For the first time in team history, the Reading Fightin Phils have three first round picks starting in the outfield. Adam Haseley and Mickey Moniak have mostly been sharing the center and right field positions, while 2015 tenth overall pick Cornelius Randolph has been the primary left fielder for the Fightins.
This 2019 season seems to be a very important one for the twenty-one year-old Randolph. He has endured a lot of struggles throughout his young career. Now is the time for Randolph to prove his value and show that he deserves to be a part of the future of the Phillies.
I was able to sit down with Randolph this past weekend and discuss some of his thoughts on this season.
His Fellow First Rounders
Randolph has a good relationship with both Haseley and Moniak. He said, “We root for each other. We want each other to do well. We kind of learn from each other,” in regards to his fellow Reading outfielders. The trio of prospects are teammates above anything. All three want to help each other and help the team get better. They push each other to perform well, and Randolph knows that it is the performance that matters above all else.
“The stand out part is easy. Play well. You don’t play well, you don’t stand out.” This is what Randolph told me about not getting lost in the crowd of a talented outfield. “I got to play well.” Randolph is aware that he has a lot to prove. He could get left behind if he does not perform. He is determined to play some of the best baseball of his life and show who he can be as a player.
Randolph is looking to get back to his roots on the offensive side of the ball in 2019. He played tremendously the year he was drafted in 2015, but has not posted a great year since. He was pressing a bit too much after that first season, which led to struggles in the following seasons. Randolph said, “Hitting-wise I’m trying to kind of get back to what I was doing when I got drafted, I would say. In GCL I played well, and I kind of started trying to do more since then, and I don’t need to do that.”
The Early Results
It seems that Randolph may have once again found the mindset he had in the beginning of his professional career. In his first ten games this season, Randolph has already hit three home runs with an OPS of .827. These numbers put him on pace for a career-high in long balls and his highest OPS since that first season in the GCL.
The power that Randolph has displayed so far this season could be a key to his development as a hitter. He is squaring balls up and punishing pitches to hit. “Especially now [that] I’ve gotten stronger, if I just barrel the ball it’s going to go a long way,” said Randolph. This newfound power stroke could be just the key in proving himself to be the player the Phillies envisioned when they selected him in the 2015 Draft.