Best MLB players ever drafted 15th overall
The Phillies have the 15th pick in next Wednesday's draft, which will be only five rounds in 2020.
The Phils had the 15th overall pick 20 years ago and they did pretty well with it, selecting an infielder out of UCLA named Chase Utley.
Utley and former Red Sox outfielder Jim Rice, a Hall of Famer, are the two most accomplished players ever drafted 15th overall.
Let's take a closer look at the history of that pick.
Chase Utley (2000)
Utley was the most well-rounded player ever taken at No. 15. He nearly had a Hall of Fame career, and the question will always be how much better he or the Phillies could have been if Utley's knees didn't cost him so much time after 2009.
Utley's prime was one of the best ever by a major-league second baseman. From 2005-09, he hit .301/.388/.535 and averaged 29 homers, 101 RBI, 39 doubles and 111 runs scored. He did that while playing elite second base defense and adding more value on the basepaths than just about any baserunner.
Utley was by far the most accomplished first-rounder in 2000. In fact, the only other player selected within the first 28 picks who went on to have consistent big-league success was Adrian Gonzalez, first overall.
Jim Rice (1971)
The 1978 AL MVP had one hell of a peak, hitting .304 with an .876 OPS and averaging 29 homers and 106 RBI from 1975-86. His 350 homers over that stretch trailed only Mike Schmidt and Dave Kingman.
Rice, who made eight All-Star teams, had just two trips to the playoffs in his 16 seasons with the Red Sox, 1986 and 1988.
The Phillies had the sixth pick the year Rice was drafted. They took right-hander Roy Thomas, who was traded to the White Sox for Jim Kaat before ever appearing with the Phils.
Chris Carpenter (1993)
Carpenter will be forever remembered here for ending the 2011 playoff hopes of the best regular-season team in Phils history, when he outdueled Roy Halladay 1-0 in Game 5 of the NLDS.
Like Halladay, Carpenter wasn't the same after that game. He made just six more big-league starts after 2011. Also like Halladay, Carpenter did not have a smooth path to becoming an ace. He struggled for six seasons in Toronto before coming into his own in St. Louis.
From 2004-06, Carpenter went 51-18 with a 3.10 ERA. He missed ample time in 2007 and 2008 but then came back for three more stellar seasons, going 44-22 with a 3.02 ERA from 2009-11.
He was also a terrific playoff performer, going 10-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 starts.
Richie Hebner (1966)
Hebner was with the Pirates from the time he was drafted until December 1976 when he signed with the Phillies. He was here two years and hit .284/.375/.474 with an average of 18 homers and 67 RBI.
He was also the first baseman involved in the famous Davey Lopes play in the 1977 NLCS when Lopes was ruled safe on a bang-bang play at first against the Phillies, resulting in the tying run scoring rather than the game ending.
Hebner was never an All-Star but he had some solid seasons. That slash line with the Phillies would be considered well-above-average these days. In nine of his 18 seasons, Hebner had an on-base percentage of .360 or better.
Scott Kazmir (2002)
Another player with a tie to the Phillies in that he started two games in the 2008 World Series for the Rays, who lost both. He was also drafted two spots before Cole Hamels.
Kazmir was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball at one point, but he never lived up to the hype. From 2006-08, he went 35-25 with a 3.41 ERA in 85 starts with Tampa Bay, but it would be six years before Kazmir could consistently pick up outs anywhere. He even had a stint in the Independent League with the Sugar Land Skeeters in 2012.
Kazmir resurfaced with the A's in 2014 and had a feel-good season, making the AL All-Star team and going 15-9 with a 3.55 ERA in 190⅓ innings. He lasted another two seasons but has been out of baseball since 2016.
Royce Clayton (1988)
Long-time, well-traveled shortstop who played for 11 teams. Clayton was never a star but he was always a slick-fielding starter a team could count on.
The Phillies took Pat Combs in the first round that year, 11th overall.
Stephen Drew (2004)
The younger brother of J.D. Stephen Drew looked like a star in the making for the Diamondbacks after his dynamic 2008 season as a 25-year-old. He hit .291 that year with an .836 OPS, 44 doubles, 21 homers and 67 RBI while playing 152 games at shortstop.
Drew slipped a little bit in 2009 and 2010 but was still productive until he broke his ankle midway through 2011. He was never the same, though he did spend a good portion of 2013 starting for the Red Sox and 2015 starting for the Yankees.
Honorable mention: Leon Durham (1976), Scott Garrelts (1979), Sean Newcomb (2014), Devin Mesoraco (2007)