Bryan Minniti

Phillies lose prospect in Rule 5 draft, gain money to sign more

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Photo: Clearwater Threshers

Phillies lose prospect in Rule 5 draft, gain money to sign more

ORLANDO, Fla. — Carlos Tocci has long been an intriguing prospect in the Phillies' system. The club's international scouting staff liked the slender outfielder from Venezuela enough to give him a $759,000 signing bonus as a 16-year-old in the summer of 2011.

The big question with Tocci was whether he'd develop enough offensive pop to go with his outstanding defensive prowess.

Tocci made strides every year in the Phillies system, but not enough, in the minds of team officials, to move past other prospects and win a spot on the 40-man roster. The Phils left him unprotected last winter and managed to slip him through the annual Rule 5 draft, but they weren't so fortunate this year. Tocci was selected by the Chicago White Sox with the fourth pick in Thursday's draft and quickly spun to the Texas Rangers in a trade.

The price to select Tocci was $100,000. He must spend the entire 2018 season in the majors (or on the big-league disabled list) or be offered back to the Phillies for $50,000.

"Obviously, it stinks for us to lose a guy like that, but it's the risk you take when you don't protect someone," Phillies assistant general manager Bryan Minniti said. "I'm happy for him to get the opportunity. Selfishly, we hope to get him back."

Tocci, 22, hit .307 with a .362 on-base percentage and a .398 slugging percentage in 113 games at Double A Reading in 2017. He hit .189 in 17 games at Triple A.

Tocci has athleticism and speed. He is a plus defender. His speed and defensive skill could help him stick in the majors as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement.

The Phillies added a player in the Rule 5 draft, but only briefly. They selected right-handed pitcher Nick Burdi from Minnesota with the third pick and quickly traded him to Pittsburgh for $500,000 in international signing money. The Phils have just over $1 million remaining in their current pool, which expires June 15.

Extra international money is valuable. The Phillies recently added four pitchers — Seranthony Dominguez, Ranger Suarez, Jose Taveras and Franklyn Kilome — to their 40-man roster and all were international signings. The team recently used international pool money to sign catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, one of 13 former Atlanta prospects who had been set free after the Braves violated signing rules. Several of those players are still unsigned and other prospects pop up all the time. Remember, the Phillies' top pitching prospect is a kid named Sixto Sanchez. He caught the eye of Phillies scouts three years ago while throwing batting practice to a catcher that the Phillies were watching (see story).

"Our international department with Sal Agostinelli and those guys, they're weapons for us," Minniti said. "So for us to have the ability to give them more money to spend is a positive. They're seeing workouts every day all over the world. It's good to have the reserves to continue to spend."

The Phillies have two open spots on their 40-man roster. Those will soon be filled by relievers Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter.

The Phillies also completed their coaching staff on Thursday, hiring Jose Flores as first base coach and infield/baserunning instructor. Flores was a 34th-round pick by the Astros in 1989 and spent six years in their minor-league system. He spent 10 years as a coach in Puerto Rico's winter league and was also a coach for Puerto Rico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Gabe Kapler's full staff includes bench coach Rob Thomson, hitting coach John Mallee, assistant hitting coach Pedro Guerrero, pitching coach Rick Kranitz, assistant pitching coach Chris Young, bullpen coach Jim Gott, first base coach Flores and third base coach Dusty Wathan. 

Phillies make hires in front office, scouting

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USA Today Images

Phillies make hires in front office, scouting

The Phillies announced a series of moves in their baseball operations department on Friday.

Bryan Minniti, formerly special assistant to the general manager, has been promoted to the role of assistant general manager, while Chris Cashman moves from advance scouting analyst to manager of player procurement. Minniti oversees two important areas: scouting and player development.

Former major-league pitcher Mike Koplove joins the staff as a special assignment scout. Koplove, a Philadelphia native who pitched at Chestnut Hill Academy and the University of Delaware, most recently worked in scouting with the Anaheim Angels.

The Phils announced the hiring of Oneri Fleita to the international scouting staff. Fleita will supervise scouting in Mexico. He is a former vice president of player personnel for the Chicago Cubs. Meanwhile, Jesus Mendez and Carlos Salas were promoted to coordinator positions.

On the amateur scouting side, Greg Schilz, who joined the organization last year, was promoted to assistant director of amateur scouting.

Frank Coppenbarger, the team's longtime director of travel and clubhouse services, is also moving into a new role. He is now special assistant for ballpark projects. Coppenbarger was honored as the majors' top director of travel by his peers at the winter meetings last year.

Other moves
Mike Calitri was hired as manager for advance scouting. He will report directly to new manager Gabe Kapler.

Keith Rudolf was hired to the full-time position of team chef.

Dana Parks was hired as coordinator for player development.

Corinne Landrey was hired as an analyst in the baseball research and development department.

Erick Dalton was hired as a professional scout.

Todd Donovan was hired as a professional scout.

Brad Holland was promoted to Southwest regional supervisor in the amateur scouting department. 

Buddy Hernandez, Stewart Smothers, Jeff Zona Jr., Connor Betbeze, Chris Duffy and Kellan McKeon were hired on the amateur scouting staff.

Roberto Aquino, Juan Feliciano de Castro, Franklin Felida, Ubaldo Heredia, Andrés Hiraldo, Dargello Lodowica, William Mota, Isao O’Jimi, Romulo Oliveros, Bernardo Pérez, Ebert Velásquez and Derrick Chung all joined the international scouting staff.

The Phillies still have more offseason hires to make. They have yet to name a bench coach and a first-base coach on the big-league staff. Also, Dusty Wathan's promotion to the big-league staff has left an opening at Triple A manager.