No, he is not related to former Phillies draft pick and current Phillies third base coach Ryne Sandberg. But the storyline for this Sandberg, Cord Sandberg, a high school star out of Bradenton, Florida, is that he would fall further in the draft than his talent. With an offer in hand to play quarterback at Mississippi State, Sandberg is a "toolsy" centerfielder with a high upside. The question in everyone's mind seems to be: if they draft him, will he sign? The Phillies used their third round pick, 89th overall, and took that chance.
The prospects of signing Sandberg already look good for the Phillies. In his hometown newspaper, the Bradenton Herald, Sandberg sounds like (and looks like) he is ready to put a Phillies uniform right now:
“My mindset is I’m going to try to become a major-leaguer,” Sandberg said moments after his name was read on MLB.com, where the draft is being streamed live. “I’m just going to go out there and play some baseball.”
“It’s a really good organization,” said Sandberg, who worked out for the Phillies at their minor-league complex and spring training headquarters in Clearwater, which is also home to the franchise’s high Single-A affiliate. “I feel good about going there.
“I ‘m going to do everything I can to make it as a major-leaguer, and try and prove all the people wrong who didn’t pick me.
Sandberg was ranked as the 56th best prospect in the draft, but the Phillies were able to select him 89th. This was MLB.com's assessment of Sandberg prior to the draft:
Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 4/5 | Power: 4/6 | Run: 5/5 | Arm: 5/5 | Field: 5/5 | Overall: 4/5
A two-sport star from the Florida high school ranks, Sandberg has the chance to quarterback at Mississippi State should he choose to go that route. He also has the chance to be a very good, toolsy outfielder at the professional level.
A line-drive gap hitter now, Sandberg projects to have above-average power from the left side of the plate in the future. He runs well and should be a good defensive outfielder. With a big, athletic frame, he reminds some of Josh Hamilton in terms of his body type.
Sandberg will get the chance to show how close he can get to being a similar player if he chooses the diamond over the gridiron.
The Phillies twice pulled a two-sport athlete away from his other sport in recent times. The first was third baseman Scott Rolen, who seemed destined to play basketball. And then, there was Domonic Brown, who turned down playing wide receiver at Miami to sign with the Phillies. Just moments after being selected, Sandberg was donning a Phillies cap and shirt. The Phillies prospects of signing him sure look good.
So what did MLB Network's Peter Gammons think?
The Phils drafting Cord Sandberg is delicious— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) June 7, 2013
Sounds good to me.