The MLB Winter Meetings haven't resulted in much excitement for Phillies fans thus far, but Thursday's Rule 5 draft could have some bearing on the team's near future, if the Phils have their way.
Phillies Rule 5 selections in recent years that ended up being returned to their original teams include Ender Inciarte (2012) and Kevin Munson (2013). Players that remained with the Phils for the entire following season in recent years include Michael Martinez (2010) and David Herndon (2009).
Righty hurler Seth Rosin was taken from the Phillies in last December's Rule 5 draft and was returned to the organization after officially being property of three different teams in the interim time.
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.
Three minor league pitchers were recently added to the Phils' 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Those hurlers were lefties Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan and right-hander Nefi Ogando.
Players that could draw interest from other teams this week...
OF Zach Collier- The Phils' first round (34th overall) selection from 2008 hasn't shown a great amount of consistency, but a torrid stretch in August for Double-A Reading this year kept him afloat in the eyes of some. Overall in 86 games for the Fightins last season, the 23-year-old sported a .240 average with a career high nine homers and 29 RBI. In 552 career games, Collier has a .241/.313/.359 slash line. A solid defender, Collier's ceiling may be a big league reserve, but isn't going to be ready for that assignment next season, based on what he showed in 2014.
RHP Colton Murray- The Phils' 13th round draft choice from 2011 had a bit of a breakout year in 2013, posting a 3-7 record with eight saves, a 2.23 ERA and a 9.0 K/9 mark in 47 outings combined for Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Murray, a reliever who regularly clocks his fastball in the mid-90's, also participated in the Arizona Fall League, where he tallied a 0-2 record with a 4.91 ERA in 11 appearances. Murray has a future on the big leagues...whether that's as a "Quadruple-A" injury filler or if he can hold a steady role depends on his progression. Regardless of that uncertainty, he's likely the individual on this list that has the best shot at holding a big league roster spot for the entire 2015 season.
1B/C/LF/3B Willians Astudillo- The Venezuelan posted a .333 average with Class A Lakewood this year, which placed second in the Sally League. The 23-year-old slammed four homers and drove in 61 in 117 games last season. Astudillo, who missed 2013 with an injury, makes great contact and is aggressive at the plate. There isn't a player out there that enjoys himself at the ballpark on a daily basis more than Astudillo and his love for the game is reflected in his output. His ceiling might not be an everyday big leaguer, but he could be a contributor at the upper levels.
Other eligible Phils players include infielder Carlos Alonso and outfielder Peter Lavin, who coaches have told me should see big league time in their futures. In an organization with upper level minor league infield and outfield depth, perhaps another team's front office giving one of these guys a break is what they need.
More eligible names: RHP Kyle Simon, RHP Perci Garner, 1B/3B Harold Martinez, RHP Mike Nesseth, RHP Tyler Knigge and LHP Ethan Stewart. Rosin is also available once more.
Expect the Phillies to be in the market for help on the mound. Statistically, nearly two-thirds of picks made in recent years have been hurlers and you know the way the saying goes...a team can never have too much pitching.
Names worth considering...
RHP Mychal Givens. The 24-year-old was a 2nd round pick in 2009. He has plus velocity and mixes his offerings very well with a deceiving delivery. In 36 games combined with Class A Advanced and Double-A this year, Givens posted a 1-2 record with three saves, a 3.53 ERA, a .189 BAA and an 8.43 K/9 mark.
RHP Greg Infante. The 24-year-old, who stands six-foot-eight, has clocked triple digits with his fastball. As a starter in Class A Advanced this year, Infante posted a 7-9 record with a 3.30 ERA, a .230 BAA and a 5.89 K/9 mark.. He would project as a reliever in the upper levels.
LHP Patrick Schuster. The 24-year-old was the top pick in last year's Rule 5 draft and is eligible again. Combined in 57 games at Double-A and Triple-A this year, Schuster, who was a 13th round draft choice in 2009, sported a 3-2 record with a 3.02 ERA, a .213 BAA and a 7.86 K/9 mark. He is touted as a lefty specialist.
RHP Jandel Gustave. A 22-year-old, the Dominican native hasn't pitched above Class A, but with a high-90's fastball, he might be worth the risk for a team that's not a contender next year. In 23 games (14 starts) in the A level Midwest League last year, Gustave tallied a 5-5 record along with a 5.01 ERA, a .289 BAA and a 9.34 K/9 mark.
Keep it locked here on Thursday for updates on any additions and subtractions resulting from this year's Rule 5 draft.
*An earlier version of this post with details on an extra pick awarded
from the Cubs, referenced those details in error. That grievance was in
fact decided last year. The Phillies elected not to use that pick at that time.