NEW YORK -- The Rule 5 Draft is Major League Baseball’s annual opportunity for teams to take a chance. Often, that means a rebuilding club selecting a player with potential and hoping he sticks. The Twins famously received Johan Santana in the Rule 5 Draft, using it to grab one of the best pitchers of his generation.
While the Mets have never experienced that type of success in the Rule 5 Draft, which allows clubs to draft eligible, unprotected Minor Leaguers away from other organizations under the promise that they will spend the entire next season in the Majors, they have had their share of hits. Here is the Mets’ entire Rule 5 Draft history from their inaugural season to the present:
2020: Indians pitcher Luis Oviedo -- The Mets nabbed one of Cleveland’s top prospects, a 21-year-old right-hander who was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in July 2015, but they did not select him to keep for themselves. He will go to the Pirates in a trade for cash considerations, per a source. Oviedo spent '19 pitching at the Class A level.
2018: Indians pitcher Kyle Dowdy -- Dowdy nearly made the Mets' Opening Day roster in 2019, but he was instead included in their final round of cuts. He subsequently went to the Rangers on a waiver claim and made his big league debut in Texas, before ultimately heading back to the Indians.
2017: Rays pitcher Burch Smith -- In a common type of prearranged Rule 5 Draft deal, the Mets selected Smith. but then traded him to the Royals for cash.
2014: Twins pitcher Sean Gilmartin -- Before he began making news in the political arena, Gilmartin spent parts of three seasons as a swingman for the Mets. His finest contributions came in 2015, when he posted a 2.67 ERA in 49 relief appearances and one start. Gilmartin even recorded a pair of outs in mop-up duty in World Series Game 2, but he was never able to duplicate his success in future seasons.
2013: Phillies pitcher Seth Rosin -- To complete another Rule 5 Draft deal, the Mets selected Rosin and immediately dealt him to the Dodgers for cash.
2012: Rays pitcher Kyle Lobstein -- Unable to make the Mets’ Opening Day roster, Lobstein eventually found some success as a spot starter in the Tigers' organization.
2010: Blue Jays second baseman Brad Emaus, Orioles pitcher Pedro Beato -- Emaus was the talk of camp in 2010 as he vied for the team’s starting second-base job. He ultimately won it after the Mets released Luis Castillo, but they returned Emaus to the Blue Jays when he batted just .162 in 14 games. Instead, the less-heralded Beato made the greater impact of the New York’s two draftees, spending two seasons in the Mets’ bullpen as part of a five-year big league career.
2009: Nationals pitcher Carlos Monasterios -- This was another example of a Rule 5 Draft favor. The Mets used their position to select Monasterios for the Dodgers, who purchased him in a cash deal.
2008: Angels pitcher Darren O'Day, Orioles pitcher Rocky Cherry -- O’Day was one of the organization’s best Rule 5 Draft finds, and also one of its most blatant recent roster mistakes. Thanks to a strong camp, the sidewinding O’Day made the Mets’ Opening Day roster in 2009, but he was almost immediately designated for assignment to clear roster space for a spot starter. The Mets subsequently lost O’Day’s rights on a waiver claim, then watched him become a standout reliever for more than a decade with the Rangers, Orioles and Braves.
2007: Rockies pitcher Steven Register -- One pick after the Mariners selected R.A. Dickey in the Rule 5 Draft, the Mets took Register, who came close to making their Opening Day roster but ultimately missed out. (Two years later, the Mets wound up with Dickey anyway).
2005: Giants pitcher Mitch Wylie -- Wylie never made the big leagues.
2003: Pirates pitcher Frank Brooks -- In the three months between the 2003 Rule 5 Draft and Opening Day, Brooks went from the Pirates to the Mets to the Red Sox back to the Pirates. He eventually had two brief stints in the big leagues.
2000: Giants pitcher Julio Santana -- Santana did enjoy a seven-year career in the big leagues, though not with the Mets; they returned him to San Francisco before Opening Day.
1999: Blue Jays pitcher Jim Mann -- One of the lowest amateur Draft picks to reach the Majors, Mann was originally a 54th-round selection of the Jays in 1993. Rather than return Mann to Toronto for cash at the end of Spring Training, the Mets swung a trade to retain his rights, but it wasn’t fruitful; he appeared in only two games for them all season. Mann appeared sporadically in the Majors for the Astros and Pirates for another few years before his big league career came to an end.
1996: Padres pitcher Jim Baron -- Baron never appeared in the Majors.
1994: Braves pitcher Kevin Lomon, Expos outfielder Kevin Northrup -- Lomon appeared in six games for the Mets before they sent him back to Atlanta; Northrup never cracked the Majors.
1993: Indians catcher Kelly Stinnett -- Of all the players on this list, Stinnett enjoyed one of the best careers in New York and elsewhere. He served as the Mets’ backup catcher from 1994-95 until the team traded him for pitcher Cory Lidle (who in turn became a Diamondbacks Expansion Draft pick in '97). Stinnett wound up playing 14 seasons for eight teams, mostly as a backup, even returning to the Mets for a cameo on the 2006 National League East champions. He retired after the following season.
1992: Yankees pitcher Mike Draper -- Like many of the Mets’ attempts to fleece the Yankees over the years, this one did not pay dividends. Draper gave the Mets one serviceable year out of the bullpen before they released him.
1990: Twins pitcher Doug Simons -- Simons lasted a full season but didn’t distinguish himself, posting a 5.19 ERA.
1989: White Sox pitcher Brad Knackert -- Knackert never appeared for the Mets.
1986: Giants pitcher Charlie Corbell -- Given a chance to be a part of the future World Series champions, Corbell couldn’t crack the Mets’ Opening Day roster. They instead sent him back to the Giants.
1980: Astros pitcher Billy Smith -- Smith was returned to the Astros just before Opening Day.
1978: Yankees outfielder Rogers Brown -- Like so many on this list, Brown never appeared in a game for the Mets.
1968: Braves infielder Wayne Garrett -- Unquestionably the Mets’ best Rule 5 Draft pick of all time, Garrett struggled as a rookie in 1969 before making his mark in the postseason, hitting a go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning of NL Championship Series Game 3. A year later, Garrett broke out with 12 home runs and an .811 OPS over 114 games. A strong defensive third baseman, Garrett remained a productive member of the team for several seasons, making another World Series in ‘73 before heading to Montreal in a midseason trade three years later. Garrett was honored in 2019 at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Mets’ first World Series championship team.
1967: Reds outfielder Clyde Mashore, Angels outfielder Don Wilkinson -- Neither player made it to the big leagues with the Mets.
1965: Yankees OF Billy Murphy -- Murphy stuck around the whole 1966 season, batting .230 with three home runs in 84 games, but became a journeyman Minor Leaguer for the rest of his career.
1961: Reds RHP Bob Moorhead, Angels RHP Aubrey Gatewood -- Moorhead became an original Met, best known for allowing five runs in relief in the inaugural game in franchise history on April 11, 1962. All told, Moorhead posted a 4.51 ERA over two separate stints in the organization, which qualified him as a Rule 5 Draft success. Gatewood, conversely, didn’t make the Mets’ Opening Day roster and returned to Anaheim, where he spent most of his brief big league career.