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Phillies lose Hoby Milner in Rule 5 Draft

Also Gain Jorge Flores and Lose Jairo Munoz

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Winter Meetings ended today with the Rule 5 draft. The draft came in two phases, the major league portion when the selected player must stay on the major league roster all year, and the minor league portion where eligible players not on the AAA roster (not the same one you can see by going to IronPigs site) can be selected and just kept. The Phillies protected 11 prospects from the major league phase last month, but were widely expected to lose someone today. With a full 40 man roster the Phillies were also expected to not select anyone in the draft either.

The Phillies did lose someone in the draft in AAA LHP Hoby Milner. Milner was the Phillies 7th round pick in the 2012 draft. A former reliever in college the Phillies converted him to starting where he had moderate success before moving back to the bullpen in 2015. Milner had a bit of a breakout this year when the Phillies lowered his arm slot even more, and he struck out 76 in 65 innings across AA and AAA with a 2.49 ERA. Milner's fastball tops out at 91 and his future is probably as a LOOGY. Milner likely would have gotten an invite to major league spring training and would have had a shot to see the big leagues with the Phillies this year. However, with all the players needing protecting, losing a fringe relief prospect is a small loss for the Phillies given who else was left exposed.

The AAA portion of the Rule 5 draft is littered with failed prospects and minor league depth. In the first round the Phillies filled one of their biggest organizational needs by selecting 25 year old SS Jorge Flores from the Blue Jays. Flores hit .211/.280/.286 last season including .187/.260/.242 in AA at age  24 (he did hit .276/.360/.347 at AA the previous year). Right now the Phillies shortstop depth in AA and AAA is J.P. Crawford and maybe a not ready Malquin Canelo. Flores is a very good fielder and could play everyday at AA waiting for Canelo, or could just be a defensive replacement somewhere in the high minors.

The Phillies did lose RHP Jairo Munoz in the AAA phase. Munoz was the subject of a 3 part series by Mike Sielski last winter. His comeback story is really interesting as is his upside. Munoz is 25 years old, 6'5" and fairly skinny, and also has a fastball that has been clocked up to 98 mph. He also only pitched 9 innings this season as arm injuries plagued him all year. If he can get healthy he may have a bright future, but he had just become buried in the Phillies system.

In other Rule 5 news, Independent League Player of the Year and former Phillies prospect Art Charles was signed by the Reds this offseason and then selected by the Brewers in the AAA phase.

In general this went as well as the Phillies could have hoped. They severely limited their 40 man roster flexibility, but managed to not lose any prospects of note. The biggest beneficiary is Andrew Pullin who could go to AA or AAA and hit his way into the Phillies plans as they look for long term corner outfielders.