selections
|24.||SS||Anthony Hewitt||Salisbury School (Conn.)|
|34.||LF||Zachary Collier||Chino Hills HS (Calif.)|
|51.||OF||Anthony Gose||Bellflower HS (Calif.)|
|71.||RHP||Jaosn Knapp||North Hunterdon Reg HS (N.J.)|
|102.||RHP||Vance Worley||Cal St Long Beach|
|Complete Phillies Draft results >|
Here's a look at the Phillies' other Day 1 selections:
Round 1 (compensation): Zach Collier, OF, Chino Hills (Calif.) High School
A slender left-handed hitter, Collier is quick to the ball with a high finish, and he makes good contact. He has power now and more to come. Wolever compared him to the Angels' Garrett Anderson. He projects as a big league corner outfielder.
The third high school position player selected by the Phillies, Gose projects as an outfielder with the potential to be similar to Corey Patterson (flashes of power but little plate discipline) or Juan Pierre (spray hitter with little power). Said area scout Tim Kissner: "Very good instincts in center field with true cannon for an arm. A run-saver in center field. Has shown bat speed and feel for wood bat. Middle-of-field, line-drive approach. Plus runner. Good athlete and good makeup." Round 3: Jason Knapp, RHP, North Hunterdon (N.J.) High School
Said area scout Gene Schall: "Throws three pitches, fastball (89-93 mph), curve and change. Fastball explodes out of hand and has heavy sink. At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds with wide shoulders, excellent pitcher's body." Round 3: Vance Worley, RHP, Long Beach State University
The first college player taken by Philadelphia, Worley was also a 20th-round selection by the Phillies in 2005, out of McClatchy High School in Sacramento, Calif. He's risen quite a bit since. Said area scout Tim Kessner: "92 [mph] fastball. Throws a good two-seamer with sink. Good feel on how to pitch with solid secondary stuff. Always battles and competes. Potential to be starting pitcher." Round 3 (compensation): Jonathan Pettibone, RHP, Esperanza (Calif.) High School
The Phillies received compensation for not signing last year's third-rounder, right-hander Brandon Workman. Said area scout Darrell Conner of Pettitbone: "Long, lean athlete who will fill out and get stronger. Projectible high school pitcher. Played basketball. Can be back end of the rotation starter. Father, Jay, pitched for the Twins (1983)." Round 4: Trevor May, RHP, Kelso (Wash.) High School
Clocked as high as 94 mph, May posted an 11-1 record with 128 strikeouts in his senior year, a season which that included consecutive no-hitters, six complete games and four shutouts. Also has a knuckle curve. He has signed a letter of intent with Washington State.
Round 5: Jeremy Hamilton, 1B, Wright State (Ohio) University
Named one of 50 semifinalists for the Golden Spike Award, which is presented to the top amateur baseball player. He ended his junior year as one of the top hitters in the nation and was named the Horizon League Player of the Year. The Cincinnati native hit .410 with a .716 slugging percentage and a .515 on-base percentage.
Clocked at 89-90 mph last year, Shreve lit up radar guns in the 92-96 mph range, with a fastball that moved. Has an inconsistent curveball, with a good changeup. He doesn't walk hitters, but will leave balls over the plate.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.