Among followers of the Phillies farm system, many opinions have changed in the weeks following the 2008 draft. The club managed to sign an impressive 28 of their first 31 picks and 35 overall, paying above slot for several highly regarded players. [Link]
When the Phillies beat the clock by signing 38th-round pick Jarred Cosart an hour before last Thursday’s signing deadline, they rounded out an impressive, aggressive negotiation period with the players they selected in June’s entry level draft. The Phillies forked over a reported $550,000 bonus for Cosart, a Texas fireballer who’s been clocked in the mid-90s. Cosart fell into the 38th round because he was considered unsignable. The Phillies changed his mind by paying him the equivalent of second-round money.
Money also talked with third-round supplemental choice Jon Pettibone, a talented high school right-hander and Scott Boras client who passed on pitching for USC in favor of a $500,000 bonus, plus an undisclosed amount reserved for education. They also paid above slot for sixth-rounder Colby Shreve, among others, a right-hander who was drafted by the Braves last season only to return to Southern Nevada for his sophomore year.
In fact, the Phillies lost out on just two picks from the first 24 rounds: Raw, athletic third baseman Johnny Coy, who doubles as a basketball player at Arizona State and reportedly asked for the sky, and 12th-round choice James Weber. Locking down 28 of 31 and 35 overall, including several dynamic, young talents, deserves a serious hat tip and will hopefully go a long way in restocking the farm with better talent.