The Phillies decided to protect two pitchers and a shortstop prospect from the Rule 5 Draft by adding them to the 40-man roster. Right-handers Edgar Garcia and Adonis Medina along with shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa. The move means that all three will not be eligible for selection in next month’s Rule 5 Draft, which is the final order of business at the MLB Winter Meetings.
The moves leave some somewhat significant players unprotected and eligible to be taken by other teams. Among those players are pitcher Tom Eshelman, infielder Daniel Brito, outfielder Jose Pujols and catcher Deivi Grullon. Eshelman was the Phillies Paul Owens Award winner in 2017 as the organization’s top minor league pitcher, but he fell on tough times this past season. The righty struggled to a 2-13 record and a 5.84 ERA with Triple-A Lehigh Valley after a 2017 season that saw him go 13-3 with a 2.40 ERA between both Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading.
Brito was a minor league Gold Glove winner this past season and hit a combined .252 between Low-A Lakewood and High-A Clearwater. Pujols is known for his power potential and hit 22 home runs this season – 18 in 95 games with Clearwater and four with Reading – to go along with a .295 average in 121 total games. Grullon spent the entire season with Reading, producing a line of 21-59-.273/.310/.515 with the Fightins.
Among those protected, Medina was the highest ranked Phillies prospect on the PBI ranking of the Phillies top prospects coming into the season. Medina, who turns 22 on a week before Christmas, was ranked fifth among the top 50 prospects. With Clearwater this season, he went 10-4 with a 4.12 ERA and struck out 123 batters in 111 1/3 innings.
Garcia, 22, made 47 relief appearances with Reading, going 7-2 with a 3.32 ERA and 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He received a late-season promotion to Lehigh Valley and was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in five relief appearances with the IronPigs. He had a respectable 3.86 ERA coming into his last outing where he was hit for two earned runs without retiring a batter. he had given up two earned runs in one inning of work in his Triple-A debut, but he followed that up with 3 2/3 innings where he allowed just one hit.
Gamboa is just 21-years old and played at Clearwater this past season, going 2-37-.214/.304/.249 in 114 games. The slick fielding shortstop prospect also played in the Arizona Fall League where he hit .186 (11-for-59) in 20 games with Scottsdale.