On Wednesday night during the annual MLB Rule 5 Draft, nine players switched hands regarding the Philadelphia Phillies organization, including four departures during the Minor League phase.
There was some speculation that Phillies No. 6 prospect Carlos De La Cruz could be among the names selected in the draft. Fortunately, this was not the case. Of the four players selected, none were ranked in the Phillies' top 30 prospects and now don't rank in the top 30 prospects from the clubs they were drafted to.
While there have been some talented Rule 5 Draft selections in the past decade, including players like Mark Canha and Anthony Santander, it's unlikely that these young minor leaguers were to make any impact on the Major League roster within the next few years. Having the extra 40-man roster spots open allows the Phillies to continue to add to their championship-hopeful roster in their win-now mode.
The Phillies lost four pitchers, including two left-handers and two right-handers. The Tampa Bay Rays, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, and Houston Astros made the selections out of the Phillies' minor leagues.
Round 1: Rafael Marcano, LHP (MIN)
The Phillies' minor league Pitcher of the Month in August pitched to a 3.95 ERA over 93 1/3 innings in 2023 for the High-A Jersey Shore BlueClaws. The 23-year-old, originally from Venezuela, showed some impressive strikeout stuff, fanning 97 batters for a 9.4 SO/9 rate. During his five seasons in the Phillies system, Marcano posted a 4.08 ERA with 11 wins and 20 losses but always brought energy to the dugout.
Round 2: Keylan Killgore, LHP (KCR)
One of the best baseball names in the league right now, Killgore had a good bit of hype when drafted in the 17th round from Wichita State in 2018. The former college teammate of Alec Bohm struggled with Reading in 2023, posting a 5.20 ERA across 55 innings. The 27-year-old has been known for his strikeout stuff and nasty change-up, but it is obvious his command is holding him back, collecting a 4.6 BB/9 and a 1.572 WHIP.
Round 2: Carlos Betancourt, RHP (HOU)
Another young pitcher from Venezuela, Betancourt has spent all five seasons bouncing between rookie ball and High-A Jersey Shore. Across all leagues, he has pitched well, pitching to a 3.62 ERA over 171 1/3 innings and striking out 186. In 2023, Marcano collected the most innings of his career (78) but had never reached more than 45 in any other season beforehand. The 22-year-old is still very much a project player but could be an effective reliever in a few years for an organization that can develop.
Round 3: Blake Brown, RHP (TBR)
The 25-year-old, who has not pitched since 2021 while battling a flurry of injuries, has only collected 41 minor league innings between High-A and Double-A with the Phillies. In his 40 innings, however, Brown posted a 3.07 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 36 walks. It is hard to tell how a pitcher will bounce back after not pitching professionally in over two years, but it's tough to doubt what they are doing in Tampa given their recent track record for developing pitching.