THE PHILLIES continued their quest to find young arms and replenish their depth at catcher on the final day of the baseball draft.
Of their 20 picks yesterday, 10 were pitchers and three were catchers. If you're counting, the grand total over 3 days is 30 pitchers and four catchers.
Two catchers were among the Phillies' first three picks of the day. They selected Jim Klocke from Southeast Missouri State in Round 31, then chose West Chester University product Bob Stumpo in the 33rd round. The day's other catcher, Tyler Ross, of Collier High in Naples, Fla., was selected in the 46th round.
Klocke, 6-foot, 195, was a first-team all-Ohio Valley Conference selection the last 3 years. He holds the school's career record in RBI with 190, is second in runs scored at 205, seventh in homers with 32, and ninth in batting average at .362.
He was voted the conference's Male Athlete of the Year and recently was named the ESPN The Magazine Baseball Academic All-America of the Year. He returned for his senior season after being drafted in the 46th round by his hometown St. Louis Cardinals last year.
Stumpo, 6-4, 220, was a Delaware all-stater for Salesianum High in Wilmington. A switch-hitter, he just ended a senior year in which he led West Chester to the championship game of the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional, hitting .305 with eight homers and 52 RBI. He holds the Golden Rams' career record by throwing out 16 of 46 would-be basestealers.
He becomes the 26th West Chester player to be drafted, and the third to be drafted by the Phillies, joining David Bishop (second round in the secondary draft in January 1971) and Tom Nuneviller (fifth round, 1990).
With the draft streaming live on his computer, Stumpo said that he screamed at the call of his name.
"It's a dream come true," said Stumpo, spending time in Wildwood, N.J. "This is what I have worked for since I picked up a baseball. This is awesome. I can't really describe it."
The team might have gotten a glimpse of the future last Wednesday when Stumpo caught a bullpen session for No. 1 pick Jesse Biddle, the lefthander from Germantown Friends. Stumpo also was invited for a predraft workout on Saturday.
A year after he was disappointed at not having been selected, Stumpo spent the day enjoying a multitude of congratulations. He can't relax too much, however, as he leaves Tuesday for the Gulf Coast League to begin his journey to the big leagues.
"I was hoping for it last year, but it didn't come true, so I just went back to work," he said. "My cell-phone battery is slowly going down to zero. It's unreal how many teammates, friends, family and old coaches have called. That's special right there. I can't believe how many people have followed it. It's truly awesome to see that many people care about you."
Stumpo's goal is to one day play for the team for which his parents have had season tickets as long as he can remember.
"That's a long way off," he said. "It's going to take a lot of hard work, that's for sure. That would be icing on the cake. I mean, getting drafted is the first part of the dream. I know I can play. If you can make it through the struggles of minor league and work hard, that's the whole goal right there, to play in a big-league system."
Stumpo was not the only local player the Phillies selected yesterday. In the 45th round, they selected Villanova closer Mike Francisco, a graduate of Malvern Prep.
Francisco went 2-2 with a 3.46 ERA and seven saves in 25 games. The 6-5 junior lefthander regularly hit 90-91 mph with his fastball. He was taking a nap on his couch when he was drafted.
"I actually gave up on the draft a little bit," said Francisco, who said he saw a few Phillies scouts during the season, but the team did not invite him to any workouts.
"This is just a dream come true," he said. "I never expected this. I would love being there and playing in front of my family and friends. Just hearing everyone's support, I can't wait."
Francisco still has a year of collegiate eligibility and has not decided if he will sign a contract. He says that his decision should come by the end of July.
In Round 32, the Phillies selected Delaware third baseman Carlos Alonso, who was second-team all-Colonial Athletic Association as a senior. Alonso spent his first 2 years at Santa Barbara City College.
At one point this year he was leading Division I with a .466 batting average. He finished at .389, with 20 doubles and 62 runs scored. His 160 total bases led the CAA, and his 16 home runs tied for second. He capped off a school-record 32-game hitting streak in March and hit for the fourth cycle in program history April 16 vs. Towson.