With the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out the 2020 Minor League Baseball season, major league clubs are looking for ways to get their top prospects some reps over the winter. The Australian Baseball League has emerged as a hotspot for North American talent in recent years. Multiple MLB clubs have announced partnerships with ABL teams this winter, and the Phillies are no different as they’ve agreed to send nine prospects to the Adelaide Giants. The first export announced should sound familiar to Phils fans, as 2015 first-round pick Cornelius Randolph will patrol the outfield grass for Adelaide.
A toolsy centerfielder coming out of Georgia’s Griffin High School, Cornelius Randolph was snapped up by former Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. with the tenth pick in 2015. He’s struggled a great deal in his five minor league seasons, slashing .255/.343/.376 across four levels, with a lackluster .719 OPS.
However, at only 23 years old Randolph still has time on his side to tap into some of the raw power that made him a top draft choice, as well as improve upon his atrocious 60% successful stolen base rate. The hope is that this can help get reps in for Randolph and improve his development. The Australian Baseball League has garnered lots of attention recently with former MLB star Manny Ramierez even coming out of retirement at 48 years old to play this winter down under.
At this point, it’s fair to wonder whether Cornelius Randolph will ever be able to put everything together and become the five-tool superstar the Phillies dreamed of. However, he doesn’t need to become the next Mike Trout in order to be a productive big leaguer, but rather just provide decent offensive output and continue his solid defensive ways. Whether Randolph will take the next step remains to be seen, but what is for sure is that he’s staring at a great opportunity to turn heads in Australia, and put his development back on the fast track to the big leagues.