The Philadelphia Phillies pick in the 2022 Rule 5 Draft was an interesting one. The club selected Noah Song from the Boston Red Sox. The selection was an interesting choice because he was currently out of baseball serving in the United States Navy. Song was released from the Navy in February as spring training was just starting.
His early release may have caught the Phillies by surprise, but the club had to do something with the 26-year-old, or they could lose him. Song was eventually placed on the injured list— in a move that likely was just to buy the club some time to make a decision and to allow Song to continue training in Clearwater.
Song was taken off the injured list and made his first rehab appearance for the Phillies' Class-A affiliate, Clearwater Threshers on June 28th. Song had not pitched professionally since 2019— when he logged 17 innings in seven appearances. There were plenty of questions as to whether or not the arm strength would be there and if his velocity dropped off. After that much time away from playing professionally, it would not have been surprising to see Song struggle to keep his velocity in 90s. The right-hander impressed in that area, however.
In his first rehab start, Song pitched one inning and threw twelve pitches— six of which were fastballs. His fastball in his first game back averaged 92.4 mph and topped out at 93.5 mph. Song did not allow a baserunner and struck out one batter. Overall, it was a solid first outing to get back into the pace of professional baseball.
Song's next start was on July 1st. He went 1-1/3 innings and threw 17 pitches— more than half of them were fastballs. The velocity dipped a bit in the second appearance as the fastball averaged 91 mph and peaked at 92 mph. Song went on to walk two batters and strike out one while allowing one hit and one earned run.
Then on July 4th, Song appeared in his third game. In this appearance he allowed a hit and a walk in 1 2/3 innings, but he also struck out four batters in that span. Song's pitch count was high at 33 pitches— 18 of which were fastballs. This time his velocity was much improved. His fastball averaged 93.8 mph and touched 96 mph on the radar gun.
The fastball velocity may fluctuate for a few appearances before anyone really knows what Song's arm strength is like at this point. Song also offers a slider as his main secondary pitch, a curveball, and a changeup. Command is another issue that Song will need to address and improve upon in his rehab outings. He has been getting batters to swing and miss, but he has been missing the strike zone too much. This is also to be expected as he makes his way back.
The Phillies will have to decide on what to do with Song by the end of July. If they do not wish to risk losing him, they will need to put him on the 26-man roster and keep him there for essentially the rest of the season. It would really be remarkable if he is able to secure a spot on a Major League roster after logging a very small number of professional innings. The Phillies still have a few weeks to see if his command, velocity, and arm strength are Major League ready.