ANAHEIM -- With the deadline for finalizing 40-man rosters approaching, the Angels will soon face tough decisions regarding which prospects to shield from next month's Rule 5 Draft.Six players featured on MLBPipeline.com's list of Top 30 Angels prospects will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft unless they are added
ANAHEIM -- With the deadline for finalizing 40-man rosters approaching, the Angels will soon face tough decisions regarding which prospects to shield from next month's Rule 5 Draft.
Six players featured on MLBPipeline.com's list of Top 30 Angels prospects will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft unless they are added to the 40-man roster ahead of Monday's 5 p.m. PT deadline. Those left unprotected could be selected by another team during the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place on the final day of the Winter Meetings, on Dec. 14.
Players drafted or signed at age 18 or younger are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft after five Minor League seasons if they are not on a 40-man roster. Those drafted or signed at 19 years or older are eligible after four Minor League seasons if left unshielded. Teams can pay $100,000 to make a selection during the Rule 5 Draft, and they must keep that player on their Major League roster for the entire season or offer him back to his previous club for $50,000.
Last year, the Angels selected right-hander Justin Haley in the Rule 5 Draft, then immediately traded him to the Padres in exchange for cash considerations.
The Angels currently have 32 players on their 40-man roster. Here's a look at their top prospects who could become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this year:
RHP Jaime Barria (No. 8): Barria appears to be a lock to be added to the Angels' 40-man roster, as general manager Billy Eppler has already included the 21-year-old among the list of pitchers who he believes could contribute to the rotation next season. Barria rose from Class A Advanced Inland Empire to Triple-A Salt Lake this past season, logging a 2.80 ERA over 141 2/3 innings across three levels. With a successful SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game appearance already under his belt, Barria is on the cusp of reaching the Majors.
OF Michael Hermosillo (No. 12): The Angels have only three outfielders on their current 40-man roster, so Hermosillo is another likely addition. A 28th-round Draft pick in 2013, Hermosillo has made a steady climb through the Angels' system, reaching Triple-A Salt Lake this past season. The 22-year-old batted .267 with a .763 OPS, nine home runs and 35 stolen bases in 120 games across three Minor League levels.
RHP Jesus Castillo (No. 14): Castillo, who was acquired from the Cubs in exchange for reliever Joe Smith in 2016, spent most of '17 with Class A Advanced Inland Empire before earning a promotion to Double-A Mobile, where he made five starts over the final month of the season. The 22-year-old will likely require more seasoning in the Minors before he's ready to impact a Major League club.
RHP Jake Jewell (No. 21): Jewell, a fifth-round Draft pick in 2014, recorded a 4.84 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 41 walks over 124 2/3 innings at Double-A Mobile this season. Though Jewell, 24, was a reliever in college, the Angels have stretched him out as a starter because they feel he has the repertoire to pitch out of the rotation.
RHP Osmer Morales (No. 27): Signed by the Angels as a Minor League free agent in 2016, Morales logged a 4.19 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 50 walks over 126 2/3 innings in 25 starts between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake this past season. The 25-year-old Venezuelan seems like a strong bet to garner protection and could factor into the Angels' rotation mix next year.
RHP Damien Magnifico (30th): The Angels acquired Magnifico from the Orioles in May, but the 26-year-old reliever made only one appearance for the Halos and struggled at Triple-A Salt Lake, posting a 6.82 ERA over 34 1/3 innings. In August, Magnifico was outrighted off the 40-man roster and demoted to Double-A Mobile, where he recorded a 3.18 ERA over 11 1/3 innings. With an upper-90s fastball, the 26-year-old Magnifico has the potential to be a late-inning bullpen piece, but he still needs to improve his secondary pitches and sharpen his command to be consistently successful.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.