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On MLB draft's second day, pitchers, and a catcher, are top priority

The Phillies have always drafted a good amount of pitchers. But after last night, Day 2 of the draft, there was an unusual 20 pitchers taken through the first 30 rounds.

The Phillies have always drafted a good amount of pitchers. But after last night, Day 2 of the draft, there was an unusual 20 pitchers taken through the first 30 rounds.

Between 2006 and 2009, the Phillies took 23, 30, 31 and 21 pitchers in each draft, totals for the full 50 rounds.

After the selection of Germantown Friends product Jesse Biddle in the first round on Monday, the Phillies picked eight hurlers through 12 rounds yesterday. The first of these picks was righthander Perci Garner out of Ball State in the second round. As a junior this year, he had a 5-3 record with a 4.62 ERA, making 11 starts in his 17 appearances. In 74 innings, he allowed 74 hits, walked 33 and struck out 83. He also spent time as a third-string quarterback in 2007 and 2008.

Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever thinks Garner can be a solid middle-to-end-of-rotation starter.

"He's very athletic," Wolever said. "We think he has got tremendous topside, a great live body, loose arm, a chance to have at least three high quality pitches. He needs to get some innings under his belt and if he does well, we will try and move him along."

The man who stopped the streak of pitchers taken after Biddle and Garner was Texas catcher Cameron Rupp.

A 3-year starter for the Longhorns, the 6-2, 235-pound Rupp, who will play in the Super Regional of the College World Series this weekend against TCU, has a .310 batting average, with 10 homers, 54 RBI and a .507 slugging percentage. His father and uncle both played professionally.

"A big strong guy, plus raw power," Wolever said of Rupp. "He has at least an average arm, if not a tick above. He has got a chance to be an everyday catcher. He has handled all those great pitchers that have come through there so he knows how to call a game. He can throw and he'll hit the ball in the seats here."

Depth was also an issue in pitching. Wolever said that the team's focus was pitching while also going after best-available.

"It was pretty pitching-heavy," he said. "We had our pockets picked a few times during the course of the draft that players that we had ready to select and someone else took them before us. It was pretty pitching-dominated, I thought, going into it."

Another enticing pick for the Phillies is Scott Frazier, a fifth-round pick from Upland High School in California. The 6-7 righthander has been clocked at 95 mph. The thinking is that if the team can sign him away from Pepperdine, Frazier and Biddle can be a great right-left combination.

"He was up to 94 mph this spring and he's got a chance to be a special guy on the mound," Wolever said. "It's going to take a lot of work and effort on our part, but we hope to get it done."

Wolever also liked lefthanders Bryan Morgado and Mario Hollands. Morgado, a fourth-rounder, decided to return to Tennessee last year after getting picked in the third round by the White Sox. This season, he had a 2-7 record with a 7.90 ERA, in 13 starts and two relief appearances. He allowed 73 hits in 68 innings, with 36 walks and 74 strikeouts. Hollands was a 10th-round pick out of Cal-Santa Barbara and, at 6-5, 205-pounds, the team loves his upside.

"We got some good lefthanded pitching with Morgado and Biddle," said Wolever. "You throw in Hollands and we got three good lefties right there. I think we've got some good lefthanded pitching. We got some righthanded kids that I think are going to be all right and we managed to get a couple outfielders. We got a lot of things that we needed and a lot of things that have topside. I'm very excited about a lot of these kids."

Day 3 of the draft (Rounds 31-50) will begin today at noon. You can catch each selection on