This is not unfamiliar territory for the Phillies, who have entered the First-Year Player Draft without a first-round pick before. That is the price paid for signing Type A free agents, such as Jim Thome before the 2003 season, Jon Lieber before the 2005 season and Raul Ibanez before the 2009 season.
The Phillies forfeited the 33rd overall pick to the Rangers in December, when they signed Cliff Lee to a five-year, $120 million contract. Their first pick -- the 39th overall -- comes as a compensatory selection because Jayson Werth signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Nationals.
The Phillies' second pick -- the 66th overall -- comes directly from the Nationals for the Werth signing. Their third pick (90th overall) is their own.
But that changes little for scouting director Marti Wolever, who is gearing up for Monday's Draft.
"We've been spending time the last couple of days, lining [players] up according to ability," Wolever said. "We'll go from there. I think it's in the back of your mind every year as far as what your deficiencies are. We'll try to pay a little bit more attention to that. But no, we'll do it the same way we've always done it."
And that's taking the best player available.
Philadelphia has its wish list, as does every other team. The organization certainly could use more catching, and would also like more middle infielders and left-handed pitching.
"Bats are always fun to have," Wolever said. "I always love to get bats, but that's kind of what we're looking at."
Three picks in the top 100 are a far cry from the 13 the Rays have, but Wolever will have to make it work. He has no choice, although he thinks there should be some talented players available when the Draft finally comes the Phillies' way.
"It's probably one of the better Drafts in recent years as far as depth," he said. "Obviously, you'd like to be higher or have more overall picks, but ... we think we're going to get some good players. And for that reason, I'm looking forward to it."
Recent Phillies Draft picks
|2010||Jesse Biddle||LHP||Class A Lakewood (Phillies)|
|2009||Kelly Dugan||OF||Class A Williamsport (Phillies)|
|2008||Anthony Hewitt||OF||Class A Lakewood (Phillies)|
|2007||Joe Savery||1B||Class A Clearwater (Phillies)|
|2006||Kyle Drabek||RHP||Blue Jays (MLB)|
Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft begins with a one-hour preview show on Monday, at 6 p.m. ET on MLB.com and MLB Network, followed by the first round and supplemental compensation round. MLB.com will provide exclusive coverage of Days 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. Get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
In about 50 words
The talent pool is one of the deepest in recent years -- including college pitching and high school position players -- which is a good thing for the Phillies. With just three picks in the top 100, they have little room for error.
"We want to try to hit on as many of them as we can, obviously," Wolever said of his top picks. "Looking back at the 2008 Draft, Michael Stutes has already pitched in the big leagues. And we've got some relievers that are not far away. You want to get the top guys right, and somewhere along the way, you want to get a few other guys to fill things out."
The Phillies have no first-round selections.
Though the Phillies' preference is for catchers, middle infielders and left-handed pitching, if they see a player they like, they certainly will take him.
Everyday players are getting harder and harder to acquire once they hit the big leagues, because organizations lock them up early to multiyear deals (Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki). The Phillies would like to continue developing their own position players, much the way they have Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown.
Recent Draft History
MLB.com ranked outfielder Jonathan Singleton its 30th best prospect because of his offensive talents. Singleton, whom the Phillies selected in the eighth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, is just 19 and playing in the Florida State League, which is challenging enough. But he also is converting from first base to the outfield, because Howard won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
The Phillies selected right-hander Jarred Cosart in the 38th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, but he ranked 70th in Baseball America's preseason top 100 list. Cosart, 21, has Phillies brass feeling better about their pitching depth since trading other top prospects in recent seasons, such as Kyle Drabek (to get Roy Halladay) and Jason Knapp (for Lee). Cosart is 6-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 11 starts this season with Class A Clearwater.
In The Show
Nine players on the Phillies' 25-man roster were acquired in the Draft: pitchers Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson, Kyle Kendrick, Stutes and Mike Zagurski; infielders Rollins, Utley and Howard; and outfielder Brown. Rollins, Utley, Howard, Hamels and Madson have played a major part in helping the Phillies win one World Series, two National League pennants and four NL East titles over the last four years.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.