Left-handed relievers are always in demand. That's one reason why Hoby Milner was selected by the Cleveland Indians with the 15th pick in the major league phase of Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. Meanwhile, right-hander Jairo Munoz was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays with the first pick of the second round in the Triple-A phase of the draft.
Milner, 25, pitched at both Lehigh Valley and Reading last season, with a combined mark of 5-4, 2.49 in 49 relief appearances. Over five minor league seasons, Milner is 36-21, with a 3.53 ERA.
The Phillies drafted Milner from the University of Texas in the seventh round of the 2012 Draft. Initially a starter, Milner was moved to the bullpen in 2015 after posting a 4.21 ERA in 25 starts with Reading the prior season. Milner returned to Reading in 2015 and did make two starts, but pitched in 27 games as a reliever.
Munoz was injured for much of the 2016 season and made just seven relief appearances, six with Clearwater and one in the Gulf Coast League after a strained elbow put him on the sidelines in early April. In six minor league seasons, Munoz made 48 relief appearances and four starts, with a 9-3 record and a 3.26 ERA.
At 25 and with no experience above High-A, plus coming off the injury, the Phillies felt pretty comfortable leaving him off not only their 40-man roster, but from their Triple-A offseason roster so that he wouldn't be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft's minor league phase.
The Phillies signed Munoz as a minor league free agent prior to the 2015 season after he had been released by the Royals, who signed him as an amateur free agent four years earlier. In his time in the Royals organization, Munoz had gone 5-1, but had an ERA of 4.78 in four seasons.
Even though their major league roster was full, keeping the Phillies from drafting anybody in the major league phase, they did come away with a shortstop in the Triple-A phase of the draft, taking Jorge Flores from the Toronto Blue Jays with the sixth pick.
The 25-year old Flores played 32 games at High-A Dunedin and 82 games at Double-A New Hampshire last season, with a slash line of 3-35-.211/.280/.286 between the two stops. In his minor league career, Flores has hit .256 in the minors over five seasons after being drafted by the Blue Jays in the 19th round of the 2012 Draft out of Central Arizona College.
While he has played primarily at shortstop, Flores has also played at second base, in addition to playing two games at third base, two in center field and three in right field while in the Jays organization.
Because Flores was taken in the minor league phase, the Phillies do not need to keep him at any particular level for the 2016 season.
Pitcher Daniel Stumpf, who the Phillies selected in last year's draft, but ultimately returned to the Kansas City Royals, was drafted again this year. Stumpf was selected by the Tigers with the 11th pick in the major league phase.