Nats protect 6 players from Rule 5 Draft

November 15th, 2022

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals had decisions to make on Tuesday, the deadline to protect prospects from the Rule 5 Draft. Among the group of eligible players were six of their Top 30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline, and an unranked prospect who could contend for the starting third-base role next season -- all with only two open spots on the 40-man roster.

Washington selected the contracts of infielder Jake Alu, outfielder Jeremy De La Rosa (ranked No. 10), right-handers Jake Irvin and Jackson Rutledge (No. 12), and left-handers Matt Cronin (No. 25) and Jose Ferrer (No. 23).

To create space on the 40-man roster, the Nationals outrighted outfielder Yadiel Hernandez, left-hander Evan Lee (No. 29) and right-hander Jackson Tetreault to Triple-A Rochester after they cleared waivers. The team also designated righty Tommy Romero for assignment.

Of their Top 30 prospects, the Nats did not protect right-hander Aldo Ramirez (No. 18) and catcher Drew Millas (No. 30). These prospects could be selected by another club in the Rule 5 Draft, which is slated for Dec. 7 at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.

How is eligibility determined?

Rule 5 Draft-eligible players are those who signed with a team at 18 years old or younger and were not added to the 40-man roster within five seasons, and those who signed at 19 years old and were not added within four seasons. International prospects or high school Draft picks who signed in 2018 and college players selected in the ‘19 Draft were eligible this year.

Protected from Rule 5 Draft:

INF Jake Alu, 25
Appearing in 132 games (114 at third base) between Double-A Harrisburg and Rochester, Alu led Nats Minor Leaguers with a .299 batting average, .506 slugging percentage, .871 OPS, 40 doubles, 62 extra-base hits and 254 total bases. The lefty hitter wrapped the season with a 20-game on-base streak, and he earned Washington’s Minor League Nationals Way Award.

LHP Matt Cronin, 25
Cronin tossed 52 innings across 48 relief appearances between Double-A and Triple-A in 2022. He went 4-1 with a 2.42 ERA.

OF Jeremy De La Rosa, 20
Named a Nationals Minor League co-Hitter of the Year, De La Rosa slashed .280/.358/.436 with a .794 OPS, 111 hits, 66 runs scored, 23 doubles, 11 home runs and 67 RBIs in 101 games between Single-A and High-A. He also nabbed 39 bases.

LHP Jose Ferrer, 22
Ferrer pitched to a 3-2 record, a 2.48 ERA and 11 saves across 65 1/3 frames in 48 relief appearances. He was named Cade Cavalli’s replacement in the Futures Game during All-Star Weekend.

RHP Jake Irvin, 25
In his comeback from Tommy John surgery, Irvin made 24 starts between Wilmington and Harrisburg this season. He was 0-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 103 1/3 innings.

RHP Jackson Rutledge, 23
Rutledge, a 2019 first-round pick who has battled injuries, made 20 starts with Fredericksburg this season. He went 8-6 with a 4.90 ERA and 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings across 97 1/3 frames.

What’s next?
In the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, clubs pay $100,000 to select a player. That player must be offered back to his former organization for $50,000 if he does not remain on the 25-man roster for the complete season.