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Phillies add 4 prospects to 40-man roster

Former No. 1 pick Appel among players removed to clear space for pitchers
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are loaded with pitching prospects in the Minor Leagues and Monday they protected four of their most valuable arms from next month's Rule 5 Draft.

They also cut loose a once highly touted pitching prospect.

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are loaded with pitching prospects in the Minor Leagues and Monday they protected four of their most valuable arms from next month's Rule 5 Draft.

They also cut loose a once highly touted pitching prospect.

The Phillies placed right-handers Franklyn Kilome, Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Taveras and left-hander Ranger Suarez on the 40-man roster. The Phillies also claimed infielder Engelb Vielma from the Giants. To make those players fit on the 40-man roster, the Phillies cleared three roster spots. Mark Appel, the former No. 1 overall pick acquired in the Ken Giles/Vince Velasquez trade in December 2015, and Alberto Tirado were designated for assignment. The Phillies outrighted Elniery Garcia to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Kilome, 22, is the No. 7 prospect in the organization, according to MLBPipeline.com. He went a combined 7-7 with a 2.83 ERA in 24 starts last season with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Suarez is No. 14 and Dominguez is No. 28 in the organization. Suarez, 22, went 8-6 with a 2.27 ERA in 22 starts with Class A Lakewood and Clearwater. Dominguez, 22, went 4-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 15 appearances (13 starts) with Clearwater.

Taveras, 24, went a combined 9-6 with a 2.22 ERA in 25 starts with Clearwater, Reading and Lehigh Valley.

"We're really excited for all four of these guys," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "All have worked extremely hard and they are all deserving of being added to our roster. All are products of our international scouting operation, Sal [Agostinelli] and his group. Those guys continue to crank out players. They've done a great job."

Vielma, 23, hit a combined .229 in 121 games with Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Rochester. He has played second base, third base and shortstop in his six-year Minor League career.

"He is a really talented defender," Klentak said. "He is still developing physically. He's an intriguing claim."

Appel, 26, never worked out. He made just 25 starts the past two seasons because of elbow and shoulder injuries, posting a 5.17 ERA in eight starts with Lehigh Valley in 2016 and a 5.27 ERA in 17 starts this season. The Astros selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 Draft. They traded him to the Phillies, but only after the Phillies requested him because of concerns about Velasquez's health. Outfielder Derek Fisher, 24, originally had been part of the deal. Fisher emerged as one of the best prospects in baseball before joining the Astros this season.

"Where we are as a franchise, it was a tough decision," Klentak said. "A lot of the tools that Mark showed as an amateur that led to him being the No. 1 overall pick are still there. He has simply struggled with performance. It's certainly not for lack of effort on his part. We think the world of the kid and wish him well."

Tirado, 22, walked 60 and struck out 67 in 77 1/3 innings this season. Garcia was suspended 80 games after testing positive for a banned substance.

Appel and Tirado are trade candidates. If they clear waivers, they could be outrighted.

Outfielder Carlos Tocci, who is the No. 23 prospect in the organization, and left-handers Austin Davis, Tom Windle and Brandon Leibrandt were some notable players not protected from the Rule 5 Draft.

"One of the byproducts of a strong system is every year there are some tough omissions," Klentak said. "Last year, we lost Hoby Milner briefly and that was after protecting 11 guys. So there are always tough calls. But we look at that as a good problem to have."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Philadelphia Phillies, Mark Appel, Seranthony Dominguez, Elniery Garcia, Franklyn Kilome, Ranger Suarez, Jose Taveras, Alberto Tirado, Engelb Vielma