Rule 5 season is upon us and with that comes roster crunches and the inevitable trimming of 40-man rosters. Teams are in the process of adding Rule 5-eligible players to their 40-man rosters today to protect from losing them in the early-December draft. The Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee kicked off this years festivities by flipping prospects. Phillies second baseman Oliver Dunn, 26, needed to be protected be added to Philadelphia’s 40-man roster today, or risk being surrendered to another organization in the Rule 5 draft. Instead, the Phillies shipped him off the Milwaukee for a pair of prospects.
The Phillies Return
Moore was a supplemental second round pick out of Arkansas in the 2022 Draft. He comes with prospect pedigree as a toolsy middle-infielder who could have gone much higher in his respective draft had his draft-year not featured some unexpected struggles. Moore spent the entire 2023 campaign at High-A Wisconsin in the Midwest League where he slashed .233/.321/.361 with eight homers and 26 stolen bases.
Moore projects a fringy hitter, though he could get to an average hit tool as his pure bat-to-ball skills and chase rates have improved over the last 18 months. He’s done of nice job of using the opposite field gap with more regularity of late, though he’ll get himself in trouble looking to sell out for power to his pull-side. The swing can get steep at times, and that’s a tough archetype to optimize in a 5-foot-9-inch frame. If he can continue his developmental emphasis in working gap-to-gap, the pure hit tool should begin to show it’s upside that flashed in 2021 for the Razorbacks. Moore will take his walks and has been a bit of a magnet for getting hit by pitches. He’s an above average runner with elite instincts both on the bases and in the field.
He comfortably projects an above average defender at second base, potentially plus in time. He’s got short, choppy strides, and that can limit his ability to make the exceptional play to his right or deep in the hole to his left. Still, the hands and twitchy actions more than make up for what range limitations may exist. Moore has played some shortstop as well, though he’s fringy at the “6” due the aforementioned lateral range and just average arm strength. Moore is still just 21 years old and the upside of a Big League regular second baseman exists here if the hit tool to reclaim it’s former glory.
It's been a tough year at the plate for Robert Moore, but his defense is still absolutely obscene. pic.twitter.com/DPMYJlmepc
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) June 18, 2022
Mendez, 20, projects a corner outfielder going forward. He’s a contact-over-power left-handed hitter with a premium 6-foot-4-inch frame. There’s plenty of raw power to grow into, though his approach toward lifting the baseball will need to change if he hopes to capture that bat speed in-game. It’s a flat, slasher stroke that leads to more ground balls and stinger line drives than back-spun fly balls. Still, it’s impressive bat-to-ball skills for a player of his size at this stage, and that’s good clay to build upon. Mendez is an average runner with a solid average throwing arm, a toolset that could play in either left or right field depending on team needs. It’s a bit of a volatile profile as it could go a number of different directions in terms of ceiling, though Mendez presents one of the higher floors, if that exists, for a player who played much of the 2023 campaign as a teenager at High-A. On one hand, he could find his way onto Top 100 boards by the end of the 2024 season. On the other, he may buoy out as a Role 4 fourth outfielder.
The Brewers Return
Dunn had an exceptional year at Double-A Reading in 2023 throwing up a .271/.396/.506 slash with 21 homers and 16 stolen bases. The former 11th round selection by the Yankees in 2019 was experiencing his first year inside the Phillies organization after being claimed off waivers by Philadelphia last December. Dunn missed time due to injury during the 2021 and 2022 campaigns with the Yankees, and when he was on the field strikeout woes severely hampered his production. Swing tinkering, bumps and bruises, and subsequent struggles eventually led to him being waived. Swing-and-miss was still quite prevalent in his 2023 results, as is evidenced by his 27.5% K-rate, but batted-ball metrics improved, as did the subsequent production.
Dunn parlayed a loud 2023 into an stay in the AFL with Scottsdale where he slashed .343/.455/.616 with two homers and 12 extra-base hits in just 88 plate appearances. He still ran a 29.5% K-rate, but his 17% walk rate looks strong when considering he posted a 16.2% walk rate in 2023 as a whole.
Dunn is an above average runner who gets good breaks on the base paths and should be able to continue running for the next handful of years in his career. Although his home run totals have jumped, most scouts still only see average raw power, though he’s getting to almost all of it in games these days. The hit tool will be the barometer for how successful Dunn can be at the next level. Most see a below average hit tool, but his recent tweaks may unlock a half-grade more consistency in that department. He’s a solid average defender at second base and has more range than most of his peers for the position. There’s something of a Rougned Odor profile here, potentially Jason Kipnis if his recent surge continues its upward trajectory.
- TRADE: Guardians acquire C Kody Huff from Rockies for RHP Cal Quantrill - November 17, 2023
- TRADE: Brewers add Oliver Dunn, Phillies get Hendry Mendez, Robert Moore - November 14, 2023
- 2024 MLB Draft: The Top 200 College Prospects led by Kurtz - October 26, 2023