On the last day of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 draft. The Rule 5 draft is an exciting time because it is essentially free major league talent. However, since the rules have been changed to add an extra year of protection the talent available has dropped steeply. The Rule 5 draft still offers two main types of players, the first are low upside players who can fill the last spot on a roster for very cheap, the second type are higher upside players who likely have not been above A-ball that will need to be hidden on a roster for at least a year. The Phillies have had mixed success over the year with their most recent selections who have stuck of Shane Victorino, David Herndon, and Michael Martinez.
Phillies Select Ender Inciarte (22) CF from Arizona Diamondbacks:
Inciarte, a 2008 Latin American signee, finished up 2012 on the Diamondbacks Hi-A affiliate. He has shown good plate discipline without high strikeout rates (some can be attributable to repeating a level and then the Cal League). At the plate he has a small bit of power, enough to have it above a 20 tool but not a ton. He is quick on the bases with a good base running instinct. In the field his speed plays up allowing him to be a very good defensive CF. He will be overmatched at the plate so his chance of sticking depends on his ability to be a defensive replacement in all three OF positions. His ceiling is likely as a 4th OF if everything breaks right.
No Phillies were selected in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft
5 Potential Picks:
The player pool that the Phillies could look at is immense but I am going to stick to five players that have piqued my interest. Looking at the Phillies’ roster there are some places that do not make sense for a Rule 5 pick. Of the potential picks there are a good amount of 1B/OF players, however with Darin Ruf it is very unlikely the Phillies would carry a redundant player. There is little chance that the Phillies take an outfielder at all in the draft, if past experience is an indication of the future the Phillies take players who will fit a certain need and role on the team.
Jason Haggerty – Catcher – San Diego
A month ago there would be no chance that the Phillies would bring Haggerty in, but with Ruiz’s suspension there is a chance that the Phillies choose to get an extended look at Haggerty for the first month of the season. Haggerty is ok behind the plate but he is not a liability. At the plate Haggerty has a good approach with some good pop but did not show his full potential in 2012 while slowed by injuries. It is unlikely that Haggerty is even available at the Phillies pick but this is a pick that might make sense with Ruiz out.
Jefry Marte – 3B – Mets
Marte is limited to an infield corner but is passable defensively at third base. He was once a highly touted prospect, he regained some of his former allure in 2012. He is only 21 years old and to this point as mashed left handed pitching making him redundant with Kevin Frandsen, but if the Phillies were looking for a different platoon partner at third base they could give Marte a look as someone who could platoon in a few years with a player like Cody Asche.
Kenny Faulk – LHP – Tigers
Faulk is a lefty specialist who’s fastball sits in the low 90s, he has good a slider, and usable changeup. He has held lefties in check but he has been hit around by righties. If the Phillies think that Diekman needs time and they would like a LOOGY they could do much worse than giving Faulk a chance.
Josh Fields – RHP – Red Sox
Fields is a 27 year old fireballing reliever who has a fastball who runs it up to 97 mph. He is a polished product who has pitched in AAA. He is on the old side but he is a major league ready middle reliever, the Phillies could take a look at him if he is still on the board as another arm to have in camp to compete with their collection of hard throwing right handed relievers.
John Keck – LHP – Royals
Keck is a power throwing lefty with a fastball in the mid 90s and a pair of breaking balls of which the slider is a better pitch. He has some command issues but he does attack hitters rather than nibbling. He likely has less upside than Diekman but the Phillies could bring him in to see what he can do in big league camp.
5 Phillies who could get picked:
The Phillies often have a player picked in the draft, often a raw reliever from the lower minors. Here are five Phillies prospects not named Leandro Castro or Jiwan James that could have their name called and why they could be selected.
Julio Rodriguez – RHP
Up until 2012, Rodriguez had some of the best numbers in the system. Rodriguez’s fastball is poor, rarely topping 90 mph, but he has a good change up and a big loopy curveball that misses bats, his best pitch though is a plus cutter that has below average velocity but great movement. Rodriguez has been able to miss bats, even when he was struggling, but he is not a prototypical soft tossing control pitcher. A team could see Rodriguez has a #5 starter, but more likely a team thinks that they can get his stuff to play up in the bullpen and that he can continue to develop there.
Austin Hyatt – RHP
If you need a 5th starter or long man with no upside and want to pay him to minimum than Hyatt is your player. Hyatt has a below average fastball that sits 88-92, he pairs that with a plus change up and a passable breaking ball. He has a good feel for pitching and can miss bats. If a non-contending team (like the Twins) is looking to fill out their rotation without spending money or prospects than they can count on Hyatt to make his starts.
Juan Sosa – RHP
Sosa fits the profile of a low minors reliever who has a great arm. His fastball sits plus throwing anywhere from 94-97 with a plus curveball and he has a good idea of how to use them. There is a good chance that a team with a bullpen spot takes Sosa and hopes that they can have his stuff play against big league hitters. For the Phillies he is behind their host of right handed relief pitchers but it is never good to lose an arm like Sosa.
Edgar Duran – SS
Teams are always in need of players who can stick at shortstop long term. Duran is not much right now but there is a chance that he may be able to be average at the plate based on the flashes he showed in Clearwater and has been showing in Winter ball and a shortstop who is average in the field and at the plate is a major league regular. Even if a team has to hide him for a year and then send him back down for a year or two, he could be worth it if he develops. The reason that Duran is likely to go unselected is that he would not provide anything in 2013 and there is a chance that a year without regular reps will permanently derail his development.
Colby Shreve – RHP
Shreve is the relief version of the low upside back end starter. Shreve has a relativity low floor and he can generate a large amount of ground balls, but his ceiling is mitigated by his lack of strikeout stuff. Shreve could be selected if a team is desperate to fill out a bullpen with a minimum salary player.
At the end of the day the Rule 5 draft does not win a championship but it can provide a useful piece that can save a team money down the road. Not every player is a star but serviceable major league player is a very valuable commodity. That and it is fun to speculate.