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15 intriguing names for the Rule 5 Draft

December 13, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As the Winter Meetings tumble on, teams start focusing a bit more on Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 9 a.m. ET and can be heard live on MLB.com.As those discussions have heated up among all 30 teams, names of interest have

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As the Winter Meetings tumble on, teams start focusing a bit more on Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 9 a.m. ET and can be heard live on MLB.com.
As those discussions have heated up among all 30 teams, names of interest have started to filter down to the lobby. A team must have room on its 40-man roster in order to make a selection in the Major League phase of the Draft. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player and if that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.
:: Rule 5 Draft coverage ::
Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. For this year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2013 -- assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 5 of that year -- has to be protected. A college player taken in the 2014 Draft is in the same position.
So who are these unprotected players who are being mentioned as potential picks? Here's a list of 15 names, in alphabetical order, who are coming up in conversations at the Winter Meetings, along with a complete list of every team's Top 30 prospects who are available.

Rule 5 Draft order
Andy Beltre, RHP, Marlins: The 6-foot-4, 24-year old righty reached Double-A for the first time in 2017 and is a hard thrower with below-average command, as evidenced by 9.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 rates in his career.
Sean Brady, LHP, Indians: The 2013 fifth-round pick made just 10 regular-season starts in 2017 because of a shoulder injury, but he did pitch well across 22 2/3 Arizona Fall League innings. The lefty gets ground-ball outs and was very effective against lefty hitters in the AFL, should a team want to consider him for a bullpen role.
Jeff Brigham, RHP, Marlins' No. 13 prospect: Originally drafted by the Dodgers, then dealt to the Marlins in the Mat Latos deal in 2015, Brigham had a shoulder issue that slowed him in 2017 (and Tommy John surgery as a sophomore at Washington), but he has a fastball that touches the upper-90s and a sharp slider that could work in a bullpen.
Nick Burdi, RHP, Twins: Burdi had Tommy John surgery this season and will miss a good part of the 2018 campaign as he recovers. That would enable a team to stash him on the disabled list for much of the year, knowing that when healthy, the reliever has closer-type stuff.
Nick Ciuffo, C,Rays' No. 25 prospect: Defensive-minded catchers are often in demand in the Rule 5 Draft, though sticking is a different story. Ciuffo, the Rays' first-rounder in 2013, has solid catch-and-throw skills and reached Double-A at age 22, but he hasn't always hit consistently (.625 career OPS).
Cale Coshow, RHP, Yankees: The 6-foot-5, 270-pound right-hander has both started and relieved in his pro career, though he came out of the bullpen exclusively in 2017, saved 15 games in Double-A and reached Triple-A for the first time. His fastball can touch triple digits and he has a hard slider.
Michael De Leon, SS, Rangers' No. 28 prospect: Teams looking for a utility type might have interest in De Leon, who played in Double-A at age 20 in 2017. He hasn't hit (.541 OPS in 2017), but he is a slick-fielding shortstop who has also logged time at second and could handle a defensive assignment at third as well.
Luis Gonzalez, LHP, Orioles: Baltimore signed Gonzalez as a Minor League free agent in 2013 after he was released by the Phillies. After starting in 2014-15, he's pitched more effectively out of the bullpen, and while Gonzalez hasn't gotten out of Class A ball, he was very good in the AFL, with a fastball up to 94-95 mph.
Jordan Guerrero, LHP,White Sox No. 21 prospect: Guerrero was eligible for the Rule 5 Draft a year ago, but he wasn't taken after a rough year. A return to Double-A led to better results, though he faded some down the stretch. While Guerrero has been exclusively a starter in his past three seasons, he does have relief work on his pro resume.
Brett Graves, RHP, A's: Scouts have liked Graves' fast arm and athletic delivery since his days at Missouri, but the results haven't always been consistent. He did pitch well in the California League in 2017 to earn a promotion to Double-A, but then he was shut down in early June. When healthy, Graves has a deep repertoire highlighted by hard sinker that has led to excellent ground-ball rates.
Mason McCullough, RHP, D-backs: Another power right-handed reliever, McCullough used his plus fastball and good breaking stuff to pitch his way to Double-A in 2017. He held hitters to a combined .158 average and struck out 14.1 per nine, but he also walked 5.7/9 for the season.
Dom Nunez, C, Rockies' No. 15 prospect: Nunez might fight out the Rule 5 Draft backup catcher slot with Ciuffo. An infielder in high school, he's shown good catch-and-throw skills and agility behind the plate, but he's really struggled offensively, with a .202/.335/.354 line in Double-A in 2017.
Victor Reyes, OF, D-backs' No. 18 prospect: Reyes has always hit for average, with a career .298 average, albeit with little power (.379 career slugging percentage) as he's used a contact-oriented approach. He does run well, with 38 steals in his past two seasons and has shown the ability to play all three outfield spots.

Jordan Romano, RHP, Blue Jays' No. 20 prospect: Romano missed the 2015 season following Tommy John surgery, but he pitched well as a starter in late 2016 and up in the Florida State League in 2017. He misses bats (career 9.2 K/9 rate) with fringy command (3.5 BB/9), and his fastball-slider combination would play up in shorter relief stints.
Burch Smith, RHP, Rays: Smith spent considerable time in the big leagues with the Padres in 2013 and was part of the big three-team trade that sent William Myers to San Diego in December 2014. He then missed all of the '15 and '16 seasons following Tommy John surgery. Smith did return in 2017 and showed well in the AFL, striking out 12.8 per nine over 20 1/3 innings.
Here's a list of all 30 teams' Top 30 Prospects who are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft:
Arizona Diamondbacks (3)

  1. Brad Keller, RHP
  2. Victor Reyes, OF
  3. Jose Almonte, RHP
    Atlanta Braves (2)
  4. Travis Demeritte, 2B/3B
  5. Dustin Peterson, OF
    Baltimore Orioles (2)
  6. Randolph Gassaway, OF
  7. John Means, LHP
    Boston Red Sox (4)
  8. Jake Cosart, RHP
  9. Kyle Martin, RHP
  10. Hildemaro Requena, RHP
  11. Jhonathan Diaz, LHP
    Chicago Cubs (5)
  12. Trevor Clifton, RHP
  13. Chesny Young, 2B/SS/OF
  14. Charcer Burks, OF
  15. Erling Moreno, RHP
  16. Jose Paulino, LHP
    Chicago White Sox (2)
  17. Jordan Guerrero, LHP
  18. Luis Martinez, RHP
    Cincinnati Reds (3)
    20, Gavin LaValley, 1B
  19. Nick Longhi, 1B/OF
  20. Michael Beltre, OF
    Colorado Rockies (3)
  21. Dom Nunez, C
  22. James Farris, RHP
  23. Harrison Musgrave, LHP
    Detroit Tigers (2)
  24. Jose Azocar, OF
  25. Adam Ravenelle, RHP
    Houston Astros (1)
  26. Jason Martin, OF

    Kansas City Royals (2)
  27. Ryan O'Hearn, 1B
  28. Marten Gasparini, OF
    Los Angeles Angels (2)
  29. Osmer Morales, RHP
    Miami Marlins (5)
  30. Jeff Brigham, RHP
  31. Ricardo Cespedes, OF
  32. Isael Soto, OF
  33. John Norwood, OF
  34. Austin Dean, OF
    Minnesota Twins (4)
  35. Kohl Stewart, RHP
  36. Lewin Diaz, 1B
  37. Jake Reed, RHP
    New York Mets (4)
  38. Wuilmer Becerra, OF
  39. Jhoan Urena, 3B
  40. Luis Carpio, SS
  41. Ali Sanchez, C
    Oakland A's (1)
  42. Casey Meisner, RHP
    Philadelphia Phillies (2)
  43. Jose Gomez, INF
  44. Carlos Tocci, OF
    Pittsburgh Pirates (3)
  45. Yeudy Garcia, RHP
  46. Tyler Eppler, RHP
  47. Adrian Valerio, SS
    San Francisco Giants (3)
  48. Sam Coonrod, RHP
  49. Jordan Johnson, RHP
  50. Kelvin Beltre, 2B
    Seattle Mariners (5)
  51. Luis Liberato, OF
  52. Anthony Jimenez, OF
  53. Greifer Andrade, OF
  54. Ian Miller, OF
  55. Chuck Taylor, OF
    Tampa Bay Rays (1)
  56. Nick Cuiffo, C
    Texas Rangers (1)
  57. Michael De Leon, SS
    Toronto Blue Jays (7)
  58. Max Pentecost, C/1B
  59. Jonathan Davis, OF
  60. Jordan Romano, RHP
  61. Francisco Rios, RHP
  62. Patrick Murphy, RHP
  63. Harold Ramirez, OF
  64. Angel Perdomo, LHP
    Washington Nationals (3)
  65. Drew Ward, 3B
  66. Taylor Gushue, C
  67. Osvaldo Abreu, SS/2B

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.