The Phillies have added Justin De Fratus, Matt Rizzotti, Harold Garcia, Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis to the 40-man roster, protecting them all from being selected in the Rule 5 draft.
Right-handed relief pitcher Justin De Fratus, who recently pitched seven scoreless innings for the Arizona Fall League Mesa Solar Sox, got added to the 40-man. Last season, JDF split time between Clearwater and Reading with an ERA under two and a 71-16 strikeout to walk ratio. With a few holes in the bullpen, De Fratus has a chance at making the Phillies roster out of the gate.
Matt Rizzotti, coming off a breakout year in Clearwater, Reading, and Lehigh Valley, is the organization's best first base prospect above the low levels. He hit .343 among those three levels with 17 home runs and a .985 OPS. Rizz batted .333 with a .500 OBP in the AFL, walking 22 times in 19 games. While Rizzotti's defensive skills leave much to be desired, his bat has come alive since 2009 and the lefty could find a spot on the bench for Charlie Manuel's club. More likely, he's a valuable trade piece to go DH for an AL ball club. A move to left field doesn't seem plausible with his limited athletic ability.
Harold Garcia is the most recent front man in a slew of utility infielders to pass through Reading. Jason Donald, and Adrian Cardenas before him, was traded to supplement the big league ball club, leaving a hole in the bench that was filled last year by Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez. Garcia will most likely spend the 2011 season at Reading and Lehigh Valley, with a call-up to Philadelphia only in case of a Chase Utley/Jimmy Rollins emergency. Garcia is a second baseman that can play some third base, but I'd like to see him at short a few times this season so his value is higher. With a solid bat with a little pop (.305/.365/.441) and a dependable glove, Garcia will be a cheap option for this team off the bench until arbitration.
Freddy Galvis has the rep of being a sure-handed fielder with the bat of a 5th grader. He's a switch-hitter that's not proficient from either side of the plate in terms of contact or power. A .276 OBP and a .311 slugging percentage isn't anywhere near major league level, and 89 strikeouts is too many for a guy with no pop or speed. His glove is already a plus major league attribute, but without the ability to handle the stick, he's a liability. Until he can get better, he's nothing more than a late defensive replacement. That being said, he is just 21 years old and in double-A for his second season.
Where Galvis lacks in speed, second baseman Cesar Hernandez has it in full. He's been in the system a while and is only in Williamsport at age 20, so it's unlikely he'll get to the bigs. But he stole 32 bases last year and only struck out 27 times with a .390 OBP. That was bolstered by a huge BABIP and one that will likely drop as the fielding gets better at the higher levels. He's only got 3 career home runs, and that lack of power will most likely prevent him from being an everyday player. But the Phillies saw enough in him to protect him, so there you go.
Speedy outfielder D'Arby Myers and replaceable relief pitcher Chris Kissock being left unprotected was to be expected. Joe Savery, the first round pitcher from Rice turned first baseman, being marooned without a lifeboat is a bit more surprising. It's unlikely Joe will be selected in the Rule 5 draft because his fastball is a straight 88 and his change-up doesn't fade enough to fool hitters even at the triple-A level. If he can reinvent himself as a hitter, he could have a chance to make it as a bench guy, but things aren't looking good in Philadelphia for Savery.
De Fratus, Rizzotti and Garcia will be given long looks in Spring Training and have a chance to make the team in that order. Because De Fratus has such a great handle of the strike zone with the ability to make people miss, I'd give him the best shot at donning Phillies pinstripes in April.