MLB draft 2021: Phillies load up on pitching and a few promising bats

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Phils complete draft, load up on pitching, a few promising bats originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The 2021 baseball draft, which concluded on Tuesday, was deep in pitching talent and that was reflected in the Phillies’ haul.

Fourteen of the team’s 20 picks were pitchers and most of them have fastballs that light up radar guns.

“You see what plays in the big leagues and it’s stuff,” Phillies scouting director Brian Barber said. “If you can get 99 (mph) with a good breaking ball right now, I’m going to be interested.”

The Phils opened the draft by taking 6-foot-7 Andrew Painter with the 13th overall pick on Sunday night. The power-armed right-hander has top of the rotation potential.

Painter was one of four high school pitchers that the Phillies selected. Three of them were nabbed in the first six rounds.

The other 10 pitchers came out of the college and junior college ranks.

After taking Painter in the first round, the Phillies quickly took a pair of position players with their second- and third-round selections.

Second-rounder Ethan Wilson is a lefty-hitting outfielder from the University of South Alabama who has power and selectivity at the plate.

“We think it’s a complete hitting package,” Barber said. “We just love the offensive potential and production. It’s high contact skills with really good barrel control and a guy who hits the ball hard. So we think it’s the complete offense package with the (ability) to hit and hit for power in the future.

“This isn’t just a stiff you put in left field. He’s a good left fielder.”

Third-rounder Jordan Viars is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound outfielder who turns 18 later this week. The talented left-handed hitter had been committed to the University of Arkansas but will sign.

“This is a bat we’re super excited to bring into our system,” Barber said. “He’s really young but big and strong already and he can really hit. He drives the ball to left-center and has the ability to turn on it for power. He plays the corner outfield spots and first base, but the bat was the attraction.

“There were multiple teams on him. After we picked him, we got texts from other teams saying, ‘You stole our guy.’ We think it’s a complete hitting package.”

The Phils took an intriguing high school outfielder from Northern California in the ninth round. Gavin Tonkel didn’t receive a lot of pre-draft media buzz, but there were teams on him.

“I didn’t want to lose him,” Barber said. “We identified him last summer when he was playing with another kid we were looking at and he jumped out.”

Tonkel had committed to Sacramento State, where Rhys Hoskins played. He’s 6-foot-3, 185 pounds and can fly on the bases and in center field.

“He has top-of-the-scale speed,” Barber said.

Tonkel worked out for Phillies scouts last week at Citizens Bank Park.

“He faced college arms and did really well,” Barber said. “We think he’ll be able to put the ball in play and let his tools play.”

One of the most intriguing arms that the Phils drafted belongs to fifth-rounder Griff McGarry of the University of Virginia. The right-hander has top-of-the-scale power but serious control issues. Barber said the Phils were comfortable taking McGarry in that round because the pitcher showed improvement after making delivery changes late in his college season.

Barber said he was confident that the Phils would sign the majority of their picks, including all of their top 10. All four of the high school pitchers that the team drafted will sign.

Here is the complete Phillies 2021 draft:

Round 1 – RHP Andrew Painter, Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Round 2 – OF Ethan Wilson, University of South Alabama

Round 3 – OF Jordan Viars, Rick Reedy HS, Frisco, Texas

Round 4 – RHP Micah Ottenbriet, Trenton HS, Trenton, Michigan

Round 5 – RHP Griff McGarry, University of Virginia

Round 6 – RHP Jose Pena, Tampa Prep, Tampa, Florida

Round 7 – RHP Christian McGowan, E. Oklahoma JC.

Round 8 – RHP Jason Ruffcorn, University of Oklahoma

Round 9 – OF Gavin Tonkel, Heritage HS, Brentwood, California

Round 10 – OF Logan Cerny, Troy University, Troy, Alabama

Round 11 – RHP Andrew Baker, Chipola College, Marianna, Florida

Round 12 – 3B T.J. Rumfield, Virginia Tech

Round 13 – OF Jared Carr, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV

Round 14 – LHP Jose Valadez-Acuna, Veterans Memorial HS, Corpus, Christi, Texas

Round 15 – LHP Matt Osterberg, St. Cloud University, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Round 16 – RHP Ty Collins, Glendale College, Glendale, California

Round 17 – RHP Alex Garbrick, University of South Carolina

Round 18 – RHP Malik Binns, Benedictine University, Mesa, Arizona

Round 19 – RHP Seth Halvorson, University of Missouri

Round 20 – RHP Cam Wynne, University of Nebraska

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