Rule 5 Draft yields 'premium strike-thrower'

December 11th, 2020

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers added a candidate for their 2021 bullpen on Thursday, when they selected right-handed reliever from the Dodgers with the second overall pick of the Rule 5 Draft.

The 23-year-old de Geus will come to Spring Training with a real chance to make the team as a middle reliever. A 33rd-round Draft pick in 2017 out of Cabrillo Community College in Aptos, Calif., de Geus pitched for Class A Great Lakes and Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga in ’19. Over 39 games, he was 6-2 with a 1.75 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP and eight saves. He averaged 10.5 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per nine innings. He followed that up with eight appearances and 9 1/3 scoreless innings in the Arizona Fall League, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out 11.

“They put him in the bullpen in 2019, and at three levels he was basically dominant,” Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said. “He is able to pitch multi-inning stints. He is a premium strike-thrower, top of the charts. He excels at keeping the ball down, pounding the zone and missing a fair number of bats. That’s a pretty good combination.”

de Geus, who now ranks No. 29 on the Rangers' Top 30 Prospects list, has a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s with a plus cutter and curve in his three-pitch mix. He began his pro career as a starter in 2018 but had a 7.26 ERA in 15 games and was moved to the bullpen the following year. He did not pitch in ’20 because of the Minor League shutdown, although he had a brief stay at the Dodgers’ alternate training site.

“His velo was down a tick at the alternate site,” Daniels said. “He was only there for a brief amount of time. He is not alone, depending what guys had to work with, some were in a better spot than others. Not surprising some guys had a slight tick down in velocity, but hopefully, with a normal offseason and Spring Training, he is able to get his strength back and that velocity will get back up.”

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In the Triple-A phase of the Draft, the Rangers selected right-handed pitcher Matt Wivinis from the Yankees, catcher Yohel Pozo from the Padres and right-hander Justin Marsden from the Rays.

After a year in independent ball, Wivinis spent three seasons in the Yankees’ system, reaching Double-A Trenton in 2019. Over those three seasons, he had a combined 2.23 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

Pozo was in the Rangers’ organization from his signing out of Venezuela in 2013 until he took his Minor League free agency this winter and signed with the Padres. The Rangers got him back through the Rule 5 Draft. He was a South Atlantic League All-Star with Class A Hickory in 2018.

Marsden was 3-5 with a 5.79 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 2019, splitting the season between Class A Bowling Green and Class A Advanced Charlotte.

The Rangers lost first baseman Tyreque Reed to the Red Sox and infielder/outfielder Brendon Davis to the Angels in the first round of the Triple-A phase. Davis was one of three players acquired from the Dodgers on July 31, 2017 for pitcher Yu Darvish. Right-handed pitchers Dylan Bice (Marlins) and Wes Robertson (Reds) were taken in the lower rounds.

The Rule 5 Draft allows clubs without a full 40-man roster to select eligible players from other clubs. Clubs picking a player in the Major League phase must pay $100,000 to the team that lost the player.

A Rule 5 draftee who is not kept on the 26-man roster for the entire season must be placed on outright waivers. If the player clears waivers, he must be offered back to his previous team for $50,000.

A player selected in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft remains with his new club, which makes a $24,000 payment to the draftee’s former team.