After the Phillies selected J.P. Crawford 16th overall in the 2012 draft, the club’s shortstop of the future namechecked Derek Jeter when he was asked about influences.
Cornelius Randolph, who was selected 10th overall Monday by the Phillies in the MLB draft, dropped Jeter’s former double-play mate’s name during a conference call Wednesday.
“I try to model my swing after Robinson Cano,” Randolph said. “That’s my favorite player. I watched him growing up, so that’s where I got my smooth swing from the left side.”
Clips of Randolph in the batter’s box back up the Cano comparison. The 18-year high school senior has a sweet swing.
“He has a chance to be the best pure hitter in the draft,” Yahoo baseball scribe Jeff Passan noted.
Randolph, a shortstop, who will move to the outfield, according to Phillies scouting director Johnny Almaraz, might have been projected to be drafted in the 20s a week before the draft and some fans grumbled why the Phillies didn’t select a more highly touted prospect, such as Daz Cameron or Tyler Stephenson but projections hardly matter.
Rocco Baldelli was higher regarded than Chase Utley in the 2000 draft. Phil Nevin was selected before Derek Jeter in the 1992 draft. Almaraz was thrilled to pick Randolph, who isn’t just an athlete but a ballplayer, who has Crawford-esque potential.
“He has an extremely high ceiling as far as hitting is concerned,” Almaraz said.
If the Phillies passed on Randolph, the rival Braves were reportedly going to take him with the 14th pick. Randolph, who grew up watching Braves-Phillies games at Turner Field, was pleased to be picked by Philadelphia.
“The biggest guys I picked out were Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard,” Randolph said. “So getting selected by the Phillies is pretty cool.”
Randolph has committed to Clemson but he and Alvaraz indicated that a signing is imminent.
Expect Randolph to start his pro career with the Williamsport Crosscutters, who are part of the Phillies short season Class A affiliate in the New York-Penn League.
Overall, the Phillies had a balanced draft of pitchers and hitters. Some of the standouts include Arizona second baseman Scott Kingery, who should move up the ranks quickly. He can hit for average with some pop and play strong defense. The wildcard is 8th round pick Greg Pickett, an outfielder from Legend High School in Colorado. Pickett is a big kid with raw power. Will he think about signing with the Phillies or attend Mississippi State University? If he goes to school, he is projected to be a possible first rounder in a year or two. If the Phillies can come to terms with Pickett, that would be huge for Almaraz and company.