It remains to be seen who the Philadelphia Phillies will protect from the Rule 5 Draft, but we will know the answer very soon.
MLB teams have until Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET to add Rule 5-eligible players to their 40-man roster to protect them from being taken in this year's Rule 5 Draft, which takes place on Dec. 6.
The Phillies currently have 46 Rule 5-eligible players and two open spots on their 40-man roster, although that could quickly and easily change with non-tender decisions due by Friday.
How does the Rule 5 process work?
To keep eligible players from being picked up by other organizations in the Rule 5 Draft, teams have five seasons to add players who are signed at 18 or younger to the 40-man roster. They have four seasons to add players signed at 19 or older.
A team pays $100,000 to take a player in the Rule 5 Draft, but the player must remain on that team's 26-man roster for the entire season, or he is offered back to the original team for $50,000.
Last year, the Phillies protected one player from the Rule 5 Draft, Johan Rojas, who went on to make his Major League debut this past season.
Will the Phillies protect their two Top 30 prospects from the Rule 5 Draft?
The Phillies have two MLB Pipeline Top-30 Prospects who are currently unprotected. Their No. 6 prospect, outfielder Carlos De La Cruz, and No. 27 prospect, left-handed pitcher Samuel Aldegheri.
The Phillies didn't protect De La Cruz in last year's Rule 5 Draft as a 23-year-old, but now is a good candidate to be added to the 40-man before Tuesday's deadline. This is despite being stuck in Double-A Reading all season and seeing a decline from 2022. The 6-foot-8 power hitter hit only .259 with a .797 OPS but mashed 24 home runs in 129 games.
Aldegheri is most likely safe from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft this year. He's only 22 and split the season between Low- and High-A. He finished the year with a 4.20 ERA and racked up 99 strikeouts in 83 2/3 innings over 20 games (19 starts).
Other notable Phillies players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft
Oliver Dunn is an interesting case. The 26-year-old just finished up his stint in the Arizona Fall League and was named the AFL Breakout Player of the Year.
The Phillies grabbed him from the New York Yankees in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft last winter. After the year he has had, Dunn might pop up on other team's radars. The infielder hit .271 with a .902 OPS in Double-A this season. He hit 21 home runs, drove in 78 runs, and stole 16 bases in 119 games.
Matt Kroon, 26, another AFL participant, also had himself quite a year between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. He spent most of the season in Reading, where he slashed .319/.387/.493 with eight home runs and 22 steals in 79 games. In his 15 games with Lehigh Valley, the versatile defender hit .381 with a 1.165 OPS, three homers, 13 RBI, and four stolen bases.
Other AFL attendees eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter include pitchers Jordi Martinez and Dominic Pipkin, although neither is likely to be snatched up by anyone if left unprotected.
Martinez, 23, threw 57 1/3 innings with a 3.92 ERA between High- and Double-A this year. He had a 4.63 ERA across 11 2/3 innings in the AFL.
Pipkin, 24, had a 3.66 ERA in 19 2/3 innings in Double-A this year and threw 2 2/3 clean innings in the AFL.
Right-handed reliever Andrew Schultz entered the 2023 season as FanGraphs' No. 24 Phillies prospect with two 60-grade pitches (fastball and slider) but continued to battle his control in Double-A. The 26-year-old pitched only 37 2/3 innings around a couple of stints on the developmental list and finished with a 5.70 and a 17.0 percent walk rate. He'll most likely be safe in the Phillies' system without being added to the 40-man roster.