Phillies Mishandled Rule 5 Pick Tyler Goeddel in 2016

Jun 29, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Tyler Goeddel against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 29, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Tyler Goeddel against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phillies saw enough potential in Tyler Goeddel to select him in the Rule 5 draft, but the way they handled him in 2016 would indicate otherwise.

The Phillies stumbled onto a gem when they selected Odubel Herrera in the Rule 5 draft in 2014, so the team figured they would take another crack at finding a diamond in the rough the next year. They used their first overall selection in the 2015 Rule 5 draft to select outfielder Tyler Goeddel from the Rays.

The Rays left Goeddel unprotected despite him producing quite respectable numbers in Double-A during the 2015 season. He finished the year with a .279/.350/.433 line along with 12 home runs, 72 RBI, and 28 stolen bases in 123 games. Goeddel did all this while moving from third base to the outfield where he could apply his above-average speed to his defense as well.

When Philadelphia selected Goeddel in the Rule 5 draft, they saw plenty to like about him. Team pro scouting director Mike Ondo told Todd Zolecki of

"“Goeddel excited us at the beginning of this whole process with his approach at the plate, the athleticism, the speed, the fact that he moved to the outfield this year and handled all three outfield positions. You have a baseball player here. He has instincts. He can steal bases. There’s a lot of things to like about this player.”"

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If the team liked Goeddel this much, it would stand to reason that they would try to give him as much time as possible to develop. They did that with Herrera during the 2015 season as the everyday starter in center field, and he turned into an All-Star as well as a Gold Glove candidate in center field.

However, that was not the case with Goeddel last year. He started in just 56 games, with 49 of those starts coming in left field.

A significant part of Goeddel’s playing time came off the bench either as a pinch-hitter or a defensive substitution. The limited playing time certainly didn’t help his performance, as he finished 2016 with a .549 OPS and -1.4 fWAR.

Goeddel’s lack of playing time was surprising to some when that time instead went to players who did not have a long-term future with the team. Zolecki said in his most recent mailbag that he was “perplexed” that players like Jimmy Paredes – who is no longer with the Phillies – got at-bats while Goeddel rode the bench.

What made that decision even more glaring was the fact that Goeddel actually performed fairly well when he got consistent playing time. In May, when Goeddel started 22 games, he carried an .794 OPS and a wRC+ of 113, which was his best month by far. Unfortunately, that hot streak was snuffed out once the team promoted Cody Aschewho is also no longer with the team – from Triple-A after he recovered from injury.

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Manager Pete Mackanin exemplified the mishandling of Goeddel when he told Ryan Lawrence of Philly Voice, “I’ve seen enough of Goeddel to know – we’ve kept him (on the roster) this long and we’re going to keep him (as a Rule 5 pick) and we’ll see where we go next year wth him.” Mackanin rhetorically asked “What’s the point?” in regards to playing the team’s Rule 5 pick.

The point of selecting someone in the Rule 5 draft is to try and develop a player who has major-league potential but needs playing time in order to do so.

A rebuilding team, like the Phillies, normally offers more than enough playing time for guys like Goeddel to find their way into a major-league role. Yet, if Mackanin refuses to play Goeddel consistently, he will never have the chance to develop.

After struggling in the majors in 2016, Goeddel is a near-certain lock to return to Triple-A this year. He should get more consistent playing time alongside Nick Williams and Dylan Cozens, barring Roman Quinn also heading to Triple-A to start 2017. Hopefully, new Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage will give Goeddel some much-needed consistency in his playing time.

Next: Phillies Sign Former First-Round Pick Pedro Beato

This year there won’t be a Rule 5 pick to worry about as the team stayed quiet in the draft. However, it is certainly a gripe to keep in mind when considering a potential extension for Mackanin.