Phillies select active-duty Navy aviator Noah Song in MLB Rule 5 draft

SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy Airman Noah Song into the Rule 5 draft on Wednesday, hoping the former top pitcher can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date when Song, 25, could join the Phillies.

Song was drafted into the Boston Red Sox system in the unprotected minor league draft. Philadelphia has put him on the military roster while he continues active duty and he won’t count on the 40-player roster, the group from which major league teams can select players for the 26-player active roster. .

Song impressed in his only professional season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A affiliate Lowell in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s on time, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the US Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round — he likely would have gone much higher, but his impending military service set teams back.

In November 2019, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper signed a memo paving the way for military academy athletes nationwide to delay service commitments and play professional sports after graduation. Song’s request to retroactively apply these new rules to his case was denied.

Song began his studies as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and completed this phase last April. He began additional aviation training in May.

Song was among 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, caught up in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which didn’t happen last year due to the MLB lockout.

Washington took Boston Triple-A right-hander Thad Ward with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth pick and the Phillies took Song with the 11th pick.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players into the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. Players must remain on the major league roster next season or make waivers and, if unclaimed, be donated to their home organization for $50,000.

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