Monday, September 24, 2018

2018 Rule 5 Draft Primer and Eligible Players

2018 Rule 5 Draft Primer and Eligible Players

Here are the Final Results of the Rule 5 Draft (also, lists have been updated below with Top Prospects and non-ranked prospects taken in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 Draft). In addition to losing RHP Riley Ferrell and OF Drew Ferguson in the MLB phase of the Draft and RHP Ryan Thompson (who missed last season due to TJ surgery) in the minor league phase of the draft, the Astros also picked up C Alejandro Flores from the Nationals in the minor league phase of the draft.

The current Astros 40-man roster (as of 12/12) stands at 38 players. The deadline for protecting players from being taken in the Rule 5 draft is Tuesday, November 20th (at 7:00 pm). Let's take a look at the eligible players ...


Garrett Stubbs - June 2018
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 Las Vegas, Nevada from December 9th through 13th.

I am including something new this year as I branch out and start looking at players from other organizations. At the end of this post regarding Astros Rule 5 eligible players, I will include those eligible players from other clubs who are currently ranked by MLB Pipeline as top 30 players.

RULE 5

The Rule 5 draft (no, it's not the Rule V draft; please stop calling it that!) 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 2014 season; and 2) players who signed after the end of the 2014 season and prior to the end of the 2015 season who were 19 years old or older when they signed. That means most 2015 drafted college players are eligible, but high school players (and some community college players) drafted in 2015 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 RHP Dean Deetz and LHP Cionel Perez were added to the 40-man roster by the Astros in advance of the deadline. The front office made the determination that these pitchers were the most likely players to be taken in the Rule 5 draft. (Note: Perez had to be protected because his first contract had been voided.) The front office took a calculated risk by not adding players such as RHP Josh James 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 RHP Elieser Hernandez who was claimed by the Marlins; Hernandez had mixed results for his season with the Marlins and since he was quite far down the pecking order in the Astros system, having not progressed beyond the High A level in his final year with the Astros, it is unlikely that he would have been a factor for the Astros for quite some time (if ever). On the other side of the coin, the Astros drafted LHP (and former OF) Anthony Gose; that experiment lasted about a nanosecond before he was returned to the Rangers.

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. (In addition, look at the lists below of top prospects that other teams need to protect; it's not that easy to protect all the players that need to be protected and pick up one or two other players in the draft as well.)

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 2018 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.

AAA Position Players
#OF Drew Ferguson - Selected by Giants in Rule 5 Draft
IF Jack Mayfield
IF Antonio Nunez
C Jamie Ritchie
#C Garrett Stubbs - Contract selected
3B Nick Tanielu

AAA Pitchers
#Rogelio Armenteros - Contract selected
RHP Akeem Bostick
RHP Brock Dykxhoorn - contract purchased by KBO's SK Wyverns
LHP Kent Emanuel
RHP Justin Ferrell
#RHP Riley Ferrell - Selected by Marlins in Rule 5 Draft
#RHP Ralph Garza
RHP Brendan McCurry
RHP Cy Sneed
RHP Ryan Thompson (ended the season on the DL; TJ surgery) - Selected by the Rays in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft
#RHP Trent Thornton - traded to Blue Jays 11/17 in exchange for Aledmys Díaz

AA Position Players
None

AA Pitchers
#LHP Carlos Hiraldo
RHP Erasmo Pinales
#RHP Yoanys Quiala (on the restricted list)
#LHP Alex Winkelman

Position Players at High A or lower
#SS Jonathan Arauz
#C Oscar Campos
#C Ruben Castro
#C Carlos Canelon
#OF Bryan de la Cruz
IF Osvaldo Duarte
1B Luis Encarnacion
#OF Carlos Machado
#C Orlando Marquez
#OF Hector Martinez
#OF Andy Pineda
#IF Juan Pineda
#SS Miguelangel Sierra

Pitchers at High A or lower
#RHP Bryan Abreu - Contract selected
#RHP Jose Luis Hernandez
#RHP Hansel Paulino
#RHP Abdiel Saldana
#RHP Carlos Sanabria
#RHP Edgardo Sandoval
#RHP Gabriel Valdez

#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
3B/1B Randy Cesar - signed with the Twins 11/19
C Eduardo de Oleo
RHP Angel Heredia
RHP Matt Ramsey

NOTABLE RULE 5 ELIGIBLE PLAYERS FROM OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

As of November 20, 2018, the following players are not currently on their team's 40-man roster and will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft (or minor league free agency if so noted) this year; all of these players are currently ranked by MLB Pipeline as Top 30 prospects in their organization as of the same date. Please note that MLB Pipeline generally only re-shuffles the deck chairs during the season, adding new players and subtracting players who have been traded or graduated from prospect status and will not publish a truly updated Top 30 list until much later in the offseason; therefore, there will likely be other Top 30-caliber players who will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December who will not appear on this list. I will update these after the November 20th deadline. Numbers are from the current ranking on the 12/12 MLB Pipeline.

ARIZONA (40-man roster at 37 as of 12/12)
#7 OF Marcus Wilson
#11 RHP Taylor Clarke - Contract selected
#14 RHP Emilio Vargas - Contract selected
#20 3B/1B Kevin Cron - Contract selected
#23 LHP Alex Young
#24 LHP Cody Reed

ATLANTA (40-man roster at 39 as of 12/12)
#20 RHP Huascar Ynoa - Contract selected
#21 RHP Patrick Weigel - Contract selected
#22 OF Travis Demeritte
#26 C Alex Jackson - Contract selected
#27 RHP Josh Graham
#28 RHP Jacob Webb - Contract selected

BALTIMORE (40-man roster at 38 as of 12/12)
#6 RHP Dillon Tate - Contract selected
#29 LHP Luis Gonzalez

BOSTON (40 man roster at 39 as of 12/12)
#1 3B/1B Michael Chavis - Contract selected
#7 LHP Darwinzon Hernandez - Contract selected
#10 1B Josh Ockimey
#15 RHP Travis Lakins - Contract selected
#21 LHP Jhonathan Diaz
#23 C Roldani Baldwin
#27 RHP Roniel Raudes
#30 RHP Denyi Reyes - Contract selected

CHICAGO CUBS (40-man roster at 36 as of 12/12)
#8 LHP Justin Steele - Contract selected

CHICAGO WHITE SOX (40-man roster at 38 as of 12/12)
#3 RHP Dylan Cease - Contract selected
#19 LHP Kodi Medeiros - Contract selected
#20 RHP Jordan Stephens - Contract selected
#22 C Seby Zavala - Contract selected

CINCINNATI (40-man roster at 38 as of 12/12)
#13 RHP Jimmy Herget - Contract selected
#24 OF/1B Nick Longhi
NR: RHP Kyle Dowdy - Selected by Mets in Rule 5 Draft

CLEVELAND (40-man roster at 39 as of 12/12)
#7 1B Bobby Bradley - Contract selected
#8 LHP Sam Hentges - Contract selected

COLORADO (40-man roster at 39 as of 12/12)
#9 OF Sam Hilliard - Contract selected
#10 RHP Ryan Castellani - Contract selected
#16 RHP Justin Lawrence - Contract selected
#17 3B Josh Fuentes - Contract selected
#27 C Dom Nunez
NR: RHP Brandon Brennan - Selected by Mariners in the Rule 5 Draft

DETROIT (40-man roster at 38 as of 12/12)
#3 RHP Franklin Perez - Contract selected

HOUSTON (40-man roster at 38 as of 12/12)
#12 RHP Rogelio Armenteros - Contract selected
#15 C Garrett Stubbs - Contract selected
#17 RHP Riley Ferrell - Selected by Marlins in Rule 5 Draft
#24 SS Jonathan Arauz
NR: OF Drew Ferguson - Selected by Giants in the Rule 5 Draft

KANSAS CITY (40-man roster at 38 as of 12/12)
#11 RHP Josh Staumont - Contract selected
#23 RHP Elvis Luciano - Selected by Blue Jays in Rule 5 Draft
#26 RHP Scott Blewett - Contract selected

LOS ANGELES ANGELS (40-man roster at 37 as of 12/12)
#8 LHP Jose Suarez - Contract selected
#10 SS/2B Luis Rengifo - Contract selected

LOS ANGELES DODGERS (40-man roster at 40 as of 12/12)
#2 C Keibert Ruiz - Contract selected
#10 RHP Yadier Alvarez - Contract selected
#13 3B/1B Edwin Rios - Contract selected
#19 2B/SS Drew Jackson - Selected by Phillies in Rule 5 Draft
#21 1B/3B Matt Beaty - Contract selected
#29 RHP Andrew Sopko
NR: C Connor Joe - Selected by Reds in Rule 5 Draft

MIAMI (40-man roster at 38 as of 12/12)
#2 OF Monte Harrison - Contract selected
#6 RHP Jorge Guzman - Contract selected
#9 2B Isan Diaz - Contract selected
#17 RHP Jordan Yamamoto - Contract selected
#26 OF Brayan Hernandez
#29 OF Braxton Lee - Selected by Mets in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft
MILWAUKEE (40-man roster at 36 as of 12/12)
#13 RHP Trey Supak - Contract selected
#15 OF Troy Stokes Jr. - Contract selected

MINNESOTA (40-man roster at 40 as of 12/12)
#4 SS Nick Gordon - Contract selected
#13 OF Lamonte Wade - Contract selected
#15 2B Luis Arraez - Contract selected

NEW YORK METS (40-man roster at 36 as of 12/12)

NEW YORK YANKEES (40-man roster at 40 as of 12/12)
#27 1B/3B Dermis Garcia
NR: RHP Nick Green - Selected by Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 Draft

OAKLAND (40-man roster at 37 as of 12/12)
#9 RHP James Kaprielian - Contract selected
#12 SS Richie Martin - Selected by Orioles in the Rule 5 Draft
#15 RHP Grant Holmes - Contract selected
#28 RHP Carlos Ramirez (MiLB FA)
#30 OF Skye Bolt - Contract selected

PHILADELPHIA (40-man roster at 38 as of 12/12)
#3 RHP Adonis Medina - Contract selected
#11 SS Arquimedes Gamboa - Contract selected

PITTSBURGH (40-man roster at 39 as of 12/12)
#1 RHP Mitch Keller - Contract selected
#5 SS Cole Tucker - Contract selected
#13 OF Jason Martin - Contract selected

SAN DIEGO (40-man roster at 40 as of 12/12)
#5 RHP Chris Paddack - Contract selected
#12 RHP Anderson Espinoza - Contract selected
#25 C Austin Allen - Contract selected
#28 OF Edward Olivares - Contract selected
#29 RHP Pedro Avila - Contract selected

SAN FRANCISCO (40-man roster at 35 as of 12/12)
#11 RHP Logan Webb - Contract selected
#19 RHP Melvin Adon - Contract selected
#30 RHP Sam Coonrod - Contract selected

SEATTLE (40-man roster at 36 as of 12/12)
#8 OF Braden Bishop - Contract selected
#11 RHP Erik Swanson - Contract selected

ST. LOUIS (40-man roster at 40 as of 12/12)
#4 RHP Ryan Helsley - Contract selected
#13 LHP Genesis Cabrera - Contract selected
#20 IF Ramon Urias - Contract selected
#24 OF Wadye Ynfante
NR: RHP Chris Ellis - Selected by Rangers in Rule 5 Draft

TAMPA BAY (40-man roster at 40 as of 12/12)
#4 OF Jesus Sanchez - Contract selected
#17 OF Joe McCarthy - Contract selected
#29 RHP Ian Gibaut - Contract selected
NR: RHP Sam McWilliams - Selected by Royals in Rule 5 Draft

TEXAS (40-man roster at 35 as of 12/12)
#6 LHP Taylor Hearn - Contract selected
#22 OF Scott Heineman - Contract selected
#30 RHP Edgar Arredondo
NR: RHP Reed Garrett - Selected by Tigers in Rule 5 Draft

TORONTO (40-man roster at 38 as of 12/12)
#11 RHP Hector Perez - Contract selected
#22 RHP Trent Thornton - Contract selected
#28 RHP Jordan Romano - Selected by White Sox in the Rule 5 Draft
NR: LHP Travis Bergen - Selected by Giants in Rule 5 Draft

WASHINGTON (40-man roster at 38 as of 12/12)
#16 RHP James Bourque - Contract selected

5 comments:

  1. I'm thinking protect Stubbs for sure. A catcher that hits and throws out runners.
    Maybe Tanielu as insurance if we lose Marwin? Probably doesn't need to be protected.
    Then Carlos Sierra at CC... Dood never walks anyone.

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    1. Agreed on Stubbs. Beyond that? A case could be made for several of these guys. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if a team poaches a lower level pitcher like they did last year (Elieser Hernandez) with my money being on Bryan Abreu if that happens. But, of course, there are 5 or 6 pitchers on the AAA roster alone that are ready or close to ready for the bigs. So much depends on who will ultimately have room after they protect their own guys.

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    2. Carlos Sierras walk numbers aren't that impressive..

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  2. Stubbs and Armenteros should/will get spots

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  3. FYI, Randy Cesar just signed with the Twins. I think Rogelio Armenteros and Garrett Stubbs are likely the only ones to be protected, maybe Riley Ferrell due to his being a high draft pick.

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