Yesterday, the Phillies added outfielder Zach Collier and right-handed pitchers Ethan Martin, Trevor May, and Jonathan Pettibone to their 40-man roster, protecting them from other teams selecting them in the Rule 5 Draft. The Phillies now have 38 players on the 40-man roster.
Players generally become Rule 5 Draft eligible when not on the 40-man roster and they meet the following condition: a player was signed at age 18 or younger and has accrued five years of Minor League service OR a player was signed at age 19 or older and has accrued four years of Minor League service. Not every player eligible can be protected and every player who meets the above criteria is eligible to be drafted by any other Major League team with room on their own 40-man roster. That team, however, must keep the selected player on their Major League roster for the entire season or either forfeit the player back to the team he was selected from or work out a deal to keep the player and thus demote the player.
The Phillies have had hits, misses, and players claimed from them in the Rule 5 draft. The Phillies have hit big twice in the Rule 5, with Dave Hollins in 1989 and Shane Victorino in 2005. They did OK with David Herndon in 2009’s Rule 5 but swung and missed badly in 2010’s Rule 5. Last year, the Cubs plucked Lendy Castillo from the Phils and kept him on their roster the entire year. Castillo, 23, pitched in just 13 games and posted 7.88 ERA. For a more extensive history of the Phillies and Rule 5, check out this article by Robert Cowie from Phillies Nation.
This year, there were a few notable omissions from being added to the 40-man. Let’s take a look:
Leandro Castro, OF: Castro put up nice numbers in his first go-round at Double-A Reading (.287/.316/.427) but was outplayed by his outfield-mate Tyson Gillies (.304/.369/.453) and Collier has had a fantastic Arizona Fall League Campaign (.371/.461/.532) and is a full year younger. Castro was likely not protected because the Phils already have two similar outfielders in Gillies and Collier in the pipeline and Collier’s toolsy-ness have impressed in the AFL. If Castro does not get claimed, which I would put the odds squarely at 50/50, he may start the year in Triple-A. This is Castro’s second year eligible to be selected.
Jiwan James, OF: James was the third member of the Reading outfield that included Castro and Gillies. It was believed that James may have been taken in last year’s Rule 5 – he was not. James is a similar player to Castro, Collier, and Gillies: a lot of speed, hits for average, and above average defense. Unfortunately, while James had a career high of home runs (6) in his first trip to Double-A Reading, he also had career lows in average (.249), OBP (.291), and SLG (.360) and looked over-matched at times. In his second year of eligibility, James is intriguing but he is unlikely to be claimed.
Julio Rodriguez, P: Rodriguez’s conversion to a starter has had mixed results. After a fantastic 2011 in Clearwater where Rodriguez pitched a career high 156.2 innings, Rodriguez ran out of steam down the stretch in 2012. Rodriguez’s fastball sits in the high 80’s and was hit hard in the Futures Game this year. After the Futures Game, it was downhill for Rodriguez. Rodriguez would be an excellent low-risk, high-reward Rule 5 pick for a team, particularly if the selecting team’s scouting department believes his slowed-down second half was due to fatigue. Of the players left unprotected, Rodriguez may be the Phillies’ Minor Leaguer most likely to be selected.
With 38 of 40 roster spots full, and the Phillies all but guaranteed to sign a veteran outfielder, it begs the question who would go should they sign more than three players to Major League deals. Perhaps of quiet concern, the Phillies only have three catchers on their 40-man roster and Sebastian Valle likely needs more seasoning in Triple-A before joining the Phils, even in an emergency back-up role.
Among other Phils’ Minor League position players that are Rule 5 eligible but are not likely to be taken include infielder Jeremy Barnes (.170/.256/.191 last year across three levels), outfielder Kyle Hudson (.264/.335/.286, 0 HR, 22 for 33 in SB attempts in Triple-A), first baseman Tim Kennelly (.242/.267/.339 across Reading and Lehigh Valley), outfielder Derrick Mitchell (.218/.279/.353, 7 HR at Triple-A), first baseman Cody Overbeck (.249/.307/.408, 14 HR at Triple-A), and shortstop Troy Hanzawa (.249/.296/.322 at Double-A). Pitchers include Michael Cisco (1.80 ERA in 40 appearances across Reading and Lehigh Valley), Chris Kissock (8.87 ERA across two levels), and Drew Naylor (5.18 ERA in 33 IP across three levels).