The off-season is moving along and it’s almost time for “Hot Stove” excitement. With the Phillies not expected to be a major factor in the MLB free agent market, their time to shine at next week’s Winter Meetings will likely come in the annual Rule 5 draft.
Last December the Phils selected Odubel Herrera, in the 9th slot, from Texas and the youngster proved to be a talented contributor for the team in a clear rebuild mode. As a 23-year-old big league rookie, Herrera tallied a .297 average with eight home runs and 16 stolen bases.
Selecting first this year, the Phillies have a chance to really utilize their professional scouting department and take another player ready to impact a big league roster. Positionally, the spots to target may be the outfield or pitching, with depth or a lineup slot locked up in just about every other place on the roster.
With their eyes on finding another Herrera, some players the Phils should be considering are listed below:
Jabari Blash, OF with Seattle. Originally an 8th round pick in 2010, Blash was eligible last year but was not selected in the Rule 5 draft. Following a 2015 in which he slammed 32 homers and OPS’d at .946 in 116 combined games at Double-A and Triple-A, the righty hitter should expect to find a new opportunity next week. The 26-year-old is said to be a plus defender as well.
Tyler Goeddel, OF with Tampa Bay. The 23-year-old was selected 41st overall by the Rays in 2011. The righty batting Goeddel sported a .279 average with 12 home runs, 72 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 123 games for Double-A Montgomery. He was converted from third base to the outfield following the 2014 season.
Teoscar Hernandez, OF with Houston. The 23-year-old is a power-speed combo guy that struggled with his average last season at the Double-A level. In 121 games, the righty hitting Dominican native sported a .219 average with 17 homers and 33 steals.
Corey Black, pitcher with the Cubs. The right-hander was a 4th round pick in the 2012 draft. Last season with Double-A Tennessee, Black moved the a relief role, where he tallied a 7.09 ERA in 28 games. Despite that weak output, scouts see the 24-year-old’s fastball-slider combination as having potential for a big league bullpen.
Luis Perdomo, pitcher with St. Louis. The Dominican born righty touts a fastball in the mid-90’s. This past season in 23 games combined at Class A Peoria and Class A Advanced Palm Beach Perdomo posted a 6-12 record with a 3.98 ERA and an 8.4 K/9 mark.
Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft when they are not on their major league organization’s 40 man roster and 1) were signed to a contract at age 19 or older and have been in that organization for four years, OR 2) were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in that organization for five years.
Regulations in the big league portion of the Rule 5 draft require the selecting team to keep the drafted player on its 25-man big league roster for the entire following season, or offer him back to the team he was drafted from.
Phillies players that could draw the most interest by other teams include hurler Alberto Tirado and outfielder Carlos Tocci. Tirado, a right-hander acquired from Toronto in this year’s Ben Revere trade, who throws serious heat, could interest some clubs, but the 20-year-old hasn’t pitched above Class A Advanced. The age and experience detractors also apply to Tocci, who is also 20 and reached high A Clearwater this year. The Phils clearly feel both talents wouldn’t be suited for big league competition next year and they are banking that other teams won’t have the patience to let either man occupy a big league roster spot until he’s worthy of it.
This year’s Rule 5 draft will take place in Nashville, TN on Thursday, December 10th.