Here's how last year's Rule 5 picks are faring

April 2nd, 2024

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A total of 10 players were taken in the Major League phase of last December’s Rule 5 Draft. With all of the attention given to the top-of-the-list type prospects, we’ve kind of missed how that group fared in Spring Training.

Until now, thanks to a nudge from an emailer who seemed certain fans were clamoring for an update. Remember, a guy taken in the Major League phase has to stick on the big league roster with the team that took him or get offered back to his original team. Here’s how things transpired:

Mitch Spence, RHP, A’s (taken from Yankees): Spence, now the A’s No. 25 prospect, made the A’s Opening Day roster after posting a 3.06 ERA and a 21:6 K:BB ratio over 17 2/3 innings in Cactus League action. He began the year in the bullpen and went three innings (allowing a run) in his debut on Friday. Don’t be surprised to see him eventually get some starts.

Matt Sauer, RHP, Royals (taken from Yankees): That’s two former Yankees taken, two sticking with their new teams. Sauer, coming in at No. 22 on the Royals’ Top 30, had a 2.53 ERA and 11.0 K/9 rate in eight Cactus League appearances this spring to make the Royals' bullpen. He made his big league debut on Sunday with a scoreless inning of relief. Like Spence, he has starting experience, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him eventually stretched out, a la Brad Keller.

Anthony Molina, RHP, Rockies (taken from Rays): That’s 3-for-3! Three former starters have landed in their new team's bullpen to start their Major League career. Molina’s debut on Thursday did not go well as he allowed six runs on six hits and a walk in one-third of an inning, but the Rockies' No. 27 prospect should get plenty of opportunities to right the ship.

Shane Drohan, LHP, White Sox (taken from Red Sox): No. 30 on the White Sox list, this one is a TBD. Drohan missed all of Spring Training and was put on the 60-day injured list as he recovers from left shoulder nerve decompression surgery. That gives some time for him to rehab and get back on the mound, at which point the White Sox can decide if they want to keep the lefty around.

Nasim Nuñez, SS, Nationals (taken from Marlins): The first position player taken in the Rule 5 Draft last year, Nuñez made the Nats’ roster and comes in as their No. 19 prospect. He’s going to be a defensive replacement and pinch-runner type, and he did just that in his debut on Saturday, pinch-running in the ninth inning, stealing second and scoring the go-ahead run. He was a defensive replacement on Sunday at second base.

Ryan Fernandez, RHP, Cardinals (taken from Red Sox): The Cardinals’ No. 24 prospect pitched well enough this spring, especially walking just one over 9 2/3 innings of relief work, to make the Opening Day roster. He did not appear in any of the Cardinals’ first four games through the end of the weekend.

Justin Slaten, RHP, Red Sox (taken by Mets from Rangers, traded to Red Sox): After tossing 6 1/3 scoreless innings in Grapefruit League action this spring, Slaten made Boston’s Opening Day roster in the bullpen. He’s already appeared in two games, giving up Julio Rodríguez's walk-off single in the 10th inning on Saturday then coming back on Sunday to toss 2 1/3 hitless innings to pick up his first big league save.

Deyvison De Los Santos, 3B/1B, Guardians (taken from D-backs): After posting a .545 OPS in 44 plate appearances this spring, De Los Santos cleared waivers and was sent back to the D-backs, and he's now Arizona’s No. 14 prospect. Still only 20, it looks like he’ll begin the year back with Double-A Amarillo, where he hit 20 homers (albeit with a .297 OBP) in 2023.

Stephen Kolek, RHP, Padres (taken from Mariners): After seven scoreless appearances this spring, not only did Kolek earn a spot in the big league bullpen, he got a free trip to Seoul as well. He made his Major League debut against the Dodgers there, which didn’t go well (two runs in two-thirds of an inning), and then gave up two more runs in his second outing against the Giants this past Friday. The club’s No. 20 prospect did toss a hitless frame on Saturday.

Carson Coleman, RHP, Rangers (taken from Yankees): Coleman had Tommy John surgery in April of 2023, and the Rangers knew it would be a while before he was ready to pitch when they look him in the Rule 5. He’s officially on the 60-day injured list and is continuing to work his way back to the mound.