Phillies Offseason

Phillies make 5 picks, emphasize catching in minor-league Rule 5 draft

Scottsdale Scorpions v Glendale Desert Dogs

GLENDALE, AZ – NOVEMBER 12, 2021: Carson Taylor #48 of the Glendale Desert Dogs waits for a pitch against the Scottsdale Scorpions at Camelback Ranch on November 12, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

The Phillies, like 19 other teams, did not select anyone in the major-league portion of Wednesday's Rule 5 draft.

A player is eligible for the Rule 5 draft, which takes place annually at baseball's Winter Meetings, when he is not on his team's 40-man roster after playing four or five seasons in the organization. It's four seasons for players signed at age 19 or older, five seasons for those signed at 18 or younger.

The stipulation when selecting a player is that he must stay on the active roster or injured list for the entire 2024 season or be placed on waivers. If he clears waivers, he must be offered back to his original team.

A year ago, the Phillies made headlines by selecting pitcher Noah Song from the Red Sox. Song, a former fourth-rounder who dominated collegiately, was in the midst of fulfilling his military service to the Navy and Boston did not expect him to be selected. The Phillies tried to make it work with a talented player who hadn't pitched in four years but designated Song for assignment just before the trade deadline. Once he was deemed healthy enough to return from a back injury, the Phillies were unable to fit him onto the active roster of a team contending for the playoffs.

While they made no selections in the major-league phase of Wednesday's Rule 5 draft, the Phillies did select five players in the minor-league portion. Those players are not subject to the same roster restrictions as a player taken in the major-league phase. The Phillies can assign them anywhere in their system.

There was a clear emphasis on adding catching depth. These were the Phillies' minor-league Rule 5 picks:

• Catcher Will Simoneit from the Athletics
• Catcher Luis Caicuto from the Diamondbacks
• Catcher Carson Taylor from the Dodgers (left-handed hitter)
• Infielder Trevor Schwecke from the Blue Jays
• First baseman Bryce Ball from the Guardians (left-handed hitter)

Simoneit, 27, hit .247 with a .747 OPS at Double A in Oakland's system last season.

Caicuto is a 20-year-old from Venezuela who hasn't yet appeared above Rookie ball.

Taylor was drafted by the Dodgers four picks after Spencer Strider in 2020 after hitting .431 in his final season at Virginia Tech. He's played at Double A Tulsa the last two years and hit .238 with a .675 OPS.

Schwecke is coming off a solid offensive season at Double A in which he played first, second, third, short, left field and right field.

Ball was originally drafted by the Braves in 2019, traded to the Cubs in 2021 for Joc Pederson and signed a minor-league deal with Cleveland last season. His last full season was 2022, when he hit .265/.357/.405 with 31 doubles, 11 home runs and 76 RBI at Double A.

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