The Rule 5 Draft is always an interesting Phase of the Winter Meetings. If you have room on the 40-man roster, you can draft unprotected players (not on the 40-man), for a $50,000 fee. You must keep them on your 25-man roster for the entire season, or you must offer them back to the club the player was drafted to for $25,000.
Well the draft is complete, and the Phillies drafted two players, pitchers Travis Blackley and Lincolin Holdzkom in the Major League Phase.
Blackley was originally signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2000, by then GM Pat Gillick. In 2003 he was the Mariners minor league pitcher of the year where we 17-3 at Double San Antonio. He didn’t respond well to AAA, where he went 8-6 before he was recalled to Seattle. He struggled with the Mariners going 1-3 with an ERA over 10. After another before being dealt to San Francisco. He made two starts for the Giants last year, where he didn’t get a decision, but allowed seven earned runs in eight-plus innings.
Blackley does have potential, but his head gets in the way. His stuff isn’t overpowering, so he relies on location. If he pushes his pitches too hard he loses command and is very hittable.
OUTLOOK– Blackley will not challenge for a spot in the rotation. At best he can be a long-man in the bullpen, and possibly spot start if needed, similar to Clay Condrey. He also might not stick with the team at all.
Holdzkom is an interesting pick. A career reliever, who has yet to make his Major League debut. Holdzkom spent most of last season at Double A Lowell, but finished the year at Pawtucket, where he went 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA. He has a very good fastball, but his control is somewhat of a concern. In 17 innings at Pawtucket he walked 14 and stuck out 13.
OUTLOOK– Holdzkom has a strong season in Arizona this fall, where he went 1-0 and held opposing batters to a .087 average (two hits in seven innings). It’s possible he could be one of the Rule 5 steals, and be a contributing arm in the bullpen.