The Winter Meetings end with the Rule 5 draft. The draft is rarely impactful, with probably the best recent player being the Phillies own Odubel Herrera. The next year the Phillies took Tyler Goeddel with the first pick and he completely flamed out. Meanwhile, the Phillies have protected a high percentage of players leading to no permanent losses in many years. Last year the Indians took Hoby Milner, but he was returned after Spring Training. After the Padres went crazy in loading up on super young picks the last two years, teams have protected higher upside players and left a crop this year heavy in relievers.
What could the Phillies do?
Right now neither the Pat Neshek or Tommy Hunter signings are official so the Phillies roster stands at 38. Meaning the Phillies could make up to two picks and then deal with the roster problems when the signings become official. If the Phillies do pick someone, here are some interesting names available.
- Nick Burdi – A hard throwing former first round pick, Burdi has closer upside, but he had Tommy John in May so he won’t be back for a while and when he is back he may be limited, also he has control problems to fix.
- Cale Coshow – Another hard throwing righty, Coshow has big stuff, but his minor league numbers are not particularly dominant.
- Jake Brentz – There are a lot of LOOGYs available, but Brentz stands out by being the only fireballing lefty available. He is a project because strikes are foreign to him, but there is a lot of upside.
- A Bunch of RHPs with a + to ++ fastball and a breaking ball – Most of them have control problems and an inconsistent but plus breaking ball. Some have control, but the breaking ball is just ok. Some have everything, but aren’t healthy. Someone will get a competent major league contributor, many will not.
The hitting crop is not good enough to have anyone of note, but there are some no hit center fielders and infielders available.
The Phillies are pretty good in the bullpen after their two signings this week, so they could leverage another team looking to move up to #3 to trade the pick for a minor leaguer without Rule 5 protection. This would allow them to essentially get a minor leaguer for free. It is not a ton of upside, but would be a solid use of the spot freed up by waiving Cameron Perkins and Engelb Vielma.
Who could they lose?
The Phillies have been pretty good about protecting their Rule 5 eligible players so they have left very few in danger, but here is who could be taken.
- Brandon Leibrandt – Leibrandt has been a mediocre starter with a AAAA ceiling, but some team could see a LOOGY in him.
- Carlos Tocci – Tocci is Rule 5 eligible again, and while his lack of strength limits his impact, he is one of only a few position player who could step in a major league role immediately because of his glove.
- Austin Davis – Davis had a breakout year with a fastball that sits mid 90s and can touching 97-98. His secondary pitches need work and he probably is not major league ready. His upside may be low enough that a team doesn’t look to stash him threw his struggles.
- Andrew Pullin – Pullin is a left field only bat with questions about his bat against upper minors pitching, but a team could buy his AA success.