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.
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.
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.
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.