The Rule 5 draft has become on one of the most trendy things to talk about with regards to talent acquisition. It is easy to see why as it is essentially a free source of talent and to top that off, 2015 showed unprecedented success for Rule 5 picks. In the past however, getting a major league contributor was the hallmark of success. Rule 5 picks cover a pit of a spectrum from major league ready with lower upside, to players you stash and hope for the best in 3 years. With that in mind let’s kick off a series of talking about who is available and how they fit into what the Phillies are trying to accomplish and how likely they are to be the Phillies’ pick in the draft.
We start with the outfield where the Phillies add one of three big names to their roster and left two players unprotected. At the big league level the Phillies have one everyday outfielder in 2015 Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera, one promising just graduated prospect in Aaron Altherr, a “failed” prospect in Cody Asche, and a utility infielder who can handle center and left in Darnell Sweeney. There are big prospects on the way in Roman Quinn and Nick Williams, but right now there is an opportunity for ABs in the major leagues should the Phillies go that route.
Wuilmer Becerra – RF – Mets – Age 21
2015 Stats – 118 G 487 PA 9 HR 16 SB .290/.342/.423 6.8% BB% 19.7% K% (low-A)
Outside of the Phillies’ own Carlos Tocci there may be no other big name less prepared for the majors than Becerra. He has the raw tools to be a prototype right fielder (and a good one at that), but that is still 2-3 years away. A team taking him would need to commit to a year of him just taking a roster spot and not developing in game situations. On the surface this seems like a great outcome for the Phillies, but with their youth and relatively full roster, picking Becerra would be limiting to the 2016 Phillies. I wouldn’t guarantee that they won’t take him, but it seems unlikely.
Aristides Aquino – CF – Reds – Age 21
2015 Stats: 13 G 54 PA 2 HR .308/.333/.558 3.7% BB% 16.7% K% (SS)/61 G 249 PA 5 HR 6 SB .234/.281/.364 4.4% BB% 21.3% K% (low-A)
Aquino is probably the guy least prepared for the majors available at any position in the draft. He oozes tools with above average speed, plus power, and a plus arm. His approach is poor and that might be too kind. He struggled in low-A this year so even if you stash him all year, he might need all of his option years to just get back to the majors. Taking Aquino is the kind of move you make in a video game, not real life.
Jabari Blash – RF – Mariners – Age 26
2015 Stats: 60 G 248 PA 10 HR 5 SB .278/.383/.517 12.5% BB% 24.2% K%(AA)/56G 228 PA 22 HR 3 SB .264/.355/.640 12.3% BB% 27.6% K%
Blash is probably the oldest player we will cover in this series. He has some serious right handed raw power (though his 22 AAA home runs overrate his power some as it came with only 8 doubles and no triples), a ton of swing and miss, and some on base ability. He is athletic enough to fake center field but he is likely a corner outfielder in the majors. It is a real stretch to think that Blash can be an everyday player going forward, but a solid platoon 4th or 5th outfielder is not outside the realm of possibilities. Given the lack of upside, I don’t think Blash is the ideal pick with the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft. However, if it gets around to the 2nd round and he is still unpicked I think it would be an interesting debate for the Phillies between him and a Jeff Francouer veteran outfielder.
Teoscar Hernandez – CF – Astros – Age 23
2015 Stats – 121 G 514 PA 17 HR 33 SB .219/.275//.362 6.4% BB% 24.5% K% (AA)
This past season saw Hernandez’s stock plummet as he did what many toolsy outfielders do, he struggled against advanced pitching. Hernandez very much fills a prototype, he is probably a tweener at the major league level because while he can play center field, he is not really the guy you want to start there everyday. In a corner he has good power, but the bat is a bit light for a corner. As a right handed bat he is a bit redundant with Aaron Altherr, but with the Phillies heavy on left handed bats overall it might not matter too much. In the majors he can provide some ABs off the bench, but it will be a struggle for him to really contribute. If you believe in Hernandez then he is worth the #1 pick, I don’t particularly believe in him at that rate.
Tyler Goeddel – RF – Rays – Age 23
2015 Stats – 123 G 533 PA 12 HR 28 SB .279/.350/.433 9.0% BB% 18.4% K% (AA)
Goeddel is a former first round pick and former third baseman who has been on a slow but positive progression through the minors. Goeddel might be the best pure hitter available in the draft and can probably contribute some to a rebuilding team. He is an above average runner, so while his gaudy steal numbers won’t translate completely to the majors he will still be an asset on the basepaths. Goeddel has below average power now, but a long lanky frame that always has hinted at future power. In many ways he is a better and younger version of Cameron Perkins. Overall of the outfielders here, he would be my choice because he has the best combination of fitting on the roster, 2016 impact, and future upside. It might not be the flashiest profile available, but he is a guy who could give you a future big leaguer.