Phillies: How does Rule 5 pick Kyle Holder fit into lineup?
By Mitch Larson
Where will Phillies Rule 5 Draft selection Kyle Holder fit into their lineup?
The 2020 installment of Major League Baseball’s Rule 5 Draft was held Thursday afternoon. Lost in their headlines of them hiring Dave Dombrowski as their new president of baseball operations, the Philadelphia Phillies selected shortstop Kyle Holder from the New York Yankees, while losing no prospects of their own in the major league phase of the draft.
Set to turn 27 in May, Holder is officially listed as a shortstop, but he has some versatility as a utility infielder to play second and third base as well. He should give the team a solid glove off the bench next season, should the Phillies decide to keep him on the active roster.
The New York Yankees selected Holder in the first round of the 2015 draft out of the University of San Diego. In 408 games, Holder is a career .264/.317/.350 hitter in the minor leagues. He has slugged 17 home runs to go with 136 RBI and 114 walks.
He most recently spent all of the 2019 season with the Trenton Thunder, the Yankees’ former Double-A affiliate; he played in a career-high 112 games, slashing .265/.336/.405 over 472 plate appearances with nine home runs and 40 RBI.
The Phillies are trying to shed salary due to their very public revenue issues, so trying to fill some gaps in their roster through the Rule 5 Draft seemed somewhat inevitable. The team is also shopping infielder Jean Segura and has yet to re-sign Didi Gregorius, which further complicates depth in the middle of Philadelphia’s infield.
At this point in his career, Holder likely doesn’t project as an everyday starter in the middle of the infield. However, he does have a good glove and could contribute as a solid defensive replacement late in games. His versatility to play all over the infield will surely be a help to manager Joe Girardi. As a bat off the bench, he won’t hit for much power, but could hit for contact and get on base with some time to develop against big-league pitching.
The Phillies have struck gold in the Rule 5 Draft before.
In 1910, the Phillies selected Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander from the Syracuse Stars in the Rule 5 Draft. Alexander remains just one of just two players selected in the Rule 5 to make the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the other being Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente.
More recently, the Phillies selected outfielder Shane Victorino in 2004. The Flyin’ Hawaiian became a fan favorite and went onto have a great eight-year career in Philadelphia patrolling center field and winning a World Series with the team in 2008.
Per Rule 5 Draft rules, the Phillies will give the Yankees $100,000 to select Holder. If Philadelphia does not carry him on their roster for the entirety of the 2021 season, they have to offer him back to New York at $50,000 before they can send him down a minor-league affiliate.
The Phillies will get their first look at Holder in a couple of months down in spring training. If he impresses, he will likely be on the team’s Opening Day roster.