Rays play game of give and take in Rule 5 Draft

Club surrenders pair of prospects in first round, snags trio in Minor League phase

Rays play game of give and take in Rule 5 Draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Phillies selected outfielder Tyler Goeddel from the Rays' organization with the No. 1 pick of Major League Baseball's Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, meaning that Tampa Bay has provided the top selection of the Draft for a second consecutive year.

The Rays lost Oscar Hernandez to the D-backs, who selected the catcher with the first pick of the 2014 Draft.

Rule 5 Draft results

"You never want to lose anybody in the Rule 5," said Rays vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom. "To some degree, I think, when you're setting these rosters, you are taking calculated gambles because you know some of these players are going to go to other clubs.

"When we put the 40-man roster together, we're trying to weigh wanting to keep players we've developed against the need to maintain flexibility -- not just now, but in the future."

Goeddel, 23, was drafted by Tampa Bay in the first round (41st overall) of the 2011 Draft. He hit .279 with 12 home runs, 72 RBIs and stole 28 bases at Double-A Montgomery in 2015 while playing all three outfield positions.

"There's some athleticism about him," said Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics. "I can't say above-average tools. But we can say he has some average tools and he knows how to play the game of baseball.

"He made that transition [to the outfield] from not having success at third base. And having some arm injuries. So we moved him to the outfield and he did well at Montgomery."

The Rays also lost outfielder Joey Rickard to the Orioles, who selected him in the first round. Rickard hit .321 with two home runs, 55 RBIs and 23 stolen bases at three levels in 2015.

"Joey started the year off with our [Class A Advanced] Charlotte team," Lukevics said. "And Joey's always had that foot speed, arm speed, bat speed. ... He's a pretty good player. And he kept getting better."

Lukevics added that Rickard displayed maturity by being able to handle the jump from Class A to Triple-A in one season. Lukevics also addressed why Tampa Bay protected only five outfielders on its roster.

"[Goeddel's] ceiling in our mind wasn't as high as the five guys we protected," Lukevics said. "And that's where it comes down to it. ... We have 40 spots. One through 40. Somebody's 41, somebody's 42, somebody's 43. We have an organizational process of evaluating all of our players, and Tyler and Joey weren't in that top 40 group.

"They're both good players. And they both have some ceiling. ... Both have a run tool and a bat tool. ... They're good players. But they weren't, in our evaluation, in the top five. And that's how you lose players like this."

Players selected in the Major League phase must stay in the Major Leagues all year or be offered back, which makes for a tough call on drafting players.

"Hopefully they are back and we can continue to develop them," Lukevics said.

The Rays got busy in the Triple-A phase when they selected left-hander Adam Kolarek (Orioles) and right-handers Yoel Espinal (Yankees) and Fernando Baez (Cardinals).

They lost catcher Maxx Tissenbaum, who spent 2015 at Charlotte, to the Marlins.

Kolarek, 26, stands 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, and he went 2-4 with a 4.43 ERA in 51 appearances for Double-A Bowie in 2015. Rays assistant director of Minor League operations Jeff McLerran noted that Kolarek "made an arm angle change" that really improved his stuff.

Espinal went 4-6 with a 6.09 ERA in 14 games at two levels in the Yankees' organization in 2015. McLerran noted that he "had a big arm."

Baez had Tommy John surgery last season, but the Rays have always liked him, according to McLerran.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.