Previewing today's Rule 5 Draft
Rays outfielder Goeddel expected to be taken by Philadelphia with first overall pick
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Rule 5 Draft won't generate as many headlines as the Ben Zobrist free-agent signing or the Shelby Miller-Dansby Swanson trade, but it will be the final order of business at the Winter Meetings today. And sometimes it can pay huge dividends.
Past Rule 5 picks include Hall of Famers (Roberto Clemente), MVP Awards winners (Willie Hernandez, George Bell), Cy Young Award winners (Hernandez, Johan Santana) and recent All-Stars (Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton, Dan Uggla, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth).
This year's Draft will take place at 10 a.m. ET, with live coverage on MLB.com. Among the 1,600 eligible players, the one generating the most buzz in Nashville is Rays outfielder Tyler Goeddel.
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki has confirmed that the Phillies -- owners of the first overall pick in the Draft -- plan to take Goeddel.
The younger brother of Mets reliever Erik Goeddel, Tyler signed for $1.5 million as a supplemental first-round pick out of a California high school in 2011. Moved to the outfield this year after spending his first three pro seasons at third base, Goeddel responded with the best offensive season of the career, hitting .279/.350/.433 with 12 homers and 28 steals in 123 games at Double-A Montgomery. He has solid raw power and speed, and his plus arm strength fits well in right field.
Other possible selections include:
Jabari Blash, OF, Mariners: He has prototypical right-field power and arm strength, and he hit .271/.370/.576 with 32 homers in 116 games between Double-A and Triple-A this year.
Reymin Guduan, LHP, Astros: He recorded a 5.52 ERA and 33 walks in 45 2/3 innings while advancing to Double-A in 2015, but he's a rocket-armed southpaw with a fastball that sits in the upper 90s and peaks in the 100s.
Zack Jones, RHP, Twins: Another strong-armed reliever, he has a mid-90s fastball and flashes a plus slider. Jones had a 4.18 ERA and a 68-28 K-BB ratio in 51 2/3 innings between high Class A and Double-A this season.
Roberto Pena, C, Astros: One of the better defenders available, he has thrown out 45 percent of basestealers as a pro but hit just.237/.284/.288 in Double-A in 2015.
Luis Perdomo, RHP, Cardinals: A starter who throws a consistent 93-95 mph fastball and flashes a plus breaking ball, he pitched in the 2015 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and posted a 3.98 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 126 2/3 innings at two Class A stops.
Nick Sarianides, RHP, D-backs: He spent three years in the Indians' system and three in independent leagues before signing with Arizona in June 2014. Using a 92-95 mph fastball and a quality changeup, Sarianides had a 2.11 ERA 91 strikeouts in 55 1/3 high Class A innings this year.
By virtue of finishing with the worst record (63-99) in the big leagues last season, the Phillies own the No. 1 overall pick. Mike Ondo, Philadelphia's director of professional scouting, has spearheaded the club's selection process.
Ondo has been heavily involved with the Phils' Rule 5 picks since 2004, pushing for Victorino that December and orchestrating the pick of Odubel Herrera a year ago. Victorino was a key part of one World Series championship and five National League East division titles in Philadelphia, making two All-Star teams and winning three Gold Gloves, while Herrera took over in center field and batted .297/.344/.418 as a rookie in 2015.
Ondo said one of the decisions teams have to make in the Rule 5 Draft is whether to pick the best player available or look for a specific fit.
"That kind of changes each year depending on the position of the club," Ondo told Zolecki. "I can tell you when we were playing well and had more of a veteran club, I think we drafted more towards need at that point. Obviously, last year we tried to take more of the prospect with ceiling."
Identifying talent is only part of the process. Rule 5 mandates that any player selected in the Major League phase must stay on his new team's active big league roster throughout the following season, and he can't be sent to the Minors without first clearing waivers and then getting offered back to his original club for half of his $50,000 Draft price. A team can place an injured Rule 5 player on its disabled list, but he would still face the same restrictions governing Minor League assignments in following years until he totals 90 days on the active roster.
Any player who signed at 18 or younger and has five seasons of professional experience, and any who signed at 19 or older and has four seasons in pro ball, is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft unless he's protected on his organization's 40-man roster. Very few of the eligible players combine the talent and big league readiness to make a selection worthwhile. Clubs often will leave toolsy position players or hard-throwing pitchers unprotected because they're too raw for another team to stash on a big league roster for an entire year.
Since the rules changed in 2006, giving players an additional year before they must be protected on 40-man rosters, roughly just one of three Rule 5 Draft choices has stuck in the big leagues the following season. However, last year's Rule 5 Draft was an anomaly in that 10 of the 14 players selected in the Major League phase didn't return to their original organizations. Besides Herrera, other standouts included: Mark Canha (Athletics from Marlins via trade with Rockies), who hit 16 homers; Delino DeShields (Rangers from Astros), who batted .261/.344/.374 with 25 steals as the regular center fielder for the American League West champs; and Sean Gilmartin (Mets from Twins), who posted a 2.67 ERA in 50 appearances and retired both batters he faced in the World Series.
There are also Minor League phases of the Rule 5 Draft, with the costs $12,000 for a Triple-A pick (anyone not protected on a big league or Triple-A roster is eligible) and $4,000 for a Double-A choice (anyone not reserved on a big league, Triple-A or Double-A roster is fair game). Players selected in these portions of the Draft aren't subject to any roster restrictions with their new organizations. Few notable players arise from these phases, though the Marlins got 23 homers last year from Justin Bour (a 2013 Triple-A pick from the Cubs) and the Rangers generated headlines in 2014 by taking Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson from the Rockies in the Triple-A round.
Below is the Rule 5 Draft order, with the number of players on each team's 40-man roster as of Wednesday afternoon in parentheses. Clubs can't make a Major League Rule 5 pick unless they have an opening on their roster.
1. Philadelphia Phillies (37)
2. Cincinnati Reds (35)
3. Atlanta Braves (39)
4. Colorado Rockies (39)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (34)
6. Oakland Athletics (38)
7. Miami Marlins (38)
8. San Diego Padres (36)
9. Detroit Tigers (40)
10. Chicago White Sox (38)
11. Seattle Mariners (40)
12. Boston Red Sox (40)
13. Arizona Diamondbacks (40)
14. Tampa Bay Rays (40)
15. Baltimore Orioles (39)
16. Cleveland Indians (40)
17. Minnesota Twins (40)
18. Washington Nationals (37)
19. San Francisco Giants (38)
20. Los Angeles Angels (34)
21. Houston Astros (37)
22. New York Yankees (39)
23. Texas Rangers (37)
24. New York Mets (39)
25. Los Angeles Dodgers (38)
26. Toronto Blue Jays (35)
27. Kansas City Royals (39)
28. Chicago Cubs (39)
29. Pittsburgh Pirates (38)
30. St. Louis Cardinals (34)