3 Sleepers for Sox in Rule 5 Draft

Sure, there were a few rare gems claimed in past Rule 5 drafts like:  Roberto Clemente, Darrell Evans, Bobby Bonilla, George Bell and, recently with Johan Santana [1999] and finding that  “diamond in the haystack” is nearly impossible, but, the Red Sox could bitch slap the Yankees by taking Omar Luis, a Cuban LHP, who signed a seven-figure contract last year is an unexpected entry in next month’s Rule 5 draft. [SEE Primer below.]

omar“The Yankees signed Cuban lefthander Omar Luis last year for a $4 million bonus, with an official contract date of July 1, 2012, the day before the inaugural $2.9 million international bonus pools went into effect.

However, Luis and several other Cuban players also represented by Praver Shapiro Sports Management who were claiming permanent residency in Haiti ran into visa issues and were unable to get into the United States. When Luis arrived in the U.S. this year after spending eight months in Haiti, an unknown issue popped up in his physical, which led the Yankees to void the contract.

Luis signed a new contract with the Yankees for a reduced bonus—$2.5 million—on April 9, 2013. Since Luis signed his second contract with his original team and the Yankees did not place him on their 40-man roster, he is available in the Rule 5 draft, which is Dec. 12.”

[http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/surprise-player-available-in-rule-5-draft/]

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UPDATE:

Here are the results from the draft, with a few notes on the players taken and their immediate future.

No. 1: Astros Select LHP Patrick Schuster (Traded to SD)
No. 2: White Sox Select C Adrien Nieto
No. 3: Phillies Select RHP Kevin Munson
No. 4: Rockies Select RHP Thomas Kahnle
No. 5: Blue Jays Select LHP Brian Moran (Traded to LAA)
No. 6: Mets Select RHP Seth Rosin (Traded to LAD)
No. 7: Brewers Select LHP Wei-Chung Wang
No. 8: Diamondbacks Select RHP Marcos Mateo
No. 9: Orioles Select 3B Michael Almanzar

Some of these players have already been dealt after the draft ended. The Astros traded Patrick Schuster to San Diego as part of the Anthony Bass trade from Wednesday (via MLB.com).

Brian Moran went from Toronto to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for international spending money, per Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet Canada.

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FIRST BASE PROSPECTS

With the pool dominated by pitchers and the Red Sox lack of prospects for First base, GM Cherington may want to take a look at:

Andy Wilkins, first baseman, White Sox – Since being taken in the fifth round out of the University of Arkansas in 2010, Wilkins’ prospect stock has gone on a bit of a roller-coaster ride.

He was ranked among the White Sox top 20 prospects following a solid campaign (.278/.349/.485, 23 homers) in 2011, only to drop out after last year (.239/.335/.425, 17 homers).

He rebounded a bit in 2013, slashing .277/.353/.452 with 17 homers between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He could provide a team with some decent left-handed power off the bench immediately.

Also, there is the son of former Met Lenny Dykstra, First baseman, Allan Dykstra:

“Allan hit .308/.444/.481 for the 2007 Chatham A’s in the Cape Cod League. He was 8th in the league in average, third in RBI (31) and third in OBP. He made the CCL All-Star team at DH. Baseball America named him the #16 prospect in the Cape Cod League.

Allan batted .323/.519/.645 in his junior year, 2008. He led the Deamon Deacons in average, slugging, OBP, runs, RBI, home runs, total bases, walks and HBP. He was selected to the ACC All-Tournament team.

In June, Dykstra was the 23rd overall pick by the San Diego Padres in the MLB amatuer draft. He was signed by scout Ash Lawson and made his pro debut with the Lake Elsinore Storm on August 24, going 0 for 3 with 2 walks, 2 strikeouts and a run against the Bakersfield Blaze. With only 7 games left in the season after his debut, Dykstra finshed with a .292/.469/458 with 5 runs scored and 10 RBI.” [http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Allan_Dykstra]

If you are looking for some glints of gold in the prospector’s pan, here is a list collected from experts about the web:

Sam Dykstra/MiLB.com thinks these 5 unprotected players may be taken:

 

Brian Fletcher, outfielder, Royals – Like Wilkins, there’s lots of pop to Fletcher’s game that could catch a club’s eye. The 25-year-old left fielder battled injury issues last season but managed to hit 17 homers and put up a .505 slugging percentage in 78 games between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. The 2010 18th-rounder has hit 48 long balls in 305 Minor League games and owns a career .837 OPS. Considered a below-average defender, he spent a decent amount of time as a DH in 2013 and actually received most of his starts at first base at the Class A Advanced level in 2012 before the Royals decided to keep him in left. It’s likely that it’s his defense and low walk rates (5.4 percent in 2013) that kept the former Auburn slugger from being protected by the Royals, but another club might deem his big bat worthy of a look.

A.J. Schugel, right-handed pitcher, Angels – If you were to look at the back of Schugel’s baseball card, you probably wouldn’t like what you see from his time at Triple-A Salt Lake last season. A 4-6 record. A 7.05 ERA over 19 starts. A .324 batting average-against. That’s not particularly exciting. However, his peripherals look a little better. A 4.49 FIP. 7.66 K/9 (in line with career averages). 3.32 BB/9 (lowest for a full season in his career). And then there’s the .376 BABIP, which might suggest he wasn’t getting much help defensively. Since the college infielder made the move to the mound after being drafted in 2010, Schugel’s shown in flashes that he has dominant stuff, especially on the fastball side. That could be enough for a team to take him, although it’s likely that they’d do so with a relief role in mind.

 

Tommy Kahnle, right-handed pitcher, Yankees – This seems like a cut-and-dry pick here. Known as a high-velocity hurler, Kahnle has been known to rack up strikeouts by the handful. He finished with 74 strikeouts in 60 innings last season — a K/9 rate of 11.1 — to go with a 2.85 ERA for Double-A Trenton. A 6.75 BB/9 — a number that was raised when issued two or more free passes in five of his final six appearances — is cause for concern, but he’s shown the stuff to be more than effective in extended outings of the bullpen. That’s perfect Rule 5 bait.

Seth Blair, right-handed pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals – This might be the definition of a flyer, but hear me out on this one. Like Schugel, Blair’s numbers weren’t all that great in 2013 — 3-9, 5.07 ERA, 18 homers in 129 2/3 innings. That came at Double-A Springfield and followed a year after a tumor in his knuckle caused him to miss most of 2012. All that against him, scouts still seem to like him, and indeed he is currently ranked No. 12 among Cardinals prospects. His fastball is average, but his curveball projects to be a 60 on the 20-80 scale. Command issues were the biggest concern entering this year, and his walk rate dropped from 6.83 BB/9 in 2011 (his last full season) to 3.33 in 2013. The Cardinals would probably prefer that he iron out his other issues in their system, even if they didn’t add him to their 40-man roster. But another organization might be willing to give him a shot (and a new opportunity) as a long reliever/emergency starter.

SLEEPER:

The Phillies surprisingly didn’t protect Seth Rosin. He was promising with the Giants with great command and can start or relieve; he led the Cal league in saves before they put him back to starter. “Big strong reliable pitcher that throws gas.”

Atlanta

Ronan Pacheco has LOOGY potential if he can find the plate without a GPS and Mycal Jones could be stashed as a 5th OF/pinch runner.

Mets

Three pitchers: TJ Chism, Darin Gorski, and Joel Carreno, a first baseman (Allan Dykstra) and corner man Eric Campbell. Most likely to be taken bolded.

Marlins

Right handed starter Bryan Evans, right handed reliever Steve Ames and southpaw reliever James Leverton. Ames is the most likely of the three with Leverton second most and Evans bringing up the rear.

Nationals

OF  Destin Hood, infielder Jeff Kobernus, LHP Danny Rosenbaum and right-handed pitcher Rob Wort. Kobernus, one of the fastest players in the Nationals‘ minor league system, and Wort, who has little experience but a big arm, could be likely targets of other teams.

The experts at FANSIDED’s Cubbie Crib say these are some possible diamonds in the rough:

Matt Clark, 1B
Clark is in the Padres organization, and he has put up some solid numbers in the upper minors. I particularly like that he cut back on his strike outs between Double A and Triple A. He’s a big guy with a left handed swing, reasonably patient at the plate, and is only 24. It is not often you see everyday position players emerge from the Rule 5 draft, but Clark could be one of the special ones. Jed Hoyer is certainly familiar with Clark. It remains to be seen if he believes in him enough to draft him for the Cubs.

Cesar Cabral, LHP
Carbral is one of the more talked about names in this draft. The lefty reliever has promising stuff and should have little trouble sticking around a major league bullpen for a season. Because he is so well thought and because he is a left handed reliever, I tend to think he will be off the board before the Cubs get a chance to make their selection. If he is around, do not be surprised if the Cubs opt to add to their already deep bullpen.

Jiwan James, OF
This Phillie prospect is standing in for a number of similar players, including the White Sox’ Jordan Danks and the Cardinals Thomas Pham. There are a number of fairly fast, athletic outfielders with good to great speed available in this draft. In many cases, their upside is tremendous. If the Cubs opted to move in this direction, they would be taking a player with a lot of future potential that would spend 2012 as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. Basically, the Cubs would be replacing Tony Campana with a player who can do everything Campana does, but has the potential to become much, much better. It would be a risky gamble, but given the right player it is a gamble the Cubs are in a position to take.

T.J. McFarland, LHP
Starting pitchers are very hard to find in the Rule 5, but in McFarland we might not only have a potential starter, but a left handed one at that. McFarland has the size that scouts like to see in a starter, and since he just put up 130 innings at Double A. I feel fairly confident he could pitch about 180 in the majors next season. His numbers say he could stand to improve his control, but he does avoid the long ball. I think he would be more likely to stick with the Cubs out of the pen than in the starting rotation, but his potential as a back of the rotation guy cannot be ignored.

The experts at FANSIDED’s Puckett’s Pond say these are some possible diamonds in the rough:

 

1. Thomas Pham, OF, Cardinals, 24 years old on Opening Day

Pham lost time to a hand injury last year, but in his 143 PAs at AA, he hit .294/.372/.517, following a .339/.429/.537 performance in 2010. He has also stolen 17 or more bases in each of his last three full seasons. He is a righty with power and on-base skills. Assuming that he is healthy, Pham would be my top choice on this list. But I don’t make the decisions, so let’s look at some other candidates.

2. Bryce Stowell, RHP, Indians, 25

The Twins have recently developed a fascination with hard-throwing relief pitchers (see Jim Hoey and Lester Oliveros). Stowell would be another interesting addition in that mold, as he can hit 97 with his fastball. Unlike Hoey, he has a good slider as well. He has great minor league strikeout rates, and he made it as high as AAA in 2010.

3. Rossmel Perez, C, Reds, 22

Perez has never been above High A ball, but he hit .287/.373/.342 there last year. He knows how to get on base, and as a #3 catcher, he’d only need to play about 15 to 20 games in 2012. He’s also 5’9”, so the Twins pitchers should appreciate his “low target.” Even if he didn’t impress at the MLB level, Perez could go back to the minors for more seasoning in 2013.

4. Chad Tracy, OF, Rangers, 26

Tracy would fill an immediate need for the Twins, because he is a righthanded hitting outfielder with power. He hit 26 homers for the Ranger AAA squad in 2011. His .339 OBP was lower than you’d like to see for a minor league outfielder, but it might be a fluke, as his on-base numbers have been better in the past. Tracy also has experience at first base and catcher, so he could be something of a utility guy. Tracy isn’t as projectable as Pham, but he’s probably more polished, given his extra minor league experience.

5. Ethan Martin, RHP, Dodgers, 22

This guy is a project, but he has a fastball in the upper 90s and a good curveball that might make him worth the effort. Aside from huge strikeout rates, his minor league numbers haven’t been very good. But he settled down a bit last year, going 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA in 40 AA innings. He could be a power reliever one day.

6. Kyle Russell, OF, Dodgers, 25

Russell is an intriguing all-or-nothing hitter. He has big power and decent on-base skills, but he strikes out a lot (144 times in 447 AA plate appearances last year). If the Twins can overlook the K rate, Russell is 6’5” and only 185 pounds, so he has the potential to become a huge power guy if he gains a little muscle weight. He is a lefthanded hitter, though, so that might be a negative for the Twins.

7. Cesar Cabral, LHP, Red Sox, 23

Cabral struck out 70 batters in 54 innings between Class A and AA last year. A lefty reliever who can strike guys out is always a nice thing to have.

Wild Card: Pat Venditte, RHP and LHP, Yankees, 26

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PRIMER FOR RULE 5 DRAFT

Basically the Rule 5 draft prevents teams from stocking up on young talent without giving them a chance to play in the majors; scouts refer to it as a “second tryout.”

Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older must be protected within four seasons.

Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn’t stay on the selecting team’s 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $25,000.

It costs $12,000 to take a player in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 and $4,000 in the Double-A portion. In these phases, there are no rules about what level the selected prospect must play to remain with his new organization.

Since 2006, there have been 121 players taken in the Major League phase of the past seven Rule 5 Drafts. A total of 38 of those players stuck in the big leagues — not always with the original team that took them — the following season, for a success rate of 31 percent.

Thirty-three players from that group of 121 (27 percent) spent time in the Major Leagues in 2013. Even taking out the eight players from the 2012 Rule 5 Draft who were in the Majors this past season, that still left a better-than-expected rate of 24 percent of Rule 5 players seeing some time at the highest level.

“The Rule 5 Draft is a non-amateur draft conducted annually at the Winter Meetings. Not to be confused with the Rule 4 Draft, which occurs in June and is often called “the draft” or “the amateur draft,” the Rule 5 Draft does not involve high school or collegiate athletes, but players already on major and minor league rosters.

The Rule 5 Draft occurs in three phases, the MLB phase, where eligible players can be selected and placed on the 25-man roster for a $50,000 fee, and the Triple-A and Double-A phases, where players can be selected for a fee if they are not on the protected list, but in this phase, they do not need to go to the 25-man roster.

Remember

● Rule 5 Draft draftees must stay on the MLB roster all season. If they go to the DL, they must be active for at least 90 days — so if the draftee misses a whole season, they must be on the active roster for 90 days the following season to satisfy the Rule 5 Draft requirements.

● Teams must pay a fee for every player drafted: $50,000 (MLB phase); $12,000 (AAA phase); and $4,000 (AA phase).

● Players on the 40-man roster are protected from all phases of the draft.”

[http://www.fangraphs.com/library/rule-5-draft/]

 

Tags: Rule 5 Draft Sleepers

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