Rule Five, Top Five

The Phillies currently have 37 players on their roster, but that number could jump by one or two on Thursday thanks to the Rule 5 Draft. Even though they pick low in the order, the Phillies might find some useful players if they look hard enough.

The Phillies have done okay for themselves in the Rule 5 Draft. Shane Victorino was their best find, although they ultimately had to work out a deal with the Dodgers to keep him in their organization. While it's not likely to find a player who can contribute right away, the Phillies will look to find some help for the future or at least a warm body to fill a small hole somewhere on the roster. There are plenty of names to choose from, but we've narrowed it down to the top five.

The Phillies have the 25th pick in the draft, thanks to the fact that three teams have full 40 man rosters and are ineligible to draft any players. Odds are that not all teams ahead of them will make a selection. The Boston Red Sox for example have said that they are likely to skip the Rule 5 Draft. Even so, based on where the Phillies are picking, most of the key players would have already been grabbed and the Phillies will have to look for what's left. Those are the players that we've taken our Top Five from.

1. Yunior Novoa (LHP) Washington Nationals

The 24 year old had somewhat of a breakout season in 2008. Pitching at both High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, he pitched to a combined mark of 4-2, 2.09 appearing in 45 games, all in relief. He struck out a hitter per inning in 2008 after putting up very average numbers in previous seasons. Novoa is the type of pitcher that teams can generally let come along for the ride, especially if he can get left-handed hitters out.

2. Brad Coon (OF) Los Angeles Angels

Coon is a speedy center fielder who has great plate awareness and is a terror on the basepaths. Coon, who turns 26 on the day of the Rule 5 Draft, hit .306 at Triple-A Salt Lake City. He could play the role of a pinch-runner and defensive replacement off the bench.

3. Mike Costanzo (3B) Baltimore Orioles

Once a highly touted prospect in the Phillies organization, Costanzo was dealt to Houston and then to Baltimore in the span of 35 days last winter. Costanzo had a tough offensive season in his first year at Triple-A, but was playing in Harbor Park, where there are generally some pretty stiff winds blowing in from center field. Costanzo has a ton of raw power and is currently playing in Puerto Rico to work on learning to play at first base and behind the plate. Adding the extra positions to his resume would make him attractive. The only draw back is that he's a left-handed hitter and the Phillies already have a lot of those.

4. Adam Bostick (LHP) New York Mets

Bostick was actually called up to the Mets last April, but didn't even get to throw a pitch before he was sent back down. He had knee surgery in late May which cut his season short, but he should be okay for 2009. He's got good velocity and a sharp slider and has the potential to be either a back of the rotation starter or a lefty out of the 'pen.

5. Jon Ellis (RHP) San Diego Padres

Ellis is a right-hander who is especially tough on right-handed hitters. He's got a sidearm style motion and features a plus slider. The Phillies would like him because he gets a lot of ground balls and is very good with men on base. The 26 year old pitched primarily at Double-A San Antonio in 2008, posting a 3.19 ERA in 73 1/3 innings.

Just for fun, we're going to throw two more names out there. Alan Horne (RHP) New York Yankees and Mike Parisi (RHP) St. Louis Cardinals. Both had injury issues in 2008 and Parisi will miss the entire season because of Tommy John surgery. The Phillies could stick him on the DL and then would only need to carry him on the major league roster for 90 days in 2010 to keep him. Horne believes he could be ready for spring training, but some believe it could be as late as July until he's ready to pitch. Again, with the injury, the Phillies could possibly stash him away and see what happens down the road.



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