Rule 5 Preview: Who to Pick?

Last week we looked at the team roster and the past few Rule 5 drafts.  Today lets look at players available and later this week we will take one last look at what the Phillies have left exposed in the draft.

Some quick stats to keep in mind:

  • Since 2004 only 4 position players who were drafted and kept by picking team have become major league regulars; Shane Victorino (2004), Dan Uggla (2005), Josh Hamilton (2006), and Everth Cabrera (2008)
  • Over that same time period only two starting pitchers drafted stayed as starters, but for R.A. Dickey and Miguel Gonzalez that would come 3+ years after they were drafted.  In other words, pitchers taken and kept in the Rule 5 draft virtually never stay as starting pitchers

Keep these things in mind throughout the process:

  • The major league bench was 5 spots, 1 must play catcher, 1 must play SS, 1 must play 2B
  • You are giving up a roster spot, that may mean giving up a player or the opportunity to acquire a player
  • A player will not get the ABs or IPs they would need for development
  • The player either needs to contribute to the major league teams or you need to accept playing with a smaller roster
  • What is the end goal?
  • Someone else deemed them not worthy of a 40 man roster spot.


Delino DeShields – 2B/OF – Houston Astros
DeShields is the player that has Phillies fans drooling, and I really don’t get it.  DeShields has 1st pedigree, in theory plays up the middle, and has elite speed, so what is the problem.  For me it is the construct of the Rule 5 draft.  DeShields would be a zero for the Phillies in 2015 meaning that taking him makes you operate with a 24 man roster and 4 man bench all year.  The cynical fan asks what this means for the Phillies, who are supposedly rebuilding, what it means is the possibility that the majors league time for Maikel Franco, Domonic Brown, Cody Asche, Aaron Altherr, and Kelly Dugan (all of which I think have a better chance at impacting the Phillies future) all could be lessen for a player whose likely outcome is utility infielder.  I get the obsession with speed and name value, but I don’t see DeShields after missing a year of ABs being worth the roster problems he would cause for this team.

Honestly I could keep going into hitters, but the long list of 2B/SS players are lesser players than Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez who are out of minor league options, and I would to see them carry the middle infielders.  This leaves the Phillies with a bit of a roster crunch.  The only hitter I could see them go is towards a backup catcher to compete with Cameron Rupp in spring training.



Jarlin Garcia – LHP – Miami Marlins
As we saw earlier the history of starting pitchers staying starting pitchers in the Rule 5 draft is sketchy at best.  The type of players available coupled with the lost development ends up either ending prospect status or sending a pitcher to the bullpen.  Garcia is intriguing for his stuff because he is projectable, has good control, a low 90s fastball.  He lacks a 3rd pitch and after only a year of low-A the command and feel for pitching is well below major league needs.  But with the fastball, Garcia could settle into a lefty reliever role as a fall back option.

Jed Bradley – LHP – Milwaukee Brewers
Bradley is my personal favorite outside the box pick for the Rule 5 draft.  Bradley has lost all the shine that came with being the 15th overall pick in the 2011 draft as he now sits in the low 90s, with fringe control.  He has a three pitch mix, but the most intriguing part is that he put up a 64.7% ground ball rate in 2014.  He pitched 147.1 innings last year and could hold up to the starter’s workload.  I would like to see the Phillies take him and put him in the major league rotation to see if he can be a #5 starter.  If not they can save money and offer him back when Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan, Adam Loewen, or Severino Gonzalez is ready to step into the major league rotation.  Given the price of starting pitching it may be an interesting gamble.


Edgar de la Rosa – RHP – Detroit Tigers
We now enter the part of our program where it is all about gas.  Edgar regularly pitches with a 70 fastball and can routinely get it up to 100.  The 23 year old pitched as a starter this year and didn’t miss many bats in the Florida State League, while walking a fair share.  Given the Phillies recent success with hard throwers and teaching them sliders, a pitcher like de la Rosa could slide into a mop up role due to his starting experience while continuing to learn.  Despite the strength of the Phillies bullpen, there should be plenty of innings to go around.

Jandel Gustave – RHP – Houston Astros
Another massive fastball on a starter who won’t be a starter for long.  Gustave has not gotten above low-A, and his control has gone from non-existent to just poor.  There are secondaries to work with, but they are nowhere near major league viable.  He is another guy the Phillies could stash at the back of a bullpen to give meaningless innings to.  Gustave has shown he can hold his velocity over time so there is a chance you throw him back in a rotation to at very least make up for lost time.

Gregory Infante – RHP – Toronto Blue Jays
Rinse and repeat, another RHP with a big fastball.  Infante is older (27) with a better track record and better results.  Infante feels like a move for a team looking for a middle reliever right now and less of a move for a team like the Phillies who might look to integrate another power arm into the impressive group already gathered.  However, given their success with transforming players a bit later in careers like Luis Garcia, Nefi Ogando, and to lesser extent Jake Diekman, it is hard to overlook Infante as an option if the Phillies want a power arm.

Andrew McKirahan – LHP – Chicago Cubs
Another power arm, this one from the left side and more plus than the plus plus to elite seen above.  Since coming back from Tommy John McKirahan has shown good control and effectiveness about batters of both sides.  If the Phillies move Bastardo and aren’t enamored with Arauz, Hollands, or Jiminez getting handed the high leverage innings out of camp the Phillies could look at McKirahan as he offers a better rounded profile than the pure LOOGY options available.

Rafael De Paula – RHP – San Diego Padres
De Paula was once a well regarded starting pitcher for the Yankees, and headlined their deal for Chase Headley.  However the arsenal just has not moved forward.  De Paula will be 24 to start the 2015 season but his delivery has questions, his control is bad, and he lacks a real second pitch.  There is arm strength here and good movement on the fastball.  The team taking De Paula is hoping that the move to the bullpen will help alleviate the issues he was seeing in the rotation.  If the short bursts helps deal with the control issues and the fastball ticks up some, he could have the highest relief ceiling available, but it may also come with plenty of inconsistency.

Image by Tom Hagerty

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman
Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.


  1. Romus

    I am on board with Deshields.
    I like his compactness in body build , 5’9″ and 205 lbs plus, with the great speed, and he has some pop in his bat. And the jump from AA to the MLB can be negated in selected situations.
    His speed plays well in a corner OF position and also CF.
    He is a start to the future for youth.
    As for 25-spot, he can be IRed during the season, up to 90 days I believe…..and is this team set to compete in 2015 for a play-off spot as it is composed now!
    Will he be there at the 7th pick…who knows.
    Will the current GM select him…another big question mark since he talks pitching needs more then hitting needs.

  2. Frank

    Very nice write up Matt! I think your are 100% right on DeShields it would make no sence to pick him and keep on the 25 men roster. And you didn’t even mention that there are concerns about the make-up.

  3. PHack?

    I’m all for the acquisition of DeLino DeShiellds . In fact, I would bribe Arizona with cash to move to the 1st pick in the Rule 5, so he does not get away.
    Playing time, I don’t see the issue. As of now, it looks like they will foolishly stick with, or be stuck with , Domonic Brown and Ben Revere. I suspect it is because no one else would take them as a gift, and the organization being too cheap to non-tender them and risk losing what they consider to be assets.
    So, if you assume Revere in CF, Brown in LF, Grady Sizemore backing up both, and either Marlon Byrd and/or someone else in RF, that leaves a spot.
    I don’t think anyone that is a 5th OF type would get a whole lot of playing time in that scenario, anyways. Even if DeShields is so bad , in the scant playing time he would get to cause the desire for a replacement, Rule 5 selection is not some sacred trust with an unbreakable bond, you could simply offer him back, and you lose $25,000. On the other hand, you can get the chance of “upside” and it is possible DeShields’ numbers last season were negatively impacted by him having his face broke by a baseball, which was really the cause of missing time.

    If unaffected by imminent team moves , I would also select a back-up Catcher with the 10th pick. I would go: Steven Baron, Brian Ward, Roberto Pena, or Jose Briceno. Players like that , maybe in that order. I consider Rupp to be of negligible regard for future planning, along with several of the OF’s mentioned.

    • Romus

      Deshields is ranked the 6th best position player in the Astro’s prospect org by MLB.
      Now the caveat in that is, that the Astro’s farm system was ranked in the top ten, but that was prior to promotion to MLB status of Singleton and Springer this past season.
      Now I do not know where they would be ranked.