Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; USA pitcher Anthony Ranaudo throws a pitch during the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Who should the Sox protect in the upcoming rule V draft?

With the Rule V draft sitting just under a week away, the Red Sox have a litany of decisions to make ahead of the draft on November 20th. This year the Sox have a whopping 38 MiLB players who are eligible for selection, and, by my dubious calculations, have only four open spots on the 40-man roster.

Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; USA infielder Garin Cecchini hits a RBI double during the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. USA defeated World 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Granted things can change in a week. Boston could opt to either designate any number of these players for assignment or simply not tender some guy contracts (Andrew Bailey springs to mind). Ben Cherington and the rest of Boston’s brass has to be mindful that protecting a player from selection clogs a roster spot and so, too many protections could leave too few spots on the roster for Major League free agents.

For anyone that doesn’t know, the rule V draft is a means of allowing players who are wallowing in (usually) the high minors, the chance to stick with a big league club in the upcoming season. Players who are eligible selection must have been in the minors for either four or five drafts, depending on their age at the time of the signing of their first professional contract. In the Major League portion of the Draft, big league clubs may rifle through another teams system and select a player who meets the eligibility criteria and is not on their parent club’s 40-man roster.

Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; USA pitcher Anthony Ranaudo throws a pitch during the first inning of the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The one caveat to the selection process is that player selected must remain on the selecting team’s 25-man roster for the entirety of the following season or be offered back to the team from whom they were poached for half of the $50,000 selection fee.

Last year, the Red Sox protected six and lost two players, Josh Fields was selected by the Astros and Ryan Pressly was taken by the Twins. Both players remained on the active roster all year-long, and are now property of their respective clubs. The six players protected were Allen Webster, Christian Vazquez, Dan Butler, Alex Wilson, Alex Hassan, and Steven Wright.

This year, the Red Sox have three obvious choices, in my opinion, to save from selection. In no particular order, they are Garin Cecchini, Bryce Brentz, and Anthony Ranaudo.

July 11, 2012; Reading, PA USA; Portland SeaDogs player Bryce Brentz (25) smiles after fouling off a pitch during the AA Eastern League All-Star game at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Eastern Division defeated the Western Division, 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Cecchini, a third baseman, is probably the most impressive of that bunch. Between High A and AA this year, he hit .322/.443/.471 and has continued to impress during his stint in the AFL. Ranaudo, though, isn’t far behind though, as the 6-foot-7 right hander put up staggering numbers at AA and AAA this season. Once considered one of the best arms in his draft, injuries have slowed both his college and professional careers, but when healthy, he is one of the best arms in the Sox’ system. Brentz is probably the biggest longshot of my group, but he’s a guy who would probably have been in Spring Training if he hadn’t shot himself in the leg whilst cleaning a gun. Brentz has plus power, but not much else going for him, he can hit for a decent average but shows a reluctance to be patient and struck out once out of every four at bats in 2013.

There may be some surprises this year as there were last year; Hassan was rarely figured to get protection. However at the very least, these three players are all deserving of protection for one reason or another.

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  • John Fahrer

    They’ll definitely protect all three of those players. Cecchini and Ranaudo are definitely slam dunks. Brentz’s place in the organization long-term is questionable given his age and plate approach (like Middlebrooks he seems to be impatient and strikeout-prone, which doesn’t exactly fit the organization’s philosophy). Regardless, it’d be better to protect him and trade him later than lose him for a minimal cost.

    Another guy worth protecting: RHP Luis Diaz. Number 22 on the soxprospects.com list. One spot behind Alex Hassan and ahead of Steven Wright, Alex Wilson, and Dan Butler. All on the 40 man roster. Diaz is 21 and already 230 lbs at 6’3″ and had good numbers in 2013. Will probably begin the year in high A with an inevitable call up to Double A.

    • Harry Burnham

      The problem with Diaz is that it’s hard to justify a spot to a guy who is as far away from the majors as he is. Conversely, that too works in Boston’s favor, as it would be hard for a team to stash him on their major league roster for a season
      It is possible hw could go in the minor league portion of the draft, but he is likely on either the double A or triple A reserve roster. I suspect that Boston values him within the top 115 players in their system, so chances are he is protected from at least double A selection.

      • John Fahrer

        That is true. But they have protected Drake Britton and Stolmy Pimentel in years past when neither had yet to reach the upper levels. Not counting non-tenders (Bailey and possibly Morales), there are currently four vacancies on the roster. So the option to add Diaz is there. You really never know what a club like Houston or Miami will do. Since they have nothing to lose (aside from 100+ games) they could take a chance on a guy like Diaz.