It was good to see that Phillies top pitching prospects Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan and Nefi Ogando added to the 40 man roster and protected from the Rule Five draft. They deserved it and it will be good to see them pitch in the Phillies major league spring training camp.
Phillies minor league starting pitcher Colin Kleven was not protected. He would be my choice for another organization to draft in Rule 5. It would cost them only $50,000 to take a chance on a starting pitcher who will pitch at baseball age 23 next season. I project his top side in a MLB rotation as 4th or 5th starting pitcher. All another team has to do is draft him on December 11th, send the Phillies $50,000, keep him on their 25 man major league roster for a full season or work out a deal with the Phillies. That MLB team won’t be disappointed in the lean lanky 6’5″ right-hander.
Kleven averaged better than a strike out an inning in August for the Clearwater Threshers and came back strong from a back injury which sidelined his career in 2013. As Baseball Betsy and I watched him, he kept getting stronger as the 2014 season went on. He throws hard and kept the ball in the park. Had he kept pitching in September he would have been even better than he was in his final starts with the Threshers. He went 4-3 over his final 10 starts in July and August for a team that finished 40 games under .500 which was weak defensively and had an ineffective bullpen all season.
The Phillies have struggled recently in the Rule Five drafts: keeping the likes of Michael Martinez while sending back Ender Inciarte and Kevin Munson. Inciarte is now the Arizona Diamondback starting centerfielder and we saw a great arm in Phillies spring training. He hit .276 this past season and then finished fifth in N.L. ROY voting. Munson was just added to the Diamondbacks 40 man roster after striking out 82 in 62 innings at AAA. But they were not good enough for the Phillies to use up a 25 man roster spot in the last two years.
The Phillies are under the 40-man roster limit so they can draft one or two players in the Rule Five draft but as Inciarte and Munson have shown that is no guarantee any player drafted will make the team. Now, the Phils Front Office says they are in a rebuilding mode so they will be more likely to hold on to a Rule Five pick to prove their point.