Phils Look For Gold In Rule 5 Draft

While the Phillies pondered who they may or may not protect from being drafted in the Rule 5 Draft, their attention after that turned to who they may steal. With Phillies fans memories of Gillick's swiping of George Bell years ago, the expectations are high.

Nobody figures to fill a real need on their club through the Rule 5 Draft. After all, the players left unprotected come with some warts and rough spots. Some of them though could fill a hole in a different organization. Here's a look at some of the more interesting names.


Everybody needs pitching and there are some interesting names available. The Braves are known for developing young players and a couple of their pitchers show up on the list of Rule 5 potentials.

Matt Coenen is a lefty who has had issues with his mechanics throughout his career, but basically has good stuff. He has a fastball, curve and change-up that are decent and he mixes them well. He's the kind of pitcher that a new coach with a different approach may be able to get through to. Glenn Tucker is another Braves minor leaguer who is available. Tucker pitched in the AFL and held hitters to a .228 average this fall. He's projected as a middle reliever and has decent stuff. Unlike Coenen, Tucker is more streamlined and refined with his mechanics.

Josh Muecke is an Astros prospect and a left-hander, which will make him interesting. He's pitched as both a starter and reliever, but was used primarily in the starting rotation in 2005. He has just average velocity, but if his curve continues to develop the way it has recently, there may not be much need to worry about velocity. He has a decent change-up, but doesn't use it as much as he probably should. Jared Gothreaux is another Astros farm hand with pitential. He's one of those guys with average talent, average velocity, but he finds a way to get hitters out. Some believe he could develop into a decent setup man with some work.

Nic Ungs was always thought of as a decent middle relief prospect, but a strong showing in the AFL put him a little more solidly onto the radar. Ungs is out of the Marlins organization. The Giants stand to lose some decent pitching. Billy Sadler has a low 90s fastball that he can pump into the mid 90s when he needs to.He's got an improving curveball and can pitch with little rest between appearances. Joe Bateman is a sidearming right-hander with a low 90s fastball that tends to dive down in the zone. Like Sadler, Bateman is durable and racks up innings. If his slider develops, he could be awfully tough on hitters.


John Jaso is in the Rule 5 Draft from the Devil Rays organization. He has good power and it's believed that he'll continue to develop more power as he refines his swing. He's athletic, but hasn't developed too well defensively. Mitch Maier is primarily an outfielder, but the fact that he's played all over - including behind the plate - could make him an interesting choice in the Rule 5 Draft. Maier has good offensive skills, but his swing isn't consistent. Defensively, he's played well everywhere you put him. He was a first round pick of the Royals in 2003 and it's a little surprising that they gave up on him so quickly.


The Phillies are unlikely to draft an infielder, since they seem pretty well stocked there. The Reds Kevin Howard is the best of the bunch. He played at AA in 2005 and hit .296 with 12 homeruns and 70 RBI. He put up very impressive numbers in the AFL, leading the circuit in hitting with a .409 average. He can play at third and second.

If you're looking for some pop to add to the infield, the Astros Brooks Conrad hit 21 homeruns at AAA in 2005. He's a little rough around the edges, but will likely at least be tempting to a few teams.


Adam Boeve is the kind of player that a lot of "Moneyball" fanatics like. He makes consistent contact and has some power. He's primarily a right fielder and plays well defensively. Thomas Collaro of the White Sox has definite power, but his swing will need some work. If he can develop a consistent swing, his strikeouts could fall and his power develop even more. He hit 29 homeruns in high Class A in 2005.

Jason Pridie could be one of the earlier picks in the draft. He's got speed, some power and he's a left-handed hitter. The Devil Rays are well stocked on outfield prospects, so Pridie was somewhat of a victim of a numbers game.

One interesting name to watch for is that of Josh Hamilton. The Devil Rays figured that Hamilton would be a major star by now, but he fizzled badly both on the field and off. His story is sad. He got heavily into drugs and was suspended for 2005 and is also suspended for 2006. It may be the last sad reminder of what at one time looked to be a great career.

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