Phillies fifth-round draft pick Ben Wetzler went unsigned last summer and opted to return to Oregon State for his senior season. The Phillies also failed to sign sixth-round pick Jason Monda who also returned for his senior season at fellow-Pac 12 school, Washington State.
Unfortunately for Wetzler, he cannot play for the Beavers for the foreseeable future. Wetzler was suspended indefinitely by the NCAA for "inappropriate use of a financial advisor" when he was dealing with the Phillies last summer.
The situation gets stickier with Baseball America's Aaron Fitt's report that it was a member of the Phillies organization that turned in Wetzler. To compound the issue, Fitt reports the Phillies also tried to turn in Monda as well, but he was cleared within the last week. As he points out it is highly uncommon to see a team turn in an unsigned draft pick and it is not a good precedent to set.
Why on Earth would anybody think this would be a good idea? The players went unsigned so obviously it is a blow to the ego but turning them in to the NCAA is not the solution - unless the solution is trying to publicly look like the jilted ex.
This summer is going to be an uphill battle with the Phillies mid-round selections who have the option to return to school or, better yet, the high school players who aren't sure whether they plan to go pro or play college baseball. Put yourself in any of those scenarios when the NCAA is still on the table, would you trust the Phillies if you decided not to sign? What would prevent them from turning you in if you decide against signing in Philadelphia?
The team has enough obstacles to overcome heading into 2014 and the last thing they need is an unnecessary headache when it comes to amateur scouting and signing. I would hope that the decision to turn in Wetzler and Monda did not come from someone high up in the team's front office but from someone who didn't fully understand the extent of the fallout. Not like that would make it much better but I would sleep better knowing that the real movers-and-shakers weren't this nonsensical.
Wetzler is a three-year starting pitcher for the Beavers. He is a three-pitch pitcher with a fastball that sits in the low-90s with movement, changeup, and a slider. He has a decent frame at 6’1”, 210 lbs. Wetzler has a strong changeup with room for improvement and holds his own on the mound. He tends to be aggressive and go after hitters. Wetzler is known as a control-pitcher.
The left-hander Monda from the Pacific Northwest stands at 6’4”, 205 lbs. He is already an accomplished hitter that could add power as he gets into to professional ball and fills out. Monda possesses average speed but has a high baseball-IQ which makes him a strong baserunner. He is currently manning centerfield but projects as a corner outfielder where he has the potential to be a solid defender.
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