Monday, November 10, 2014

Updated Rule 5 Draft Info

It's time for an update on the Rule 5 Draft situation for the Astros. As it stands right now, the Astros 40-man roster consists of 38 players. Here are the players who are subject to being taken in the Rule 5 draft (as best I can determine) if they are not protected on the 40-man roster by November 20th. [Note that there are a few players that I think are minor league free agents, but they haven't been designated as such by Baseball America or]

UPDATE: The players that I thought might be free agents are not. With that said, Jason Stoffel should be added to the list of relief pitchers who would be attractive targets in the Rule 5 draft. In addition, I've been told that Gonzalo Sanudo is NOT Rule 5 eligible this year.

AAA Position Players
3B Matt Duffy
IF Jio Mier
IF/OF Ruben Sosa
2B Ronald Torreyes

AAA Pitchers
RHP Richard Rodriguez
LHP Tommy Shirley
RHP Jason Stoffel (Free Agent?)

AA Position Players
OF Delino DeShields
1B/OF Brandon Meredith
3B Jonathan Meyer
1B Telvin Nash

AA Pitchers
RHP R.J. Alaniz (On Restricted List)
LHP Colton Cain
RHP Chris Devenski
LHP Mitch Lambson
RHP Tyson Perez
LHP David Rollins
RHP Kyle Weiland

Position Players at High A or lower
2B Jose Fernandez
C Alfredo Gonzalez (not on list posted by Brian McTaggart)
OF Ydarqui Marte
SS Chan Moon
C Jobduan Morales (Free Agent?)
OF Ariel Ovando
C Roberto Pena
OF Jordan Scott
OF Jose Solano
OF Danry Vasquez

Pitchers at High A or lower
RHP Agapito Barrios
RHP Jamaine Cotton
LHP Ambiorix de Leon
RHP Michael Feliz
RHP Edison Frias
LHP Evan Grills
LHP Reymin Guduan
RHP Jandel Gustave
RHP Angel Heredia
RHP Krishawn Holley
RHP Juan Minaya (Free Agent?)
RHP Jose Montero
RHP Francis Ramirez (Free Agent?)
RHP Gonzalo Sanudo
LHP Blaine Sims
RHP Frederick Tiburcio (Free Agent?)
RHP Vincent Velasquez
RHP Andrew Walter

RHP Jonas Dufek

In addition, these minor league free agents will be out of the system if not re-signed by the Astros.

Minor League Free Agents
RHP Jose Cisnero
RHP Paul Clemens
C Rene Garcia
RHP Murilo Gouvea
RHP David Martinez
LHP Rudy Owens
IF Carlos Perdomo
RHP Ross Seaton
LHP Patrick Urckfitz

If I were in the Astros front office, I would do everything in my power to protect two players, RHP Vince Velasquez and LHP Tommy Shirley.

Shirley is the closest to being ready for prime time, having dominated at AA Corpus Christi before his promotion to AAA Oklahoma City in mid-July. After a couple of tough starts at the latter level, Shirley was moved to the bullpen to control his innings and dominated in that role as well.

Velasquez is not quite as ready for the main stage, but his top of the rotation potential is not something with which I would take a chance. Had he not missed significant time to a groin injury in 2014, he would certainly have been promoted to Corpus Christi during the year. If he stays healthy, he will likely start the season at Corpus Christi, receive an in-season promotion to AAA Fresno and be in the mix for a September call-up in 2015. That's close enough that it warrants his protection on the 40-man roster.

RHP Michael Feliz will likely be considered for protection as well, but he is a little further off from being major-league ready. I would be more concerned with losing relief pitchers RHP Tyson Perez and LHP Mitch Lambson since relief pitchers are much easier to keep on a 40-man roster for a season than position players and starting pitchers. Also both pitchers are currently being showcased in the Arizona Fall League and are comporting themselves admirably.

As to position players, there are two players in particular that may be of interest to other teams, 1B/3B Matt Duffy and C Roberto Peña.

Duffy has largely flown under the radar, but he has always hit very consistently throughout his career (.293/.367/.468 over his career). His defense at third base has improved considerably over the years and after his late May promotion to AAA Oklahoma City, he played significant time at first base adding to his versatility.

Although Peña has not progressed beyond High A, he is an elite defensive catcher. He will be in the major leagues one day. His hitting will determine whether he is a front-line catcher or the back up. In one of my interviews with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, he told me that catchers are really never a target in the Rule 5 draft so Peña will likely be protected on the 38-man AAA reserve list, but not on the 40-man roster.

A case could be made for several other players, including Delino DeShields, Danry Vasquez, Jandel Gustave, Reymin Guduan, Richard Rodriguez and others, but there are only so many roster spots and, at the end of the day, it is very difficult to keep a player who has never played in the major leagues on a 40-man roster for an entire season. Only a handful of players have managed to "stick" with the drafting team over the last few years.

This post explains in more detail how the Rule 5 Draft works, including the minor league phases of the draft. The actual draft will take place on December 11th.


  1. I posted in the wrong place previously. I believe Kyle Weiland and Agapito Barrios are also rule 5 eligible.

    1. Nice catch on Barrios. I added him to the list. As far as Weiland, I'm not sure exactly how things work with him because of the time he's spent in the minors already. I would think that he could opt for minor league free agency, but he hasn't shown up on the MiLB free agent lists yet. I'll try to find out more about how that works.

    2. You were correct on Weiland too!

  2. You've got a great website on the Astros prospects. Totally agree on Tommy Shirley and Vince Velasquez, and I think Michael Feliz and DDJ will also get protected (too much upside on both). Danry Vasquez maybe as he was a top 20 Astros prospect until the most recent draft, but then he is only in A ball so probably not. In addition to the others you mention one that intrigues me is David Rollins, lefty starter at AA ball - pitched really well this year including his one start at OKC, only 24 years old, and came over in the JA Happ deal.

    1. I'm a big fan of Rollins, but I don't think he will get a 40-man roster spot. His 2014 season was a little uneven so I think he'll be less of a target than some others. He was working on transitioning to a bullpen role at the end of the season and I think that will be a good move for him.