Though the Phillies did not lose any prospects in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft they did lose three players in the first round of the minor league AAA portion.
We must say goodbye to ground ball reliever Kyle Simon off the Reading roster who picked second in the minor league AAA portion by the Rockies. To the 13th pick by the Indians reliever Delvy Francisco, who throws in the mid to high 90’s. And Peter Lavin who was the 17th pick by the Dodgers. He had double digits in homers, steals and outfield assists. We wish them all well with their new organizations.
It was somewhat surprising that three of the first seventeen picks in the AAA portion of the Rule 5 draft were from the Phillies organization. Only 30 players were selected overall. The Phillies did not make a pick in the minor league portion.
Peter Lavin was a particular favorite of ours because of his unique skill set that he showed last season with Clearwater and Reading. Baseball Betsy and I saw him play at both places as we blogged about him during the season. We were frustrated by the fact he never got a chance with the Phillies especially with their need for competent outfielders at the major league level who could hit, hit with power, run, throw and field. Pete led all outfielders in baseball in outfield assists in 2014 with 21 including 3 as a left fielder, 4 as a right fielder and 14 as a center fielder. On the other hand, the Phillies starting center fielder had only two assists and two homers all season.
As expected the Phillies drafted two of the 14 players picked in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft, middle infielder/outfielder Odubel Herrera and LHP Andy Oliver. Jim Callis of MLBPipeline.com provided the following scouting reports on them:
“Odubel Herrera, 2B/OF, Phillies (from Rangers): He had the best 2014 season of any Rule 5 pick, winning the Texas League batting title at .321/.373/.402 and getting ranked as the Double-A circuit’s best defensive second baseman in a Baseball America survey of managers. Signed out of Venezuela in 2008, the 22-year-old Herrera has natural hitting ability and plus speed, though he doesn’t provide much in the way of power or walks.”
“Andrew Oliver, LHP, Phillies (from Pirates): He signed for an above-slot $1,495,000 as a Tigers second-rounder in 2009 and surfaced in Detroit in his first two pro seasons in 2010 and 2011 but hasn’t been back to the Majors since. Traded to the Pirates for Minor League catcher Ramon Cabrera after the 2012 season, Oliver still throws 93-96 mph but doesn’t have a reliable second pitch and doesn’t throw strikes. He had a 2.53 ERA with 85 strikeouts and 47 walks in 64 Triple-A innings this year at age 23.”
An interesting young pitcher was acquired in the trade with the Pirates for Antonio Bastardo. His name is lefty Joely Rodriguez. His recent strong offseason showings in the Arizona Fall League and the Dominican Winter League shows he might be an impact major league starting pitchers: SEE HERE for the Pirates perspective and video on Rodriguez.
In addition to Bastardo the Phillies have moved Jimmy Rollins. Both of them bring back personal memories. The first time I saw Jimmy play was during the 1999 season for Reading in Harrisburg against the Senators. What struck me was how small he was standing at shortstop that night and how could he ever play at the major league level. Well we know now that he has a shot at the Hall of Fame. That’s why I will never question the potential MLB skill set of a player like Grenny Cumana who is three inches shorter than Rollins.
I first started following Antonio Bastardo when he was a starter for the Clearwater Threshers. Double digit strikeouts were the norm when he pitched there. The first time I saw him pitch in person was again in Harrisburg the next season. I would always make it may business to stand next to the low fence along the left field line there as he warmed up and was amazed by the late life on his fastball. It always reminded of a “riser” from my fast pitch softball days.
When the Rollins deal with the Dodgers is approved, two more young pitching prospects are expected to be acquired by the Phillies. With only 69 days remaining before pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater, we look forward to getting looks in person at the Phillies young pitching “haul” from the 2014 winter meetings.