Scouting The Rule 5's: Jim Ed Warden

The Phillies took three players in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft this past week. We take a look at each, including some thoughts on their chances of making the team.

When it comes to players who are drafted in the Ruld 5 Draft, there are plenty of theories on what type of player is the easiest to stash away on a roster, keeping them safe for an entire season so as not to risk losing. The Phillies proved last season that they could stash a reliever away - Fabio Castro - and make it through the season.

Jim Ed Warden isn't just a right-handed reliever. He's a young right-hander who throws hard and has a motion that keeps hitters uneasy at the plate. Warden provides a pretty intimidating presence on the mound, at 6' 7" and 190 pounds.

A Look Back At 2006:
With the type of season that Jim Ed Warden had in 2006, the fact that he was left exposed in the Rule 5 Draft is more than just a little surprising. Pitching at Double-A Akron, Warden was near dominating coming out of the bullpen. His funky sub-marine motion held opposing hitters to just a .176 average and right-handed hitters were able to manage just a .159 average against Warden.

The mark of any reliever is how he can respond in tough situations. Warden was near lights out, with opponents hitting just .070 with runners in scoring position.

The bad news is that Warden struggled in the Dominican Winter League, but was likely wearing down after pitching a lot in the regular season, where he was used in a career-high 55 games at Akron.

Warden was converted to a reliever after spending his first three pro seasons as a starter. The Indians tweaked his delivery a little this past season after he got off to a slow start and it showed immediate dividends.

His motion and style of pitching remind most scouts of Chad Bradford. The Phillies would love to get that type of production out of their Rule 5 pick.

Is he a keeper?
Figure that Warden could simply fall right into the role that Fabio Castro found himself in last season with the Phillies. That would give Warden a chance to pitch in favorable situations and give the Phillies the opportunity to stick with him for the entire season and keep him in the organization.

The bottom line is that Warden has a decent shot at making the club and hanging with the club for the entire season. If he's offered back to Cleveland, there's a better-than-average chance that they'll welcome him back.

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