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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/12/22 : Upcoming Rule 5 Draft

The roster addition deadline to protect minor league players from the rule 5 draft has been announced as November 15th this year.   Players are eligible for the draft if they are not on their team’s 40-man roster and have been contracted for at least four minor league seasons if they were either 19 or older the year they signed or have been contracted for at least five minor league seasons if they were 18 or younger the year they signed their first professional contract.

All non-40 man roster players meeting the above eligibility requirements are available in the major-league portion of the draft. Those eligible players not added to the MLB 40 man roster or to a team’s offseason Triple-A roster are available for the minor-league portion.

If a player is selected by another organization in the major league portion of the draft they must remain on the active 26 man big league roster for the entire 2023 season else be offered back to the team they were selected from.  If a player is selected in the minor league portion of the draft there is no roster provision - such player can be placed on any minor league roster.  Both drafts are held on the last day of the winter meetings.

There’s only one lock in my opinion that needs to be added to the Phillies 40 man roster else he would definitely be selected by another organization and that is OF Johan Rojas -he’s 22 years old - signed 1/18/18 as an international free agent from San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic.  Johan has elite speed, swiped a total of 75 bases in 80 attempts this past season between High A Jersey Shore, AA Reading and the Arizona Fall League.  He is also an outstanding defender in center field, there’s seemingly no fly ball he can’t get to plus he has an exceptional throwing arm.   Routes and reads off the bat are top drawer.  Offensively he excelled in the Arizona Fall League against top level competition posting a .310 batting average and .423 OBP in 52 plate appearances.  His bat to ball skills and eye hand coordination are excellent - it’s a no brainer that he’s added to the 40 man roster.

Johan Rojas in Arizona Fall League

Here’s a look at seven players other teams might consider in the draft if not protected.

RHP McKinley Moore - 24 years old - acquired in a trade with the White Sox on 3/29/22 in exchange for OF Adam Haseley.   McKinley pitched for AA level Reading in 2022 appearing in 39 games ( 49 2/3 IP ) posting 71 K’s while walking 26.  He’s a high velocity reliever.  He’s capable of upper nineties heat and has a hard and sharp breaking slider to go along with it.  Issues have been control and command for the 6’6” hurler.  His 4.35 ERA at Reading matches his career mark of 4.39 over 112 IP.  The question to be asked is whether the stuff at this point in his career is worthy of a big league spot given the struggle to throw strikes consistently and command the zone.

RHP Andrew Schultz - 25 years old - selected in the 6th round of the 2019 draft from the University of Tennessee. - Hitting triple digits with the fastball is something Andrew has done regularly both in college and in his career as a professional.  In August of 2020 he underwent Tommy John surgery which caused him to miss the 2021 season but he returned to full time action this past summer - 45 relief appearances between High A Jersey Shore and AA Reading - 44 2/3 IP - 4.03 ERA - 62 K’s - 34 BB.  He has a short arm delivery where the baseball gives the appearance to the hitter of getting to the plate even quicker - that’s huge when the velocity is already in the upper nineties to 100 mph range to begin with.  When he’s able to repeat his mechanics and stay in the strike zone Andrew can dominate hitters.  The slider is a put away weapon - as the summer progressed he got a better feel for it.  Question for teams to consider if left unprotected by the Phillies is whether his struggles with command and control out weigh the triple digit heat - does it warrant a current big league roster spot.

RHP Brett Schulze - 24 years old - 2019 seventh round draft selection - University of Minnesota - He’s a power pitcher with his fastball sitting in the mid nineties - he has shown the ability to reach the upper ranges - tightened up his initial secondary offering to being more of a hard slider than slurve but still has a curve ball in reserve to use against lefties.  Brett pitched very well during his return year this season from Tommy John surgery - after August 1st he was particularly strong - a 1.72 ERA in 15 2/3 IP between High A Jersey Shore and AA Reading.  In the Arizona Fall League he posted a 1.08 ERA in 8 appearances ( 8 1/3 IP ) with 10 K’s but also 6 walks - control was a bit erratic.  First year back from TJ - 30 games overall - 34 IP - question is whether a team would take a chance on the “stuff” playing over a full season of play in 2023 at the big league level.

LHP Erik Miller - 24 years old - 2019 4th round draft selection - Stanford - Erik posted a 3.54 ERA in 32 games ( 48 1/3 IP )  between AA Reading and AAA Lehigh Valley with 62 K’s and 31 BB. He’s been converted to a full time reliever and will remain in that role - previous shoulder issues/concerns forced the transition.  Erik is now considered fully healthy - it’s a recurring theme but his issues to date have been command and control and that pattern continued in 2022 with a 2.00 K/BB ratio.   When he’s able to throw strikes the stuff certainly plays - his fastball posts as high as 98 mph and generally sits between 93 to 95.  He throws both a sinker and four seam fastball with a curve, slider and change up as secondaries. The question whether a team would select him in the draft or not is again whether they perceive that command and control can be harnessed consistently to allow for the stuff to play.  I’m on the fence whether taking a risk of exposing him to the draft is warranted or not - hard throwing lefty relievers are certainly highly valued.

RHP Cristian Hernandez - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent 7/9/17 - He has a three pitch mix with the fastball generally sitting 91 to 94 mph, flashing a bit higher along with a curve and changeup.  Opened the year with Jersey Shore as part of the starting rotation but wasn’t effective prompting a move to the pen initially as a bulk reliever.  The role change resulted in success as he posted a 1.54 ERA in six July appearances ( 11 2/3 IP ) with a focus on simplicity in both approach and mix.  Over the course of the remaining season Cristian yielded no runs in 15 of his 19 relief appearances.  Success continued in the Arizona Fall League where he posted a sparkling 0.82 ERA in 8 appearances ( 11 IP ) with 11 K’s and only one walk.  He was selected to the league’s all-star game and pitched a scoreless inning striking out two batters.   Has yet to pitch above the High A level which would be the consideration if a team were to choose him in the draft.

LHP Ethan Lindow - 24 years old - 2017 5th round draft selection - Locust Grove High School , GA - Ethan is the ultimate command and control artist - his fastball velocity is generally lower nineties but he gets excellent pitch movement and deception as all of his deliveries come out of the same arm slot - fastball, slider, change up and curve.  The change up is a put away pitch.  He posted a 3.70 combined ERA in 27 appearances ( 19 starts ) with High A Jersey Shore and AA Reading amassing 116 2/3 IP with 98 K’s and 30 BB. In his career he’s pitched 410 innings with 396 K’s and 105 BB ( 3.77 K/BB ratio ).  The term “crafty lefty” used to be a recurring phrase in pro baseball and I remember the likes of Randy Jones, Randy Wolf, etc that had quite a bit of success in their big league careers.  Question teams will ask if considering Ethan in the draft is whether there’s still room in the game for craftsmanship and the “soft tossing lefty” 🧐.

OF/1B Carlos De La Cruz - 22 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 8/23/17 from Yonkers, New York - Carlos had his best season in 2022 posting 22 doubles, 17 home runs and 47 RBIs in 102 games between High A Jersey Shore and AA Reading.  He also played very well in the Arizona Fall League where he produced a .307/.368/.516 slash line in 68 plate appearances with 3 home runs and 14 RBI’s.   Carlos is 6’8” and very athletic - has played all three outfield positions in his brief pro career to date and late in this past season added first base to the mix.   When we first saw him hit on the backfields multiple folks remarked how the ball jumps off his bat - it makes that special baseball loud sound that results from the barreling of the ball on the sweet spot.  He can drive baseballs high and deep into the sky.  His relative inexperience at the upper levels coupled with a transition to a new position might be pause for other clubs to consider him in the draft.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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