NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Phillies actually added two centerfielders to their projected Opening Day roster on Thursday.
In addition to acquiring Ben Revere in a trade with the Minnesota Twins, the Phillies used the 15th overall pick in the Rule 5 draft to select Ender Inciarte.
Inciarte, 22, previously the property of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is a .288 hitter with a .347 on-base percentage in five minor league seasons. He hit .307 with a .376 OBP and had 46 stolen bases in 127 games between South Bend and Visalia, the two Arizona A-ball affiliates, in 2012.
At least from a player-style standpoint, Phillies pro scouting director Mike Ondo likened Inciarte to a young Juan Pierre.
"We've seen this guy throughout the year at two different spots, we've seen him play in Venezuela and, just from defense, our guys think he has the instincts to play the outfield," Ondo said. "And with his tools, at least initially, he can fill in as a late-inning replacement, pinch-run."
As a Rule 5 pick, Inciarte has to stay on the Phillies' 25-man roster. Before the Phils could send him to the minor leagues, he would have to be offered back to Arizona.
Having never played above "A'' ball, is it realistic to expect Inciarte to stick with the Phillies?
"I think there's a chance," Ondo said. "He understands how to play. He plays the speed game. We'll see. I don't know how the bat is going to play, but in terms of the defense and the speed, it adds an element to our team . . . The fact that we think he is an advanced outfielder, we think he has a chance to fit with us, at least initially, as a defensive outfielder and a guy who can pinch-run."
Ondo made those comments before the Revere trade, so it's possible that Inciarte's staying power took a hit less than 120 minutes after he arrived in the Phillies organization.
In addition to acquiring Inciarte, the Phils selected lefthanded pitcher Brendan Lafferty from Kansas City in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
Lafferty, 26, fits the profile of a lefthanded relief specialist: He struck out 71 batters in 60 1/3 innings (all out of the bullpen) at Double A Northwest Arkansas. Lefthanders hit just .143 against Lafferty last season.
The Phillies did not lose any players in the Rule 5 draft.