Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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The All-Time Phillies MLB First Round Draft Team

With the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft coming up Monday, we thought it’d be appropriate to take a look at how the Phillies have done with their top pick over the years. Could they field a decent team with their top first-round draft picks? We’ve taken a look through history and compiled a team of 13 — one at each position and five pitchers. But here’s the catch: Each player is confined to the position they were drafted at.

The All-Time Phillies MLB First Round Draft Team

Cole Hamels makes our list of top first-round picks. (Richard Lipski/AP)
Cole Hamels makes our list of top first-round picks. (Richard Lipski/AP)

With the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft coming up Monday, we thought it’d be appropriate to take a look at how the Phillies have done with their top pick over the years. Could they field a decent team with their top first-round draft picks? We’ve taken a look through history and compiled a team of 13 — one at each position and five pitchers. But here’s the catch: Each player is confined to the position they were drafted at.

For a full list of the Phillies first-round picks, click here.

Let us know in the comments if you think we left anyone out...

PITCHERS

Cole Hamels (2002, No. 17 overall) - The 28-year-old left-handed stud tops the theoretical rotation. Drafted out of Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, Calif., he made his MLB debut on May 12, 2006 — just five months after he could legally consume a beer.  And he’s lived up to his Hollywood status. Hamels’ career numbers are nothing short of extraordinary. He has a 3.36 ERA, a 1,171 strikeouts and an 82-56 record. The Phils better show him the money.

Larry Christenson (1972, No. 3 overall) - Christenson, who played all 11 of his big-league seasons with the Phillies, doesn't have the numbers of a top-of-the-rotation starter, but was more than effective for the club. It was a quick transition for No. 3 overall pick, as he was drafted out of Marysville High School in Marysville, Wash. in 1972 and began starting for the Phillies in 1973. In 220 starts, the righty put up an 81-70 record with a 3.86 ERA and 750 strikeouts. Helping his case to make this team - aside from the rest of the pitchers to choose from - Christenson was a part of the 1980 team that won the Word Series.

Brett Myers (1999, No. 12 overall) - Thank God the Hamels-Myers feud was all a misunderstanding. Bringing the two together again would surely lead the Phillies back to 2008 success, right? Myers, a righty drafted out of Englewood Senior High School in Jacksonville, Fla., had a roller-coaster ride of a career in eight seasons with the Phillies. In four of his first five seasons he accumulated 10-plus wins before transitioning to the bullpen in his sixth year with the team. Now in his third season with the Astros, It seems he's found his comfort zone as a closer with 13 saves in 14 opportunities.

Gavin Floyd (2001, No 4 overall) - The Phillies never gave Floyd much of a chance. The righthander, drafted out of Mount St. Joseph's High School in Saverna Park, Md., only made 19 starts in three seasons in Philadelphia. The Phils might have made the right call with Floyd. He's only had one winning season with the White Sox (in 2007), and he's been a .500 pitcher with an ERA over 4.00. But with the likes of Carlton Loewer, Pat Combs and John Abrego among other pitchers the Phillies have drafted in the first round, Floyd's earned his stripes.

Adam Eaton (1996, No. 11 overall) - Eaton is nearly as well-traveled as Juan Pierre. And I don't mean on the base paths. Drafted out of Snohomish High School in Snohomish, Wash., the righty didn't throw a pitch for the Phillies until 2007. Eaton was traded to San Diego as part of a deal for Andy Ashby in 1999 and rejoined the Phillies as a free agent in 2006. In his 10-year career he finished 71-68 with a 4.94 ERA.


POSITION PLAYERS

C: Mike Lieberthal (1990, No. 3 overall) - It's a good thing Lieby's major league career was better than his cameo in Summer Catch. (I hope I didn't offend all the Freddie Prinze Jr. fans out there.) The two-time All-Star and Gold Glover was drafted out of Westlake High School in Westlake Village, Calif., is arguably the Phillies' best catcher of all time, but if Carlos Ruiz has anything to say about it that will change.

1B: Greg Luzinski (1968, No. 11 overall) - To the younger generation, he may be more well-known for his barbecue than bat, but Greg "The Bull" Luzinski played a pivotal role for the Phillies during the 1970's. A four-time All-Star (1975-1978), Luzinski mashed 223 home runs and 253 doubles in his 11 seasons with the Phils. Originally drafted as a first baseman out of Notre Dame High School in Miles, Ill., The Bull hit .281 for the Phillies and was a key component of the 1980 championship team. Now, he can be found in right field cooking up pulled pork sandwiches at Bull's Barbecue.

2B: Chase Utley (2000, No. 15 overall) - Injuries can't stop Utley from making this list, unless you'd rather have Timothy Moss holding down second base. Drafted out of UCLA, Utley is a five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner. The Phils just better hope to have him back before something else goes silver.

3B: Pat Burrell (1998, No. 1 overall) - The Man. The Myth. The Machine? Burrell is no stranger to the Philadelphia fans, especially the females. Drafted No. 1 overall out of the University of Miami as a third baseman, Pat the Bat patrolled left field for the Phillies for nine seasons, and although he wasn't the swiftest of fielders, he had a knack for playing safely and avoiding errors (just 47 as a Phillie). Burrell also ranks 4th on the Phillies all-time home run list with 251. Despite never making an All-Star Game, he played a pivotal role in the Phillies 2008 World Series run - and won another with the Giants in 2010.

SS: Anthony Hewitt (2008, No. 24 overall) - There isn't much to say about Hewitt. Still a prospect with the Phillies, the 23-year-old shortstop out of Salisbury Prep in Connecticut is hitting .221 in five seasons spread across the Phillies single-A teams (Williamsport, Lakewood, Clearwater). Why did we pick Hewitt? Simple: The Phillies have only ever selected two shortstops in the first round. The other, Jeffery Kraus (1976, No. 17 overall) never made it to the big leagues.

OF: J.D. Drew (1997, No. 2 overall) - Don't throw any batteries at us for putting Drew on this list. It was impossible not to. Drew, the best outfielder the Phillies ever drafted that never played a game with the team, spent 14 years is the majors and played for four teams (Cardinals, Red Sox, Dodgers, Braves). Drafted out of Florida State, he hit 242 home runs with a career .278 batting average while being selected to just one All-Star Game. No one in Philadelphia will ever remember that, though. When they tell their kids about Drew, the only memory they share will be part of a lesson on the Philadelphia sports psyche: "Don't make a stupid nickname and then anger Philadelphia fans, son. They'll throw batteries at you."

OF: Lonnie Smith (1974, No. 3 overall) - Drafted out of Centennial High School in Compton, Cali.,  Smith spent 17 years in the bigs (four with the Phillies). Like Luzinski and Christenson, Smith was part of that 1980 championship team, hitting .339 that season in 100 games. Over a seven-year period from 1980-1986, Smith stole 293 bases while averaging just 125 games per season.

OF: John Russell (1982, No. 13 overall) - In his 10 year MLB career, Russell failed to play in more than 100 games in any season. In his best season (1986), he hit .241 in 93 games while hitting 13 home runs and 60 RBI. Drafted out of the University of Oklahoma, Russell spent five years with the Phillies (1984-1988).


What would the lineup look like?

1. Lonnie Smith, OF
2. Chase Utley, 2B
3. J.D. Drew, OF
4. Greg Luzinski, 1B
5. Pat Burrell, 3B
6. Mike Lieberthal, C
7. John Russell, OF
8. Anthony Hewitt, SS
9. Pitcher

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