Phillies to target position players early in draft

Assistant general manager assumed control of the Phillies' draft in 2001. (Jerry Lodriguss/Staff file photo)

Major League Baseball's annual June draft begins Monday and the Phillies will not pick until late into the night with the 40th overall selection. That pick will most likely be a position player, assistant general manager Marti Wolever said. 

The Phillies also plan on spending their entire pool of $4.9 million for bonuses in the first 10 rounds of the draft, which represents a significant increase from previous years.

"Oh, definitely," Wolever said.

Under new rules, MLB has assigned each team a set pool of money they are not to exceed in awarding bonuses to their first 10 rounds. The Phillies spent approximately $4.7 million to sign 30 of their picks in 2011. They will spend more on their first 10 alone in 2012.

Part of that is because of baseball's new regulations. Wolever isn't sure how many teams will spend their entire pool — the Phillies' is the 21st largest of 30 teams — but the Phillies will spend more on the draft than they have since 2008.

For an organization that has depleted its farm system with trades, it's the best chance to infuse talent. With such a lack of position player prospects at the higher levels of the Phillies' system, Wolever hinted the team could look at a polished college player early.

"It's always about balance for me," Wolever said. "Everyone always says, 'Marti, you're a high-ceiling guy.' I certainly am. But on the flip side, you forget about a lot of guys over the years, from Jason Donald... to college guys that are a little further along and may not have quite the ceiling as the high school guys do but they're going to be good major-league players. That's how we look at it."

Since 2001, when Wolever assumed control of the draft, the Phillies have taken a college player with their first pick only three times: Joe Savery in 2007, Mike Costanzo in 2005 and Tim Moss in 2003.

Wolever has met in Philadelphia with his amateur scouts for the last week.

"We tried to identify some weaknesses in the organization, depth-wise," Wolever said. "We like to have a little bit of everything. But I would like offensive players. There are a couple kids we've targeted. If they're there and it's a fit, we'll look there first. If not, we'll probably go to the pitching board and see what we can find there."

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