Monday, September 25, 2017

2017 Rule 5 Draft Primer and Eligible Astros Players

2017 Rule 5 Draft Primer and Eligible Players

UPDATED TO NOTE PROTECTED PLAYERS AND TRADE
UPDATED TO ADD LIST OF FREE AGENTS: See below
UPDATED TO ADD CIONEL PEREZ: See the note below

The current Astros 40-man roster is full to overflowing right now with the 60-day DL stints of Jandel Gustave and Brady Rodgers making them the 41st and 42nd player respectively. And, oh, what happens when David Paulino is eligible to play again? Hmmmm, getting a little crowded, isn't it? And, to make matters just a wee bit more complicated, at some point before late November, the Astros are going to have to figure out who to add and who to subtract or risk losing a player or two to the Rule 5 Draft. Let's take a look ...


Dean Deetz - April 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Here is a primer based on my understanding of how the Rule 5 draft works, as well as some preliminary information about this year's draft eligible players. The draft will be held during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida scheduled for December 10th through 14th.

RULE 5

The Rule 5 draft (don't call it the Rule V draft or baseball purists will jump down your throat) was updated somewhat prior to 2016's draft in two ways: it eliminated the lower of two minor league phases of the draft and it increased the compensation payment to teams for players who are lost through the draft. Here is the text of Rule 5 with the Eligibility Rules highlighted in Blue.
Rule 5
ANNUAL SELECTION OF PLAYERS
(a) MEETINGS. A selection meeting shall be held each year at such time and place as the Commissioner shall designate and shall be known as the Rule 5 Selection Meeting. At the Rule 5 Selection Meeting, Major League Clubs may claim the contracts of players who are on Minor League Reserve Lists (filed pursuant to Rule 2) and who are subject to selection as set forth in this Rule 5. If any Major League or Minor League Club shall fail to file Minor League Reserve Lists in accordance with Major League Rule 2, its players on Minor League Reserve Lists shall be subject to selection under this Rule 5 without any restrictions. The Commissioner shall decide all procedural questions that may arise during the Rule 5 Selection Meeting.
(b) METHOD AND PRIORITY OF SELECTIONS. Selections under this Rule 5 shall be made in two separate phases: the Major League phase and the Class AAA phase. A player selected in one of these phases must be placed on the Major League Club’s Reserve List in the same classification of the phase in which the player was selected. Within each phase, only players from a Reserve List of a lower classification Club are eligible for selection. Within each phase, selections shall be made according to the following order and conditions:
(1) Major League Clubs shall select in reverse order of their winning percentages at the close of the preceding championship season, without regard to standings within any Division or League and without regard to post-season results. If two or more Clubs had an identical percentage of games won at the close of the preceding championship season, the selection order of those Clubs shall be determined by the percentage of games won in the next prior championship season, with any remaining ties resolved by continuing to examine the tied Clubs’ respective championship season winning percentages in each preceding prior year, until the tie is broken.
(2) As called in the above order of priority in a phase, each Major League Club shall have a right to select one player subject to selection under this Rule 5. If a Club does not exercise its right of selection when called, or if its right of selection in that phase has ceased because its Reserve List(s) for the classification covered by the phase has reached the allowable limit under Rule 2, the next Club in order shall be called. When a round has been completed, the process of selection shall be repeated until all Major League Clubs have no further right of selection in that phase. A Club
having announced its selection in proper order cannot later cancel the selection.
(3) In any year in which one or more new members have been admitted to a Major League for operations in the next championship season, each such new member may select player contracts under this Rule 5. The procedures and regulations governing such selections shall be as agreed upon by the Major League Clubs.
(4) Any Major League Club may authorize (in writing or by electronic communication) any employee, the Commissioner, or an employee of the Commissioner’s Office to announce its selection or selections at the meeting. Such authorized selections shall be as binding and effective as if announced by a Major League Club official.
(c) PLAYERS SUBJECT TO SELECTION. All players on the Minor League Reserve Lists of Major League and Minor League Clubs, except players on the Voluntarily Retired, Disqualified or Ineligible Lists, shall be subject to selection by other Major League Clubs at the Rule 5 Selection Meeting in accordance with the following:
(1) A player without previous Major or Minor League service who signs with a Major League or independent Minor League Club shall be subject to selection based on the following:
(A) if 18 years of age or under on the June 5 immediately preceding the player’s signing, the player shall be subject to selection at the fifth Rule 5 Selection Meeting that follows the signing date of the player’s first Major or Minor League contract, unless Rule 5(c)(1)(C) applies;
(B) if 19 years of age or over on the June 5 immediately preceding the player’s signing, the player shall be subject to selection at the fourth Selection Meeting that follows the signing date of the player’s first Major or Minor League contract, unless Rule 5(c)(1)(C) applies;
(C) if the signing date of a player’s first Major or Minor League contract is between
(i) the conclusion of the championship season for the Major or Minor League Club to which the player is assigned on such contract and
(ii) the next Rule 5 Selection Meeting,
then the player shall be deemed to have signed after the next Rule 5 Selection Meeting, for purposes of this Rule 5(c)(1).
(2) A player who is re-signed by a Club within one year from the date the Club released the player shall be subject to draft at the Rule 5 Selection Meeting following the date of the latest contract with that Club.
(3) A player who has been subject to draft at a Rule 5 Selection Meeting shall be subject to draft at any subsequent Rule 5 Selection Meeting if the player is on a Minor League Reserve List (filed pursuant to Rule 2 (Player Limits and Reserve Lists)) at the time of the Rule 5 Selection Meeting.
(4) A player
(A) whose contract has been assigned outright by a Major League Club to a Minor League Club,
(B) who has been signed as a free agent to a Minor League Uniform Player Contract for services in the following year and is otherwise subject to selection pursuant to Rule 5(c)(1) or Rule 5(c)(2), or
(C) who has been released unconditionally from a Minor League roster and is otherwise subject to selection pursuant to Rule 5(c)(1) or Rule 5(c)(2), shall be subject to selection at any subsequent Rule 5 Selection Meeting if the player is on a Minor League Reserve List (filed pursuant to Rule 2 (Player Limits and Reserve Lists)) at the time of the Rule 5 Selection Meeting.
(5) A Major League or independent Minor League Club may designate any player on one of its Minor League Reserve Lists to be subject to selection who otherwise would not be selectable under this Rule 5.
(d) CONSIDERATION, PAYMENT, AND RESPONSIBILITY. The consideration for a selection under this Rule 5 shall be as follows:
(1) $100,000, if the selected player is placed on a Major League Reserve List;
(2) $24,000, if the selected player is placed on a Class AAA Reserve List;
In addition to the compensation set forth in this paragraph, an independent Minor League Club shall be reimbursed by a selecting Major League Club for all compensation (including salary, bonuses and benefits) that it has paid to a selected player if the player is selected at the first selection meeting following the first year of the player’s initial Minor League Uniform Player Contract. Payment of the consideration due the selectee Club shall be made in the same manner as provided in Rule 12 Transfer Agreements) regarding other assignments of player contracts. The selector Major League Club must assume all responsibility for the player’s physical condition and for the player’s reporting.
(e) PLAYER-MANAGERS. A Player-Manager shall be subject to selection if the player would otherwise be selectable under Rule 5(c) (Players Subject to Selection). However, a player-manager shall be subject to selection as a player only and the player-manager selected may reject such selection by giving written or electronic notification of such rejection to the Commissioner within 30 days from the date that the player-manager receives notification of such selection from the Commissioner. A player-manager contract that has been executed within 30 days before the close of the season shall not be changed to a player contract during the season following execution of such player-manager contract unless the Commissioner approves such a change in writing.
(f) COVERING UP. No agreement shall be made for the purpose or with the effect of covering up a player from selection. If the Commissioner shall be of opinion that any such agreement has been made, the Commissioner may impose a fine upon each party to such an agreement.
RULE 5 ELIGIBILITY

The highlighted passage above regarding Rule 5 eligibility is somewhat cumbersome. What it means in English is that this year's eligible players basically include: 1) any player who signed prior to the end of the 2013 season; and 2) players who signed after the end of the 2013 season and prior to the end of the 2014 season who were 19 years old or older when they signed. That means most 2014 drafted college players are eligible, but high school players (and some community college players) drafted in 2014 may not be eligible until next year. For the international free agents, one needs to know when the player signed their first professional agreement and their age at signing to make the determination. There is an exception based on players who signed during the off-season, but otherwise, that is the basic gist of it.

MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE OF THE RULE 5 DRAFT

The first phase of the Rule 5 draft is the major league phase. In order to protect an eligible player from being drafted in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, he must be on the major league club's 40-man roster prior to November 20th (if that falls on a business day). Players on the 40-man roster at that deadline are considered "protected."

Obviously not all of a team's best players can be protected on the 40-man roster. That is where the AAA Reserve List helps. If a player from the AAA Reserve List is drafted in the Rule 5 draft, that player must remain on the drafting team's 25-man major league roster for the full season or he will have to be put through waivers. If claimed, the new team will be subject to the same conditions regarding that player. If not claimed, the player will be offered back to the team from which he was drafted.

The cost of drafting a player in the major league phase of the draft is now $100,000. If the player is offered back to the team from which he was drafted, the original team must pay $50,000 back to the drafting team. If the original team declines, the player will be put on waivers.

Last season LHP Reymin Guduan was added to the 40-man roster by the Astros in advance of the deadline. The front office made the determination that Guduan was the most likely player to be taken in the Rule 5 draft. The front office took a calculated risk by not adding players such as RHP Mike Hauschild, OF Jon Kemmer, C Tyler Heineman and others to the 40-man roster, but only included them on the AAA Reserve List. They made a determination as to which players, if drafted, were more likely to "stick" on a major league roster for a full season and were very successful in that the only unprotected player claimed in last year's Rule 5 draft was Hauschild who was claimed by the Rangers and subsequently returned to the Astros.

Since players taken in the Rule 5 draft have to remain on the drafting team's 25-man roster for the full season, pitchers are taken much more frequently than position players simply because it's fairly easy to use a pitcher sparingly out of the bullpen. Position players can't be tucked away quite so neatly if they struggle. It all comes down to another team's ability to find room on their 25-man roster for a full season. It's simply not that easy to do and that's why so very few players are drafted in the Rule 5 draft and stick with a team.

It's also the case that often minor league fans overvalue prospects. We may think much more highly of a player than the other teams' front offices do. When all is said and done, the Astros front office will take some risks in leaving players unprotected, but it will be a highly educated guess based on many factors, including future needs.

MINOR LEAGUE PHASE OF THE RULE 5 DRAFT

There is now only one minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft, reduced from two phases in earlier years. The players on the 40-man roster and the AAA reserve list aren't eligible to be taken in the minor league phase of the draft. To my knowledge the AAA reserve list is still set at 38 players so, in essence, you are protecting your top 78 players from the minor league phase. (As far as I know, AAA Reserve Lists are not made public so we are left to guess who the Astros will be shielding from the minor league phase of the draft.)

In the AAA Phase of the draft, a player who is on the AA Reserve List or lower can be drafted for inclusion on the drafting team's AAA Reserve list for a cost of $24,000. The kicker on the minor league phase of the draft is that the drafted player basically becomes that team's property. There is no requirement to offer the player back if he doesn't work out. He can be traded, released, etc. at a team's discretion.

ASTROS 2017 RULE 5 ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

The following are those players who will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December if they are left unprotected. I have organized them by the level at which they were assigned at the end of the minor league regular season. Players who are first year eligible have been #'d. [PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS LIST IS PRELIMINARY AND IS BASED ON MY RECORDS. IT HAS NOT BEEN VERIFIED WITH THE ASTROS FRONT OFFICE FOR 100% ACCURACY.]

AAA Position Players
OF Jon Kemmer (DL at end of season)
IF Jack Mayfield (DL at end of season)

AAA Pitchers
#RHP Dean Deetz - Added to the 40-man roster in advance of the deadline; protected from the Rule 5 draft
LHP Kent Emanuel
RHP Mike Hauschild
#RHP Brendan McCurry
#RHP Cy Sneed

AA Position Players
#OF Ramon Laureano - traded to the A's for RHP Brandon Bailey in advance of the deadline
#2B/3B Nick Tanielu (spent most of 2017 on the DL; rehabbing with GCL at end of season)

AA Pitchers
#RHP Brock Dykxhoorn
RHP Angel Heredia (on rehab assignment at end of season)
#RHP Josh James
#LHP Cionel Perez (see this BA article for more on Perez); added to the 40-man roster in advance of the deadline; protected from the Rule 5 draft

Position Players at High A or lower
#IF Osvaldo Duarte (DL at end of season)

Pitchers at High A or lower
#LHP Yhoan Acosta (on DL most of 2017 season)
RHP Elieser Hernandez - Taken by the Marlins in the Rule 5 draft

#First year eligibility for Rule 5 Draft

In addition to the above, the following players will be minor league free agents at the conclusion of the major league season in which case they are free to explore free agency.

Minor League Free Agents
IF Reid Brignac
RHP Kevin Comer (DL at end of season) - signed with the Tigers

10 comments:

  1. Nice work.I've been gathering my own list for months trying to identify who needed to be protected. I was surprised more trades weren't finished before the July 31 deadline given our amount of talent that is going to be made available in December. I see 7 spots opening up on the 40 man roster,
    Bergeron, Liriano, Clippard, Maybin and Beltran are free agents. And I expect Fiers and Sipp to get a DFA/RELEASE.
    But, Rodgers, Gustave and Paulino need to be added or exposed so that's 4 40 man spots.
    Given the offensive talent in the bigs, I see the front office prioritizing pitching as being protected with Deetz, Sneed, Comer and Perez getting added to the 40 man.
    I don't see any talent offensively that another team would be interested in taking and if they do, it doesn't concern me all that much.

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  2. Somebody might take a flyer on Jason Martin, but I agree, the talent at risk is pitching. In terms of ML free agents, I wonder if Liriano gets an offer if he continues to perform well as a LOOGY. BTW, who is Bergeron?

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    1. I have no idea who he's talking about either. The Rangers took a chance on DeShields a couple years back so Martin isn't outside the realm of possibility. I think the question would be whether or not he would stick. But then that's usually the question, isn't it?

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    2. Thank you. Bergeron is Gregerson..... damn autocorrect.

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  3. I wonder if Reid Brignac, Colin Walsh, Rico Noel and Jumbo Diaz in AAA are free agents. They were all veteran minor league fillers we picked up last year, but Brignac was with the Fresno ballclub all year.

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    1. They were all signed as free agents when they came on with the Astros so they are all definitely free agents. I only put the two players who will be minor league free agents for the first time (at least according to my records).

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  4. Cionel Perez will be on the 40 man. Only other player the Astros may protect may be Jason Martin, but he's not ready to go from AA to the majors. Jon Kemmer, Jack Mayfield and Dean Deetz are interesting but probably won't be protected.

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