Here’s our annual ritual. Discussing the Rule 5 draft and the impact it has on rosters.
According to my Off-Season Baseball Calendar teams have just a few days (Nov 18th) to add players to the 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule-5 draft (which occurs the last day of the winter meetings (this year, at the Gaylord Hotel in the Maryland waterfront in early Dec).
As always, using the indispensable Nationals resource sites Draft tracker and the Big Board, and then looking up candidate acquisitions made via trade, here’s some thoughts on who might merit protection. The quick Rule-5 rules; any college-aged draftee from 2012 or before who isn’t already on the 40-man roster is Rule-5 eligible this coming off season, and any high-school aged draftee/International Free Agent from 2011 or before is newly eligible this year.
Newly Eligible 2013 draft College Players this year worth consideration for protection:
- Jake Johansen: Only listed because of his draft round and bonus; Johansen has been a huge disappointment and will not be protected.
- Austin Voth: Absolutely has to be protected and should have been added on 9/1 to get him some MLB innings.
- John Simms: Put up solid numbers in AA and could feature in AAA this year, but isn’t a shoe-in to immediately contribute at the MLB level. Arguable whether he’s worth protecting. I would, but then again, i’m pro-prospect.
Not mentioned: several other draftees from this class that are marginal prospects right now: Cody Gunter, David Masters, William (Isaac) Ballou, Justin Thomas and Matthew DeRosier. All of these guys are scuffling or trending down in my analysis and are not risks for being drafted. Also did not mention any MLFA’s picked up that were 2013 draftees (Philip Walby, Jake Mayers) since they’re both in the low-minors.
Newly Eligible 2012 High School-age drafted players under consideration for protection
- None: the only HS-age draftee from 2012 that remains in our system is Lucas Giolito, who was added to the 40-man mid 2016 season.
Newly Eligible 2012 signed IFAs under consideration for protection:
- Osvaldo Abreu: slashed .247/.328/.346 as the starting SS for Potomac. Has neatly risen one level every year, so seems project-able to AA for 2017. I can’t see him getting drafted though considering he had a .674 OPS figure in High-A this year, even given that he could provide MIF cover for a MLB team. Has gotten some notice on prospect lists.
- Rafael Bautista: slashed .282/.344/.341 with 56 stolen bases in 136 games playing mostly CF/RF for Harrisburg. A CF with that kind of speed who maintains his BA and OBP is worth protecting. Turns 24 before next season though.
- Jefry Rodriguez: went 7-11 with a 4.96 ERA in 25 starts for Low-A Hagerstown. Rodriguez was on our lips for a while as a potential high end prospect … until he couldn’t succeed outside of short-season ball. 2016 was the third year he’s competed in Hagerstown and a 4.96 ERA isn’t going to cut it. He’s no threat to get drafted but probably keeps moving up the system.
- Philips Valdez: went 12-7 with a 4.24 ERA across two-levels and 27 starts this year. He turns 25 in a few days. Despite being a AA starter, I’m not sure any team would really roll the dice on him in Rule-5. He “only” had 109 Ks in 152 IP this year, not exactly overpowering stuff. He also got hit in AA; i can see him starting in AA rotation again next season.
- David Ramos spent most of 2016 on the D/L in Auburn and has never pitched above low-A ball. Not a candidate to be protected.
Not mentioned: several 2012 IFA signings throughout the lower levels of the system. This includes Andres Martinez, Darryl Florentino, Mario Sanchez, Brayan Serrata.
One other significant 2012 IFA signee is already on the 40-man: Reynaldo Lopez.
Rule-5 Eligible hold-overs of note: 2012 or prior college draftees still hanging out in the system, or 2011 and prior HS/IFAs.
- Raudy Read: slashed .262/.324/.415 in a full year catching in High-A. Promising, but he’s also already 23. Considering a rule-5 draft of a player like Read brings back memories of our own drafting of Jesus Flores.
- Bryan Mejia: slashed .241/.279/.347 starting a full year playing 2B for High-A. Not a ton of power there; little chance of being drafted, no prospect buzz.
- Jose Marmolejos (no longer -Diaz): slashed .289/.370/.475 between High-A and AA while earning his 2nd straight Nats minor league hitter of the year award. Good slugging percentage showing lots of gap power and some home-run power, but he’s already 1B-only and is 23.
- Hector Silvestre: spent most of 2016 doing short stints/rehab assignments after missing all of 2015. 9 starts, 1.42 ERA amongst all A-ball affiliates. Looks promising for us, but no need for Rule-5 protection at this point.
- Gilberto Mendez: nice numbers as a late-inning reliever for High-A (2.09 ERA, 8 saves). Turns 24 tomorrow and is an undersized RHP reliever; no risk of being picked.
- Wirkin Estevez (2010 IFA): 5.03 ERA as a swingman for Potomac after missing all of 2016. No risk of being drafted.
- Wander Suero (2010 IFA): 3-0 with a 2.44 ERA, 48/21 K/BB ratio in 55 AA innings. Solid numbers … but not a lefty so seems unlikely to get drafted. But he’s really no different than Simms, so he’s a maybe.
2012 College Draftees that are Rule-5 holdovers include Perez, Benincasa, Self, Pena, Orlan; none are really worth protecting. There are no 2011 HS draftees still remaining in the system. Other 2011 IFAs still around but not mentioned: Anderson Martinez, Diomedes Eusebio, Randy Encarnacion, Jorge Tillero. 2010 IFAs still hanging around not otherwise mentioned: Adderling Ruiz, Narciso Mesa. All are so low in the system they’re not worth mentioning.
So, who would I protect? As of today, the team has a ton of open slots on the 40-man roster to work with (32 of 40 as of this writing), but has to “save” some room for some clear FA/trade acquisitions. There’s also (arguably) a bit of wiggle room there; I see at least 4-5 additional guys on the current 40-man who could make way if need be.
- Locks: Voth, Bautista
- Maybes: Simms, Abreu, Read, Marmolejos, Suero, Valdez
Who would I protect? Probably Voth, Bautista and Marmolejos. I’d roll the dice leaving the likes of Abreu and Read unprotected despite their presence on prospect lists, and I’d roll the dice leaving Simms, Suero and Valdez unprotected since they’re all RHP and none has pitched above AA.
Thoughts? Opinions? Did I forget anyone and/or am I considering the wrong guys? These IFAs are always iffy in terms of eligibility, and some of the MLFAs are confusing too in terms of their status. So let me know if I’m missing someone.
MLBpipeline posted its Rule5 analysis and mentioned (for the nats) the four names we’re bouncing around here as well. We don’t have any super-high ranked prospects to protect like other teams.
11/18/16: official announcement: Voth, Bautista, Marmolejos, Read and Skole. Most surprised by Skole, who I didn’t even bother to do analysis about above thanks to his lack of a 9/1 call up this year.
By year, here’s who I predicted we’d add and who we did add.
- 2016: Predicted Voth, Bautista. Actual: Voth, Bautista, Marmolejos, Read and Skole.
- 2015: Predicted Kieboom, Bostick, Marmolejos-Diaz. Actual: Kieboom, Bostick, Lee
- 2014: Predicted Cole, Skole, Goodwin. Hedged on Grace, Martin and Difo. Actual: Cole, Goodwin, Difo, Grace.
- 2013: Predicted Solis as the only lock (Souza already added). Possibles mentioned in order Barrett, Taylor, Grace, Holland. Actual: Solis, Barrett, Taylor.
- 2012: Predicted Karns and McCoy, with Hood and Rosenbaum as maybes. Actual: Karns and Davis. I think we were all surprised by Davis’ inclusion, despite his good AA numbers that year.
- 2011: Predicted Norris as a lock, guessed strongly on Moore, Meyers and Komatsu. Actual: Norris, Moore, Solano, Perez. This was poor analysis on my part; I did not consider the IFAs newly eligible.
- 2010: Predicted Marrero, Meyers and Mandel. Actual: Marrero, Carr and Kimball.
- 2009: pre-dates my blog and thus no predictions, but Actual was Jaime, Thompson and Severino.
- 2008: I might be wrong, but I don’t see any evidence of the team protecting *anyone* prior to the Rule-5 draft. A bit of an indictment of the farm system at the time, I’d say