Inside draft day

“The Phillies select 4378, Kyle Drabek from The Woodlands High School, son of Doug Drabek, a right-handed pitcher.”

With those words, Phillies Director of Scouting Marti Wolever, made the Phillies’ first-round selection in the First-Year Player Draft that started at 1 p.m. (EDT) today.

The annual draft is held by a conference call, all 30 teams and Major League Baseball’s central office in New York.   

Wolever and the Phillies staff have been holed up since May 31 in the Draft Room located on the Hall of Fame Club level at Citizens Bank Park.  He is joined by scouting coordinators Jim Fregosi Jr. and Mike Ledna; John Castleberry, East Regional Supervisor; Brian Kohlscheen, Central Supervisor and Billy Moore, who handles the same duties for the western part of the country.

Others include Pat Gillick, Ruben Amaro Jr., Mike Arbuckle, Steve Noworyta, Rob Holiday, Mike Ondo, Jay McLaughlin, Don Welke, Dallas Green and John Vukovich, all of the baseball administration department.  Green and “Vuke” left after the first round to head for Reading to see RHP Scott Mathieson pitch tonight.

Also in for the draft are Mike Compton (Minor League Field Coordinator), Gorman Heimueller (Pitching Coordinator) and Scott Sheridan (Coordinator, Minor League Athletic Trainers).

A large (12’ x 21’) conference table takes up the middle of the room.  Eleven laptops are stationed around the table.  A circular speaker phone is stationed in the middle of the table.  McLaughlin, Baseball Information Analyst, mans the main keyboard that is tied into MLB.

All players are given a four-digit identification code.  Clubs are asked to announce their selection by the code number, first name, last name, position, school and hometown. 

Three sides of the room are dominated by magnetic boards.  Over the course of preparing for the draft, players were assigned to certain boards.  The four main ones were college pitchers, college position players and the same for high schools.  A total of 816 names were posted. 

As names are selected, the magnet name plate is removed and tossed into a Rubbermaid container for use next year.

The right-hand side of the white board directly in front of Wolever is where the Phillies post the players they select. 

On Monday, Wolever and his regional supervisors spent the day and evening calling area scouts.  They were checking on last-minute changes concerning health, status of an advisor, signability factors, etc.

Time was also spent trying to learn as much as possible about how the teams ahead of the Phillies would make their selections in the first round. 

On the board headed “High School Pitchers,” the first name was Drabek.  Wolever, with all the information he could possibly have in hand, thought there was a good chance Drabek would be there when the Phillies’ turn came in the first round, the 18th overall selection. 

Kyle’s dad, Doug, nearly made history at Veterans Stadium while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He was one out away from a no-hitter when outfielder Sil Campusano singled to right field on a 3-2 pitch.  It was the closest anyone had ever come to a no-hitter at the Vet up to that point.

The date was August 3, 1990.  Nearly 16 years later, a Drabek did make history in Philadelphia.  Son, Kyle, goes down in the record book as the Phillies’ first selection. 


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Simply the best Phillies draft day story published anywhere, thanks Larry.

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