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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

12/6/23 :  Phillies Rule Five

The Phillies did not take or lose anyone in the major league phase of the 2023 Rule 5 draft.   In the minor league phase the Phillies protected 33 players out of possible maximum of 38.  They lost four players, all pitchers and selected five players, all position players.


Phillies Rule 5 Minor League selections :


C William Simoneit - 27 years old Oakland A’s - AA - signed as an undrafted free agent 6/22/20 - Wake Forest


Hit .237/.326/.387 in 289 plate appearances with 15 doubles, a triple, 7 home runs and 39 RBIs for AA level Midland.  He played mostly first base last season (342 innings) but also caught in 30 games (262 innings).  Has bright red hair.   Collegiately he spent three seasons with Cornell in the Ivy League, then played 2020 for Wake Forest.


C Luis Caicuto - 20 years old - Arizona Diamondbacks - ACL - signed as an international free agent 7/2/19 - Lecheria, Venezuela


Posted a .105 batting average in just 9 games in the ACL last season as was injured however in 2022 posted a .352/.433/.451 slash line in 106 plate appearances with 4 doubles, a triple, home run and 8 RBIs.  He’s regarded as athletic with good overall tools.


C Carson Taylor - 24 years old - Los Angeles Dodgers - AA - 2020 4th round draft selection - Virginia Tech


Left handed hitter - posted a .221/.310/.369 slash line in 281 plate appearances for AA Tulsa in 2023 with 5 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 26 RBIs.  Known as a good defensive catcher.


This was his Baseball America scouting report before the 2020 draft  “A draft-eligible sophomore who’s spent time at catcher, first base and DH for Virginia Tech, Taylor was off to a blistering start in the 2020 season before coronavirus brought things to a halt. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound switch-hitting catcher led the Hokies in most offensive categories and managed a .431/.541/.690 line with 12 walks and five strikeouts. He recorded multiple hits in 7 out of 16 games, and had scouts intrigued as a 6-7 round talent in a typical draft. It will be interesting to see what teams do with Taylor now that the 2020 draft is just five rounds; his eligible-sophomore status could give him more leverage, and his summer track record doesn’t quite stand up to his performance with Virginia Tech. After a strong freshman campaign (.290/.389/.413), Taylor played in 12 games in the Cape Cod League, where he hit just .152/.243/.333. Taylor has more power from the left side and has always shown good plate discipline—he has 32 career walks to 26 strikeouts. Coaches have praised his work behind the dish. College catchers who perform and have the tools to defend are always valuable in the draft, so Taylor could be an interesting late-round selection.”



SS Trevor Schwecke - 25 years old - Toronto Blue Jays - AA - 2019 13th round selection - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Played at both the AA and AAA levels in 2023 - hit .280/.377/.443 with 17 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs and 37 RBIs in 294 plate appearances at AA New Hampshire and. .265/.333/.367 in 49 plate appearances with a home run and 5 RBIs for AAA level Buffalo.   He’s played all four infield positions as well as left and right field in his career and has even pitched a couple innings.  His playing time was pretty evenly split last season between first base (19 games), shortstop (18 games) and right field (20 games) although he saw action in left field (13 games), second base (14 games) and third base (6 games) as well.



1B Bryce Ball - 25 years old - Cleveland Guardians - AA - 2019 24th round draft selection of the Atlanta Braves - Dallas Baptist


He was traded by the Braves to the Cubs on 7/15/21 for Joc Pederson and was released by Chicago on 7/4/23, signed with the Guardians on 7/20/23.  Played for three teams (High A & AA levels) in 2023 and hit .219/.315/.364 in 394 plate appearances with 23 doubles, 9 home runs and 50 RBIs.


In 2020 he was considered a top 30 prospect for the Braves - this is what was written on his MLB bio at that time  “Ball’s home run power started showing up during his sophomore season at North Iowa Community College in 2018 and he brought the pop with him when he transferred to Dallas Baptist. His 18 homers last spring made the Braves take a chance in the 24th round and go above pick value to sign him for $197,500. He rewarded the organization’s faith by hitting 17 more homers and finishing with a 1.023 OPS while reaching full-season ball in his pro debut.


The Braves think they might have a steal in Ball, who has the chance to hit for average and power. The left-handed hitter has tremendous hand-eye coordination at the plate and a good idea of the strike zone, which helps him tap into his ridiculous raw power. The ball doesn’t typically carry in either Danville or Rome, his home parks during his debut, and he made them seem small. He makes consistent hard contact and generally kept his strikeouts low, though the K rate did go up a bit when he made it to the South Atlantic League. He’s not going to scare anyone on the bases, but he’s more athletic than you might think, given his 6-foot-6 frame, and runs decently underway.


Ball is limited to first base and he has work to do there, with some stiff actions defensively. He has good hands and some arm strength, though he’s working to improve his throwing mechanics so he can get to average there. It’s his power bat, though, that has the Braves excited and thinking they have a Day 3 Draft steal on their hands.”


Phillies players taken by other organizations in the minor league Rule 5 draft  :


LHP Rafael Marcano was selected by the Minnesota Twins  - 23 years old - signed as an international free agent 4/25/18 - Punta Cardon, Venezuela


2023 Stats :   appeared in 23 games (20 starts) for High A Jersey Shore posting a 3.95 ERA in 93.1 IP with 97 strikeouts and 42 walks.  He had a 1.36 WHIP averaging 16.16 pitches per innings pitched with a 62 % strike ratio.  It was his second stint with the BlueClaws as he made 10 starts for them in 2022.   Had an outstanding month of August this year winning the organization’s pitcher of the month award - a 1.27 ERA in four starts (21.1  IP) with 24 strikeouts and 7 walks, a 1.03 WHIP - opponents hit just .203 against him in the four games.  Made his first playoff appearance as well starting the 9/15/23 game versus Hudson Valley.


2023 Notes :   uses a five pitch mix - four seam fastball, sinker, cutter, slider & changeup  - he’s comparable in style, delivery and competitiveness to Ranger Suarez.  Rafael threw more innings this season than any other to date in his career.  Fastballs are in a range of 90 to 94 mph - max 95.  Has a fun spirit and welcoming personality, is a popular teammate.  No situation too big for him to handle, smooth repeatable delivery.  Two solid secondary offerings.  Had a good season showing the ability to pitch every week in the rotation, excelled in August.


LHP Keylan Killgore was selected by the Kansas City Royals - 27 years old - drafted in 17th round of the 2018 draft from Wichita State, KS


2023 Stats :   appeared in 46 games (55.1 P) with a 5.20 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 28 walks with AA level Reading.  Posted a 1.57 WHIP, averaged 18.49 pitches per inning pitched and had a 63 % strike ratio.  Pitched multiple innings in 17 of his 46 appearances.  He had two outstanding months (June and July - 2.14 ERA in 21 IP - 17 games) in the middle of the season showing the potential he possesses.


2023 Notes :   Keylan was a workhorse for the Fightins and for a good part of the season was the only left-hander in the Reading bullpen.  This was his first full year of game play back from Tommy John surgery (appeared in just 10 games in 2022 with the FCL Phillies, Threshers and BlueClaws) after missing the entire 2021 season.  We got to chat a bit while he was with the rehab team at the Complex during his recovery work, very intelligent young man.  He features a fastball, change up and slider with the heater generally in the 92-94 mph range, knows how to pitch and never turns down taking the baseball.


RHP Carlos Betancourt was selected by the Houston Astros - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent 7/2/17 - Cumana, Venezuela


2023 Stats :  very solid year - 3.69 regular season ERA for High A Jersey Shore in 39 appearances, 78 IP with 92 K’s, 33 walks, .229 BAA, 1.29 WHIP, 62 % strike ratio, averaged 16.92 pitches per innings pitched.  Better in the second half posting a 3.03 ERA in 38 2/3 IP as opposed to a 4.35 first half ERA in 39 1/3 IP.  Had an outstanding month of August - 1.26 ERA in 8 games (14 1/3 IP) with 18 K’s and 6 walks - a BAA of .173 and a WHIP of 1.05.  Pitched an additional 2 2/3 innings in the playoffs.


2023 Notes :  Carlos was the epitome of the bulk reliever this past summer, he made thirty multi-inning appearances. He is also pitching for Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League in his fourth consecutive season.  We initially saw him on the backfields where he spent his first four years in the GCL and FCL before being assigned to the Threshers last summer.  He will throw a four pitch mix (four seam FB, Slider, Curve & Changeup) with the fastball generally in the 91 to 93 mph range but flashing at times as high as 95 to 96.  He’s got strikeout capabilities. Loves to pitch and will take the ball every time he’s asked, added a sinker to his pitch arsenal during the year but used it sporadically.


RHP Blake Brown was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays - 25 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 6/18/20 - UNC Asheville


2023 Stats :  did not play in 2023 - spent the entire season at the Complex with the rehab group working back from ankle surgery.   Hasn’t pitched for two years - last appearance was 9/18/21 for Reading vs Binghamton.


2023 Notes :  we saw him in side sessions early in the year (April) and then was shut down for a bit.  When he’s healthy has shown the capability to register his fastball in the triple digits and sit consistently in the upper 90’s.  Suffered an Achilles injury and missed the entire 2022 and 2023 seasons - continues to work with the rehab group in Clearwater.


Best wishes to all the players in their new opportunities.


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️



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