NASHVILLE - The Phillies were to leave Music City on Thursday morning after the Rule 5 draft officially ended the four-day Winter Meetings. They will head back to Philadelphia without their closer, as the team traded Ken Giles to Houston on Wednesday night.
Vincent Velasquez, righthanded pitcher: He matches a mid-80s slider with a mid-90s fastball. The 23-year-old reached the majors in June, finishing his rookie season with a 4.37 ERA in 55 2/3 innings. He broke in as a starter but was shuffled to the bullpen after seven starts when the Astros acquired Scott Kazmir. Houston drafted him in 2010's second round. Velasquez missed all of 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He spent most of his time in the minors as a starter, which is what the Phillies likely consider him to be. Velasquez has a good chance to crack the starting rotation after spring training.
Derek Fisher, left fielder: Houston selected Fisher in the first round of the 2014 draft. The 22-year-old is from Rexmont, Pa., about 20 miles north of Lancaster. Fisher batted .275 last season with a .364 on-base percentage in 123 minor-league games, ending his season in high A. The lefthanded hitter played three seasons at the University of Virginia. His college experience could help him move quickly through the Phillies system. MLB.com ranked Fisher as Houston's eighth-best prospect.
Thomas Eshelman, righthanded pitcher: Eshelman was Houston's second-round pick in June. His biggest attribute is his control. The pitcher walked just 18 in 376 innings over his three seasons at Cal State-Fullerton. His 1.66 career ERA is a school record. The 21-year-old pitched just 10 1/3 professional innings last season after being drafted. Eshelman ended the season in single A.