Phillies leave three top prospects vulnerable to the Rule 5 Draft

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Tom Eshelman #71 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 20, 2018 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Tom Eshelman #71 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 20, 2018 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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Three of the Phillies top 30 prospects could be taken in the Rule 5 Draft

The Phillies announced Tuesday that prospects Adonis Medina, Arquimedes Gamboa, and Edgar Garcia have been added to the 40-man roster, protecting them from the Rule 5 Draft next month.

However, the organization decided to leave infielders Jose Gomez and Daniel Brito, as well as pitcher Thomas Eshelman off the 40-man roster, making them intriguing options for teams in the Rule 5 Draft.

NBCS Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury also notes that outfielder Jose Pujols and catcher Deivi Grullon are Rule 5 eligible, though are no longer considered top prospects.

Teams had until Tuesday afternoon to protect players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Those left off 40-man rosters are now open to being selected, but teams who take a player must keep him on the 25-man roster for the entire 2019 season.

I was not surprised Eshelman was left off the 40-man roster after his down year in Lehigh Valley. Acquired in the Ken Giles trade with Houston, the right-hander went from competing for a major league job to owning a 6.73 ERA in 27 games for the Iron Pigs in 2018.

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The organization’s 27th overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Eshelman’s ceiling has been tabbed as a back of the rotation arm, something the Phillies have a lot of. His poor performance last year mixed with the organization’s depth at the position left him vulnerable.

With nothing to lose but $100,000 it would not surprise me if Eshelman is taken by another team in the Rule 5 Draft and given an opportunity to start. If the team who takes him doesn’t want him then they can offer him back to Philadelphia and recoup $50,000.

Brito and Gomez were likely left off because the organization doesn’t believe another team would take a chance on them. Brito is the organization’s 12th overall prospect and Gomez is 16th according to MLB Pipeline, but neither has played above Advanced-A both are 21 or younger.

It’s unlikely a team attempts to work Brito or Gomez onto their major league roster, meaning he’s likely safe from the Rule 5 Draft. If they do then they likely become utility players off the bench.

The three prospects Philadelphia did protect (Medina, Gamboa, and Garcia) are all top-14 prospects in the organization, though Garcia was not eligible for the Rule 5 Draft according to Jonathan Mayo.

A 22-year-old reliever, Garcia was not rated by MLB Pipeline or Baseball America as one of the Phillies’ top prospects. By making the 40-man roster the organization is indicating he could make the 25-man roster very soon.

In 52 relief appearances for Reading and Lehigh Valley Garcia had a 3.63 ERA last season.

Next. Evaluating the starting pitcher trade market. dark

The team says 38 spots are filled on the 40-man roster, but once free agency starts to move players such as Mitch Walding could be designated for assignment.

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