Phillies all smiles after their Draft haul

Phillies all smiles after their Draft haul

PHILADELPHIA -- Following a few long days, Marti Wolever, the Phillies' assistant general manager of amateur scouting, was all smiles when talking about the club's 2012 First-Year Player Draft class.

The Phillies loaded up on arms in the Draft, which concluded Wednesday. Of the 42 players they selected over the three days, 27 were pitchers and 15 were position players. Philadelphia chose a nice mix of players out of the college or junior-college ranks as well as high school.

"We're really pleased with everything we got," Wolever said on Wednesday night. "We got some more players today I think that have a chance to pitch in the big leagues and play in the big leagues. We're very pleased. Time will tell."

Going into the Draft, Wolever said he wanted to pick some more offensive players. But as the rounds wore on, he said the club felt it had enough offensive personnel in extended spring training who would play in short-season Class A Williamsport or with the Phillies' Gulf Coast League team when those seasons start in the coming weeks. The Phillies decided to address more of their pitching needs instead.

2012 Draft Central

On the first day of the Draft, the Phillies took two right-handed pitchers from high schools on the West Coast.

The club's first selection was Shane Watson (40th overall) of Lakewood High School in California. The 18-year-old reminds the Phillies of former first-round pick Brett Myers, who was selected No. 12 in 1999 and now plays for Houston. Watson, listed at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, was ranked 34th on MLB.com's Top 100 Draft Prospects list. He throws a good fastball and curveball, and the Phillies like his competitiveness on the mound.

Watson, who will likely start with the Phillies' Gulf Coast League team if he signs, has no shortage of confidence, it appears.

"I think my best pitch is strike one," Watson said by phone on Monday. "Yeah, my curveball is my best pitch. My curveball is my Visa Express Card. I can use it whenever I want."

Mitch Gueller, also 18, was the Phillies' pick with the 54th overall selection. A 6-foot-3, 205-pound hurler from William F. West High School in Washington, Gueller posted a 6-0 record with a 0.82 ERA this season. He also had 70 strikeouts to just 22 walks.

The night Gueller was drafted, Wolever said Gueller looked like Roger Clemens and compared him to Phillies pitching prospect Trevor May.

The Phillies didn't pick an offensive player until the Draft's second day, but they had rave reviews for the first position player they selected, 77th overall. The power-hitting Dylan Cozens, a left-handed bat out of Chaparral High School in Arizona with opposite-field power, wowed the Phillies in a workout at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday.

Right-handed pitcher Alec Rash, the Phillies' pick at 95th overall, was ranked the 76th-best prospect on MLB.com's Top 100 Draft Prospects list. At 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds, Rash (Adel Desoto Minburn HS, Iowa) has a fastball said to reach 95-96 mph.

"We always try to get the best athletes with high ceilings that are athletic, that have aptitude, work ethic and all those things combined," Wolever said. "I think we addressed that early. We continued to do it through the Draft as much as possible, and then you start to look toward needs and guys that you think have some kind of chance regardless of if they're a player or a pitcher."

Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.