Here are 13 names to watch ahead of the Rule 5 Draft

December 10th, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- There may not be high rate of return on the Rule 5 Draft, but the annual event has yielded Hall of Famers such as Hack Wilson and Roberto Clemente and more recent success stories such as Johan Santana and Josh Hamilton.

This year's Rule 5 Draft takes place Thursday at noon ET at San Diego's Manchester Grand Hyatt and will be streamed live on Candidates for selection include most players not protected on 40-man rosters who signed by age 18 and have completed five pro seasons, or who signed at age 19 or older and have finished four pro seasons.

A team with an open spot on its 40-man roster may select an unprotected player in the big league phase of the Rule 5 Draft at the cost of $100,000. Rule 5 picks can't be demoted to the Minors next year without first clearing waivers and then being offered back to their original club for $50,000.

Below are a baker's dozen of players who could hear their names called Thursday:

Joe Barlow, RHP, Rangers

Originally recruited by Salt Lake (Utah) CC as a catcher, Barlow can miss bats with a high-spin 95-98 mph fastball and a 12-6 curveball, though he sometimes struggles to harness his stuff. An 11th-round pick in 2016, he had a 3.16 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 42 walks while rising from high Class A to Triple-A this year.

Eduardo Bazardo, RHP, Red Sox

As a reliever who's already had success in Double-A (2.78 ERA, 9.7 K/9 in the second half of 2019), Bazardo is a relatively safe bet to stick on a big league roster. Signed for $8,000 out of Venezuela in 2014, he has a 91-96 mph fastball and a high-spin curveball that projects as a plus pitch.

Phil Bickford, RHP, Brewers

One of 20 two-time first-round picks in Draft history, Bickford hasn't had much sustained success since the Giants took him 18th overall in 2015 out of the JC of Southern Nevada. Traded to the Brewers in July 2016 as part of the Will Smith deal, he flashed his first-round form down the stretch in high Class A, throwing 26 scoreless innings with 39 strikeouts in the final two months thanks to a 92-94 mph fastball with heavy sink and elite extension.

Zack Brown, RHP, Brewers

No pitcher ranks higher on an MLB Pipeline organization Top 30 than Brown, No. 3 on our midseason Brewers list. The third-round pick out of Kentucky in 2016 went from Double-A Southern League pitcher of the year in 2018 to a 5.79 ERA in Triple-A this season, but he can deal with a 92-95 mph fastball and a plus curveball when he's on.

Thomas Burrows, LHP, Braves

Teams looking for a southpaw reliever will be attracted to Burrows, who uses a plus slider to carve up lefties. Drafted in fourth round out of Alabama by the Mariners in 2016 and traded to the Braves in a deal for Mallex Smith in January 2017, he has averaged 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings as a pro and logged a 4.42 ERA with 63 whiffs in 57 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this year.

Wander Javier, SS, Twins

Javier isn't ready to survive in the Majors after batting .177/.278/.323 in low Class A 2019 after missing all of the previous season with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, but he also has some of the highest upside among all Rule 5 eligibles. Signed for $4 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, he has shown the potential for solid tools across the board and is the highest-ranked position player on an MLB Pipeline Top 30 at No. 7 on on our midseason Twins list.

Juan Mota, RHP, Indians

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Mota is already 23 and has yet to rise above Class A, where he posted a 4.77 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 111 1/3 innings between two levels this year. Yet he could be enticing because he reaches 97 mph and holds his velocity deep into games, owns a tumbling changeup that can be devastating and also has the makings of an average slider.

Buddy Reed, OF, Padres

One of the best all-around athletes available, Reed is a potential Gold Glove center fielder with well above-average speed and arm strength as well as at least average raw power. The drawback is that the 2016 second-rounder from Florida hasn't produced at the plate outside of three months in high Class A in 2018, and he hit .228 with a 29 percent whiff rate in Double-A this season.

Alfredo Rodriguez, SS, Reds

Signed out of Cuba for $7 million in 2016, Rodriguez is a high-floor, lower-ceiling pick who's capable of playing quality defense at a premium position and making contact at the plate. There are questions about how much offensive impact he'll make, however, and he batted just .267/.314/.327 with 16 steals between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019.

Cristian Santana, 3B/1B, Dodgers

Santana has well above-average raw power and arm strength, and he led the high Class A California League with 24 homers and 109 RBI in 2018. He hit for average but not as much power in Double-A this season, batting .301/.320/.436 with 10 homers, and he rarely walks.

Sterling Sharp, RHP, Nationals

A 22nd-round choice out of NCAA Division II Drury (Mo.) in 2016, Sharp generates some of the best groundball rates in the Minors with a heavy low-90s sinker and a quality changeup. He missed time with an oblique injury in 2019 but posted a 3.53 ERA, 65 percent grounder rate and 52 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings between three levels, then pitched well in the Arizona Fall League.

Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Dodgers

Sheffield developed more slowly than expected after the Dodgers took him in 2016's supplemental first round out of Vanderbilt, but he started to thrive after moving to the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League after the 2018 season. With a lively mid-90s fastball, a curveball that can be a hammer and a solid changeup, he recorded a 3.27 ERA, .168 opponent average and 74 strikeouts (albeit with 43 walks) in 55 innings between high Class A and Double-A.

Dauris Valdez, RHP, Padres

It's easy to dream on Valdez because he's 6-foot-8, can push his fastball into triple digits and his slider into the upper 80s. But the 2016 signee out of the Dominican Republic still is figuring out control and command after logging a 4.23 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings in Double-A this year.

Jim Callis is a reporter for Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Here's a list of all 30 teams' Top 30 Prospects who are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft:

Atlanta Braves
16) Thomas Burrows, LHP

Baltimore Orioles
17) Cody Sedlock, RHP
30) Gray Fenter, RHP

Boston Red Sox
26) Eduard Bazardo, RHP

Chicago Cubs
22) Oscar De La Cruz, RHP
28) Trent Giambrone, INF/OF

Chicago White Sox
27) Alec Hansen, RHP

Cincinnati Reds
18) Alfredo Rodriguez, SS
19) Andy Sugilio, OF
20) TJ Friedl, OF
21) Michael Beltre, OF
24) Mariel Bautista, OF

Cleveland Indians
14) Luis Oviedo, RHP

Colorado Rockies
17) Robert Tyler, RHP
19) Reid Humphreys, RHP
24) Daniel Montano, OF
27) Roberto Ramos, 1B

Detroit Tigers
22) Elvin Rodriguez, RHP
27) Jake Robson, OF

Houston Astros
16) Ronnie Dawson, OF
25) Jonathan Arauz, SS/3B

Kansas City Royals
11) Seuly Matias, OF
19) Emmanuel Rivera, 3B
29) Gabriel Cancel, 2B

Los Angeles Angels
24) Leonardo Rivas, SS/2B

Los Angeles Dodgers
23) Cristian Santana, 3B/1B
26) Jordan Sheffield, RHP

Miami Marlins
26) Will Stewart, LHP

Milwaukee Brewers
3) Zack Brown, RHP
14) Lucas Erceg, 3B/1B
18) Braden Webb, RHP

Minnesota Twins
7) Wander Javier, SS
21) Griffin Jax, RHP

New York Mets
8) Shervyen Newton, INF
27) Patrick Mazeika, C
28) Desmond Lindsay, OF
29) Luis Carpio, 2B/SS

Philadelphia Phillies
12) Jhailyn Ortiz, OF
13) Rafael Marchan, C
17) Rodolfo Duran, C
23) Daniel Brito, 2B/SS
28) Cornelius Randolph, OF

Pittsburgh Pirates
14) Luis Escobar, RHP
15) Lolo Sanchez, OF

San Diego Padres
18) Esteury Ruiz, 2B
25) Buddy Reed, OF

San Francisco Giants
16) Sandro Fabian, OF
20) Franklin Labour, OF
22) Ricardo Genoves, C
28) Garrett Williams, LHP

Seattle Mariners
24) Dom Thompson-Williams, OF
28) Ljay Newsome, RHP

St. Louis Cardinals
24) Conner Capel, OF
30) Max Schrock, 2B/3B

Tampa Bay Rays
13) Moises Gomez, OF
27) Resly Linares, LHP

Texas Rangers
30) Eli White, SS/OF

Washington Nationals
13) Sterling Sharp, RHP
21) Steven Fuentes, RHP
22) Malvin Pena, RHP
25) Gilbert Lara, SS/3B
27) Telmito Agustin, OF
28) Jhonatan German, RHP