In Adam Haseley, Phillies draft a player 'very similar' to Mickey Moniak

In Adam Haseley, Phillies draft a player 'very similar' to Mickey Moniak

For the second straight year, the Phillies drafted a Jacoby Ellsbury-like outfielder in the first round.

The Phils made Virginia's Adam Haseley the eighth overall pick in the MLB draft Monday night (see story), and shortly thereafter, scouting director Johnny Almaraz made clear Haseley was the target.

The Phillies felt that the strength of this first round was in college players. And quite frankly, that fits their current timetable because the Phils have numerous top prospects on the cusp of the major leagues. A college first-rounder has the chance to contribute in a year or two, just as guys like Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro and others are graduating to the majors.

"I believe he's going to hit anywhere between 20 and 25 home runs," Almaraz said of Haseley, dispelling a notion held by some that there isn't a ton of unlockable power in his bat.

"He's a player who's got really good pull power. I've scouted him extensively. He's strong. He's a college player who still has projection, as far as his body and strength is concerned. His hitting ability is above average and when he gets stronger, that ball's going to travel some more."

Haseley said that growing up, Ellsbury was a player he admired, both because of the skills they share and how cool Ellsbury looked on the field.

"He had a sleeve and a shin guard so I would dress up in high school games to look just like him," Haseley said in a conference call.

Haseley thinks that right now, his contact tool is his best. He hit .390 this past season at Virginia with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs in a big ballpark. He also walked 44 times and struck out just 21, displaying the kind of plate selection this Phillies' front office covets.

"He's everything you look for in a hitter. Patient, disciplined, he's aggressive when he gets his pitch, attacks the baseball," Almaraz said. "He's got incredible intangibles for the game. He's got outstanding makeup, his character, his intelligence, his field awareness."

Sounds just like Mickey Moniak, doesn't it?

"Very similar players," Almaraz said.

After he signs, Haseley will play center field. He also pitched in college but those days are over. Haseley said only one team — not the Phillies — discussed the idea of using him as a two-way player, and he is looking forward to getting to focus solely on being a position player. It will allow him to lift weights in a different way during the offseason and even during the season, focusing a bit less on legs and cardio and more on gaining strength. That could lead to an uptick in power.

Moniak, for example, was drafted as a player many believed could hit .300 someday but who needed to gain strength to add the power dynamic. Moniak put on 20 pounds of muscle this past offseason and he's shown some more pop of late with 11 extra-base hits in his last 17 games.

"I think that contact tool is one of my strengths," Haseley said. "The more selective I am, I think the power comes with that."

Haseley hopes to sign quickly. The value of the eighth overall pick is $4,780,400, about $1.3 million less than Moniak's bonus last year.

"It doesn't feel real at all," Haseley said. "I just feel extremely grateful and blessed and I know the Phillies are an amazing organization. I'm just super excited to get started and go through the process."

At the Yard podcast: 3-batter rule, DH dynamic, NL East predictions


At the Yard podcast: 3-batter rule, DH dynamic, NL East predictions

Ricky Bottalico and Corey Seidman discuss one big rule change, another on the horizon, and make their NL East predictions in the latest At the Yard podcast.

• How does the new 3-batter rule for relievers change their mentality?

• Which Phillies relievers does it affect the most?

• If the DH does come to the National League in the next two years, how would it help the Phillies?

• Both guys are still vehemently anti-DH.

• Fan Q&A.

• NL East win total predictions.

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The DH sucks but would undoubtedly help the Phillies

The DH sucks but would undoubtedly help the Phillies

The designated hitter coming to the National League is an inevitability. To some, it's a welcome inevitability. Personally, I hate it, but I acknowledge I'm probably outnumbered.

It's not about watching pitchers hit. That is the over-simplified one-line response from DH proponents. It is about many additional elements of strategy not having a DH adds. If you're a pitcher, it affects how you approach the 6-7-8-9 hitters. There is more thinking ahead. 

That goes for managers, too, who face the difficult of question of, "Do I pull Jacob deGrom with two outs and two on in the bottom of the sixth inning in a scoreless game for the extra offense?"

That doesn't happen in the AL. The Justin Verlanders of the world pitch until they're no longer effective. There is no difficult decision for the manager. 

There is also less need for a bench. AL teams sometimes run three-man benches. And plenty of AL bench players exist only as defensive replacements and/or pinch-runners.

But whatever. It's probably coming. Could be coming as early as 2021, according to Jim Bowden.

It would actually benefit the Phillies, though. The Phils face a potential logjam in the corner infield with Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm, Scott Kingery and Jean Segura. Only one of them can play third base. And Hoskins or Bohm would be at first base. If the DH came to the NL in 2021, the Phils could just slot Bohm into that position.

They could also use Hoskins, who isn't exactly an above-average defensive first baseman, as the DH. And toward the end of Bryce Harper's 13-year contract, his days of effective right field defense could be over and that may be the ideal spot for him.

It will be an adjustment when the NL rules change, and there will be some hard feelings, but the baseball world will probaby get over it within a few years. MLB has already adopted the three-batter rule for relievers, altered active rosters to 26 and prevented teams from utilizing their entire 40-man roster in September. These changes, in conjunction, are pretty significant too.

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