Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz touted Alec Bohm — the third baseman the Phils drafted third overall on Monday — for having the potential to be the type to zoom through the minor leagues. It sounds like the Phillies found another quick mover on Tuesday.
The Phillies think Notre Dame centerfielder Matt Vierling, who they drafted in the fifth round, can follow Bohm's trail through the minors. Vierling batted .310 as a junior this season in 210 at-bats, with a team-high 10 homers and a .958 OPS.
"We feel that we got a really good college player that's advanced and has the chance to move quickly through our system," Almaraz said.
Here's a look at the seven players the Phillies drafted on Tuesday:
Eastman is a command-oriented righthander from Cal State Fullerton, the same school that produced Phillies prospects Tom Eshelman and Connor Seabold, both of whom have a low tolerance for issuing walks.
Eastman, a junior, threw a no-hitter this season and has a 2.20 ERA in 16 starts. He's walked just 27 batters in 110 2/3 innings. The 21-year-old can change speeds with his fastball, which tops out around 95 mph, and pairs his looping curveball with a change-up.
"He's a polished college pitcher who has performed and comes from a great program," Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz said. "College pitchers who can do it at a high collegiate level are pretty good in professional baseball."
Vierling, 21, fell to the fifth round due to a rough summer last year at the wooden-bat Cape Cod League. He batted just .182 in 99 at-bats on the Cape with 30 strikeouts and eight walks. He struck out just 28 times this season at Notre Dame in more than double the at-bats. Almaraz said the Phillies had no concerns about Vierling's struggles there as worked out for them last week with a wooden bat.
"He had a tremendous workout," Almaraz said. "He checked all the boxes as far as us liking him in that spot and believing that he's a prospect for us."
Simmons was the first of three high-school players drafted and the Phillies believe they can sign each of them. Some mock drafts listed Simmons a year ago as a first- or second-round pick when they sized up the 2018 draft. Simmons batted .343 this season as a senior with a .949 OPS in 108 at-bats. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound righthander can also play third base. He's committed to Georgia Tech.
"He's a very athletic player. A tremendous athlete," Almaraz said. "Explosive. Has the ability to play shortstop and has an above-average arm. He can run. Potentially has five tools."
Cotto is 6-foot-4 and can throw four pitches with an effortless delivery. He's from the same school that produced the Astros' Carlos Correa and Phillies infielder Jesmuel Valentin. The 18-year-old is signed to play at a Florida junior college.
"He has a really good fastball, anywhere from 88 to 93, and has a feel for his breaking ball," Almaraz said. "He's a young pup who shows the feel for pitching and has the chance to potentially be a power pitcher down the road."
Lancaster, a senior, hit .305 this season with a 1.100 OPS in 226 at-bats. He led Coastal with 20 homers and drove in 57 runs. Lancaster is listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds. He could likely handle third base if needed. He was the team's starting second baseman in 2016 when Coastal won the College World Series, but Lancaster missed that tournament with a knee injury. He batted just .250 as a junior and then had Lasik eye surgery to correct his vision, leading to a bounce-back senior year.
"Our area scouts are the basis of all the decisions we make. Some of them stayed on him and had all the background and medical on him," Almaraz said. "He recommended him and really, really loves his ability to play the game. He's a baseball player. He knows how to play the infield. He knows how to play short. He has a good arm. He knows how to hit. He's a good player and a good player that we consider a prospect."
This could end up being the steal of the draft for the Phillies. MLB.com ranked Pipkin as the draft's 92nd-best prospect and the Phillies found him with pick No. 257.
Pipkin is signed to play at Cal. The 18-year-old grew up 20 miles north of Oakland and has an electric mid-90s fastball and finished his senior year with a 2.12 ERA and 88 strikeouts with 21 walks in 46 1/3 innings. Opponents batted .192 against him in his three years of varsity baseball.
"He's an extraordinary talent," Almaraz said. "He's a young man who has some ability. We like him. The scouts that followed him for the last three years at all of these showcases and Area Code games saw him as a high-ceiling guy. He's a projectional case. With our player development, we're hoping we can develop a pretty good starter one day."
Stokes bats third for the Gamecocks, who will play this weekend in an NCAA Super Regional. He is batting .331 as a senior with 10 homers and 1.004 OPS in 47 games. Of his 57 hits, 23 have been for extra bases. He has 41 strikeouts and 28 walks in 172 at-bats. His OPS is 353 points higher than last season and his batting average is 107 points higher.