The Phillies Wednesday found an interesting workaround on the use-him-or-lose-him imperative of the Rule 5 Draft.
The Phillies nabbed right-handed pitcher Noah Song from the Boston Red Sox, but because the graduate of the United States Naval Academy remains on active duty, he does not count toward the team’s 40-man roster.
Song’s military commitments seem the only damper on his prospect profile. He was outstanding as a senior in Annapolis, the 6-4 power righty going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA in 94 innings, leading Division I in strikeouts per nine innings (15.41). His cameo in pro ball, seven appearances and 17 innings in short-season Single A in 2019, went splendidly, allowing two earned runs.
He went 32-13 in 334.1 college innings with a 2.37 ERA, a WHIP of 1.044 and 428 strikeouts.
The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round — he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off. In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.
Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.
The Phillies did not lose anyone in the Rule 5 draft, but they did lose six players and grabbed seven in the minor-league portion of the draft. No other team picked more than four.
Two of the top four picks in that portion of the draft — pitcher Kyle Glogoski going to Cincinnati and shortstop Shervyen Newton off to Kansas City — were plucked from the Phillies. They added shortstops Pedro Martinez and Cameron Cannon; right-handed pitchers Yoniel Ramirez, Trey Cobb, Zach Linginfelter; catcher Cody Roberts; and infielder Oliver Dunn.
Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick in the big-league Rule 5 draft. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice, and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.
Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.
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