Phillies seize opportunity to add intriguing pitching depth in MiLB Rule 5 Draft

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 23: A detailed view of the Philadelphia Phillies logo against the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park on May 23, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Red Sox 6-2. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 23: A detailed view of the Philadelphia Phillies logo against the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park on May 23, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Red Sox 6-2. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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The Philadelphia Phillies added pitching depth during the MiLB Rule 5 Draft

MLB’s Rule 5 Draft has been postponed indefinitely due to the lockout, but the MiLB phase of the Rule 5 Draft took place on Wednesday, December 9.

Much like the minor leagues themselves, MiLB Rule 5 is a bit more Wild West. Instead of focusing on 40-man rosters, it looks to the 38-man rosters of Triple-A, the highest level of the minors. Any prospect not protected by being on said roster is left vulnerable to the draft.

Of the 51 selections made in Wednesday’s draft, one belonged to the Philadelphia Phillies:

With the 12th pick in the first round of the MiLB Rule 5 Draft, the Phillies selected RHP Matt Seelinger from the San Francisco Giants.

Seelinger’s 2021 stat line is enticing; over 36 games, he posted a 3.07 ERA and struck out 64 batters over 41 innings of work.

This selection feels like an Anirudh Kilambi move. The new Phillies assistant GM was hired away from the Tampa Bay Rays, where he’d worked as assistant director of research and development. He’d previously been credited with helping the Rays find unexpected pitching talent.

Seelinger was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 28th round of the 2017 draft but was then acquired by the Rays in August 2018 in exchange for Adeiny Hechavarria and cash. The Rays traded Seelinger to the Giants in 2019, but Kilambi presumably became familiar with the pitcher during their respective Tampa tenures.

Phillies make huge move to improve player development, farm system. light. More

The newest Phillie poked fun at his transient career after the draft:

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Seelinger projects to be a flexible bullpen addition; he’s pitched in the closer role and as a setup man and middle reliever throughout his MiLB career. That kind of versatility is precisely what his new franchise needs; their bullpen was flat-out embarrassing in 2021. The Phillies led MLB in blown saves for the majority of the season and tied the record for most blown saves in a single season (2004 Colorado Rockies, 34).

The righty was the Phillies’ only pick in the draft, as their Triple-A roster was at its 38-man limit. Other teams kept drafting until the fifth round before filling their spots.

As the rules of the draft stipulate, the Phillies will now add Seelinger to their Triple-A roster, but can then direct him to any level of their system. He spent the entire 2021 season at Double-A, so they might redirect him from Lehigh Valley down to Reading.

In exchange for the pitching prospect, the Phillies must pay the Giants $24,500. But if Seelinger pans out at the big-league level, that will be a small price to pay.

More. The 15 Phillies top prospects who should be on your radar. light

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