On the last day of the Winter Meetings, Major League Baseball holds the Rule 5 Draft. Always held in December at the Meetings, the draft allows teams to select players from other clubs that are not on their 40-man roster and have at least four years of minor league experience. The player selected must remain on the selecting team’s 25-man roster for the entire season. If not, that player goes back to his original club, or a trade can be arranged between the original and selecting clubs.
Some guys happen to work out as a Rule 5 pick, and others don’t. More often than not, Rule 5 selections don’t pan out. That sentiment holds true for the Phils, but they have reaped the benefits of this draft in more ways than one.
Last year, the Phils plucked Tyler Goeddel from the Tampa Bay Rays. Goeddel, the first selection of the Rule 5 Draft, had a career minor league slash line of .262/.337/.403. The 23-year-old knocked in 72 runs, belted 12 homers, and swiped 28 bags in 2015 for double-A Montgomery.
When looking at Goeddel’s numbers this year, sure, it looks like he was was a bust. But Goeddel showed some signs of belonging on a major league roster, especially early in the year when Pete Mackanin gave the rookie regular playing time.
Since Goeddel stayed with the big club for all of 2016, the Phils now have his rights, and he’ll likely continue his career in the Phils minor league system.
In 2015, the Phillies stumbled upon an infielder from the Texas Rangers organization, now center fielder and all-star Odubel Herrera. The 24-year-old made his presence known right from the jump as a Phillie.
Herrera’s versatility as a hitter allows him to hit anywhere in the lineup. His eye at the plate and speed make him a table-setter at the top of a lineup. The quiet pop Herrera has in his bat can also translate into an RBI spot, hitting both third and fifth, something Mackanin tried often this past season. Herrera’s fate with the team looks to be unclear as of now, but what isn’t unclear is Herrera’s talent.
The Phils made another promising selection in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft by taking Ender Inciarte. Inciarte didn’t play a single game with the Phillies. In April 2013, he was returned to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a higher pick in the June draft.The Phils let Inciarte get away, as he has a career .292 batting average in three big-league seasons.
Probably the best pick the Phils have made in the Rule 5 would be Shane Victorino, from the Dodgers organization. We all know the Flyin’ Hawaiian’s history as a Phillie – he hit a career .279 for the Phils in in parts of eight seasons, contributing in that elusive World Series championship back in 2008. Victorino is a career .275 hitter with a .340 on-base percentage. He won World Series rings in ’08 and 2013 for the Red Sox. Not bad for a Rule-Fiver.
Still, the Rule 5 doesn’t often work out. Along with Goeddel in 2015, the Phils chose left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf, which went from bad to worse in a hurry. Stumpf appeared in three games in 2016 before being slapped with an 80-game suspension for PEDs. In seven total appearances, Stumpf had an ERA over 10.00 and was returned to the Kansas City Royals.
Other choices the Phils have made recently include the great Michael Martinez back in 2010 (.187/.234/.261 with the Phils over three seasons), Kevin Munson (2013), Robert Mosebach (2008), Lincoln Holdzkom (2007), Ryan Budde (2006), and Jim Ed Warden (2006).
This year’s Rule 5 Draft is Thursday. We’ll have more on who the Phils might want to target in the draft Wednesday.