OXON HILL, Md. - When the Rule 5 draft begins Thursday morning, the Phillies will find themselves in an unfamiliar position: They will not be selecting a player for the first time since 2011 and could lose more than one player in the major-league phase of the draft for the first time since 1998.
The draft, designed to provide opportunities to minor-league players blocked in one organization, is not a major event. That there is interest in some Phillies - even after the team protected 11 prospects by adding them to the 40-man roster - is a sign that the organization's talent has risen.
General manager Matt Klentak said he expected to lose at least one player. An American League executive said the Phillies could lose as many as three players. A team pays $100,000 for a Rule 5 selection, and that player must stay on a team's 25-man roster for the entire season.
Here are some names that have intrigued other teams.
Andrew Pullin, OF: He appears to be the likeliest Phillies player to be picked. Pullin retired last spring, returned to the organization in May, and hit like crazy to reach double-A Reading. Pullin, 23, could go on someone's bench as a lefthanded bat. But he does not have a true position; he was an infielder and converted to corner outfielder.
Hoby Milner, LHP: He's the quintessential Rule 5 pick, a soft-tossing lefthanded reliever who found recent success with a lower arm slot. Lefties hit .230 with a .559 OPS against Milner, 25, who spent most of his season at Reading.
Seranthony Dominguez, RHP: He would be a true long shot because he has pitched just 48 innings for a full-season affiliate. But a team like the San Diego Padres, who are expected to make numerous Rule 5 selections, could take a chance on Dominguez, who is 22 and inexperienced but considered promising.
Carlos Tocci, OF: No one took Tocci last winter when he was unprotected, and 2016 was about the same as 2015. Tocci, 21, can play a major-league center field, scouts say, but he still has not added strength to his lean frame. He showed well in Venezuelan winter ball, so maybe he caught someone's attention there.
Jose Pujols, OF: It would be difficult to see Pujols sticking on a 25-man roster for an entire season, but someone could take a chance on his raw power. Pujols, 21, hit 24 homers with a .440 slugging percentage for low-A Lakewood. But he struck out 179 times in 498 at-bats.