Rule 5 Draft Could Hit Phillies - Again!

Remember Derrick Turnbow? Miguel Ascencio? They were both young Phillies pitchers with bright futures who were ripped from the Phillies to other organizations. The Rule 5 Draft is gaining in popularity with 28 players being picked in last year's draft. The Phillies have primarily been givers, but might look to partake of a player in this year's draft.

It goes with the territory. Build a strong enough minor league system and eventually, you'll be giving away players in the Rule 5 Draft. Sure, the other team has to keep them in the majors for a full season, but some teams are finding that it may be worth it.

The Phillies haven't really taken advantage of the Rule 5 Draft. They've had the Rule 5 Draft take advantage of them. Ironically, the Phillies, years ago, found Dave Hollins in the Rule 5 Draft. The draft was also George Bell's ticket to the majors.

What could happen in this year's draft?

First of all, the Phillies figure that they will likely lose at least one player again. Here are a few of the candidates:

Francisco Butto: Even though he only pitched at Lakewood this past season, he'll be tempting to a lot of major league teams. Butto went 10-12, 3.03 at Lakewood and is just 21 years old. Sound familiar? Derrick Turnbow was 21 and went 12-8, 3.35 at Piedmont in 1999; His last season with the Phillies before the Angels grabbed him in the Rule 5 Draft.

Rob Tejeda: Injuries have slowed Tejeda's progress, but he is still attractive. Tejeda will be 22 when the 2004 season starts and he's made it as high as Clearwater. He pitched at Lakewood and Clearwater in 2003 and went a combined 2-7, 3.67 at the two stops.

Yoel Hernandez: This one would especially hurt and it could very well happen. Hernandez is just 21 (he turns 22 next April) and pitched primarily at AA Reading in 2003. The Phillies promoted him late in the year and he pitched 14 innings in 2 starts for Scranton. Granted, he struggled at AAA going 0-0, 6.00 but he would be an attractive choice for some teams. At Reading, he was 6-3, 4.26 with 2 saves.

Will the Phillies look to add a player from another team's roster? Possibly.

One scenario that the Phillies have explored is finding a way to grab Frank Brooks back from the Pirates. Pittsburgh picked up Brooks from the Phillies in the Mike Williams trade last July, but left him unprotected. Odds are he'll be gone by the time the Phillies draft, but they're talking to teams like the Tigers who draft early about taking him and then dealing him to the Phillies. It just might work.

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