One Fight At A Time (Rule 5)
Well, the Phillies really did it this time. They really went out there and picked two guys in the Rule Five draft. The stones on this Amaro fellow.
Anyway, it’s true, and not at all problematic, that The Phillies did, in fact, snag two players in the Big League portion of the 2014 Rule 5 draft.
First up was a guy named Odubel Herrera, who some people call David, I guess. The club and the league had a moment there where they weren’t on the same page on the name, and the leap from Odubel to David was not being made by the league, for sure.
Either way, Herrera is an interesting cat. He’s already been linked to second base, left field and center field. Sounds like a Cesar Hernandez profile in the field, as the guy has not really played much CF at all (at least stateside), and would be asked to do so to help win a job. The soon-to-be 23-year-old Venezuelan native spent six years in the Rangers system, including most of 2014 at AA Frisco, where he lead the Texas league in batting average while posting a 124 wRC+. Not bad for a 22 year-old at AA. BA’s Ben Badler:
I like the Odubel Herrera pick for the Phillies. Nice hitter with speed, limited power, position in question. Could be Luis Valbuena type.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) December 11, 2014
Now, Luis Valbuena hit a bunch of homers in the big leagues the last couple years, and Herrera hit two last year at AA, so don’t bank on the power at this point. The hit tool seems better with Herrera, too, so I think the comp is more for the field – a non-shortstop infielder who maybe plays some outfield, too. Sounds about right. Hopefully he can stick, as he give you a versatile guy you can ship up and down for 2016-2018 if he doesn’t have a starting spot on the big club.
The second pick today was Pittsburgh Lefty Andy Oliver. A former Big Leaguer, Oliver was described by BA’s JJ Cooper:
PHI: Andrew Oliver, LHP, Pirates. Hard-throwing LHP has never thrown enough strikes to succeed.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) December 11, 2014
What Oliver appears to be is a lefty specialist in the making. He’s got 32 days of big league service time, after spending two short stints up with Detroit in 2010-11. He’d been a starter for his whole career, but Pittsburgh used him out of their AAA bullpen exclusively last year, and Matt Winkelman of Phillies Minor Thoughts summed that up:
2014 was the first year that Oliver was a full time reliever, LHBs hit .129 off of him in AAA, only allowed 35 hits in 64 innnings
— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) December 11, 2014
Guy strikes out a lot of batters, but give up far too many walks. If the Phils can calm him down somehow, even to lose 25% of the walks, he could be serviceable out of the pen.
So did this move the needle for me? Sure. I like both guys. Either guys is going to have to impress in the spring to stick, but Herrera’s bat alone could do it. I see a chance even that Oliver could be offered back to PIT and not taken, leading him to Lehigh Valley and a chance to work out some more of the kinks in the pen. If Herrera is offered back to Texas, I think they would be glad to have him back in the fold. We shall see how it all plays out in Spring Training.