LA protects 5 players from Rule 5 Draft

Dodgers DFA McKinney, Reks to clear space on 40-man roster

November 20th, 2021

The Dodgers added outfielder James Outman, infielders Jacob Amaya, Eddys Leonard and Jorbit Vivas and right-hander Michael Grove to the 40-man roster on Friday, protecting them from getting taken during the Dec. 8 Rule 5 Draft.

To make room on the 40-man roster -- which is now at a full 40 -- Los Angeles designated outfielders Billy McKinney and Zach Reks for assignment. Reks, a 10th-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, went 0-for-10 for the Dodgers this past season. McKinney hit .146 with one homer in 82 at-bats with Los Angeles.

Of the group added to the 40-man roster, Outman, Amaya and Grove were expected additions.

Outman, 24, tapped into some of his power in 2021, hitting 18 homers between High-A Great Lakes and Double-A Tulsa. He has continued his strong year in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .292 with three homers and a .994 OPS in 20 games for the Glendale Desert Dogs. He was named to the AFL Fall Stars Game last Saturday.

Amaya, 23, is the Dodgers’ No. 14 prospect per MLB Pipeline and could be a contributor at the Major League level in 2022. He has also made a strong impression in the Arizona Fall League, batting .320 with three homers and six RBIs in 18 games. Amaya is believed to be a smooth defender at multiple infield positions, especially shortstop.

Grove, 24, has some of the best raw stuff in Los Angeles' system, according to some scouts, but the right-hander had some struggles in 2021. He went 1-4 with a 7.86 ERA over 71 innings for Double-A Tulsa, although he racked up 88 strikeouts. The Dodgers believe that if Grove can correct his delivery and command, he could contribute to the big league team as early as ‘22.

The two surprise additions to the 40-man roster were Leonard and Vivas, given both players are at least a couple seasons away from making an impact in the Majors. But both have plenty of talent and upside. If they continue their developments, many inside the Dodgers’ organization believe the two infielders could be top prospects as they continue to move through the Minors.

The 21-year-old Leonard, who is Los Angeles' No. 18 prospect, split the 2021 season between Low-A Rancho Cucamonga and High-A Great Lakes, hitting .296 with 22 homers over 107 total games. Vivas, 20, also excelled at the plate this season, batting .312 with 26 doubles, 14 homers and 87 RBIs in 106 games between Rancho Cucamonga and Great Lakes.

Friday brought a 3 p.m. PT deadline for clubs to protect prospects from the Dec. 8 Rule 5 Draft by adding them to their 40-man rosters. Players signed at 18 years old or younger 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 $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.