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Scouting reports on all players selected in Rule 5 Draft

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

Richie Martin is a former first-round pick who plays a premium position and just posted the best numbers of his four-year pro career. That's normally the type of player who gets protected on a 40-man roster, but when the Athletics couldn't find room for him, the Orioles pounced.

Baltimore made Martin the No. 1 overall selection in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Martin immediately became the best defensive shortstop on the Orioles' roster and should have a great chance to stick with a club coming off a 115-loss season.

Richie Martin is a former first-round pick who plays a premium position and just posted the best numbers of his four-year pro career. That's normally the type of player who gets protected on a 40-man roster, but when the Athletics couldn't find room for him, the Orioles pounced.

Baltimore made Martin the No. 1 overall selection in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Martin immediately became the best defensive shortstop on the Orioles' roster and should have a great chance to stick with a club coming off a 115-loss season.

:: 2018 Rule 5 Draft coverage ::

Martin, 23, signed for $1.95 million as the 20th overall pick in the 2015 Draft. He didn't put up huge offensive numbers in college at Florida and struggled at the plate in his first three pro seasons, batting a combined .236/.326/.334. After improving his vision with new contact lenses and eye exercises, he hit .300/.368/.439 with six homers and 25 steals in Double-A this year.

Previously ranked 12th on MLB Pipeline's Athletics Top 30 Prospects list, Martin has the offensive upside of an average hitter with on-base skills to match, along with some gap power and solid speed. He has always stood out more with his defense, displaying the quickness and plus arm strength to make all the plays at shortstop. If he doesn't hit enough to be a regular, he has the tools to play all over the diamond and serve as a utility man.

In order to retain Martin, Baltimore must keep him on its active big league roster throughout the 2019 season. Before the Orioles could send him to the Minors, they would have to clear him through waivers and then offer him back to Oakland for half of his $100,000 Rule 5 Draft price. Injured Rule 5 Draft choices may be placed on the disabled list, but they still face the same restrictions with Minor League assignments until they've spent 90 days on the active big league roster.

Below are scouting reports for the other 13 players selected in the Major League phase:

2. Sam McWilliams, RHP, Royals (from Rays)
McWilliams is on the move again, already having been traded by the Phillies to the D-backs for Jeremy Hellickson in November 2015, and from the D-backs to the Rays as part of a three-team Steven Souza Jr./Brandon Drury deal with the Yankees this May. His low-90s fastball and his 6-foot-7 frame are his best attributes, while an inconsistent slider and command have held him back. He logged a 4.38 ERA and a 133/49 K/BB ratio in 137 2/3 innings this year, mostly in Double-A.

3. Jordan Romano, RHP, Rangers (from Blue Jays via White Sox)
No. 28 on the Blue Jays' Top 30, Romano can overpower right-handers with his 92- to 96-mph fastball and hard slider, but he scuffles against left-handers, leading many scouts to project him as a reliever. He posted a 4.11 ERA with a 128/45 K/BB ratio in 142 1/3 innings, mostly in Double-A.

4. Riley Ferrell, RHP, Marlins (from Astros)
Ferrell has a pair of weapons (mid-90s fastball with late life, mid-80s slider) that could make him useful as a late-inning reliever -- provided he can find the strike zone. No. 17 on MLB Pipeline's Astros' Top 30, he had 67 strikeouts but also 34 walks and a 4.53 ERA in 51 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

5. Reed Garrett, RHP, Tigers (from Rangers)
Garrett has similar stuff as Ferrell with a mid-90s fastball and a mid-80s slider, and he enjoyed easily the best season of his career in 2018. He compiled a 2.04 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 61 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

6. Connor Joe, 1B/3B, Reds (from Dodgers)
A supplemental first-round pick by the Pirates in 2014, Joe went to the Braves in a trade for Sean Rodriguez in August 2017, and to the Dodgers in exchange for future considerations a month later. He broke out in his first season in Los Angeles' system, batting .299/.408/.527 with 17 homers between Double-A and Triple-A. He's a disciplined hitter with average power and some experience as a catcher in college at San Diego.

7. Chris Ellis, RHP, Royals (from Cardinals via Rangers)
The Royals found the biggest success story in last year's Rule 5 Draft when they traded for a right-handed sinker/slider guy with average stuff in Brad Keller, and they're hoping history will repeat itself with Ellis. He had a 3.93 ERA with a 124/37 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings and has pitched well in the Dominican Winter League.

8. Travis Bergen, LHP, Giants (from Blue Jays)
Bergen has bounced back from Tommy John surgery in 2016 to reclaim a low-90s fastball that gets swings and misses because of its deception, not to mention an effective cutter/slider. He shut down both lefties and righties in his first extended pro action this summer, recording a 0.95 ERA, 74/15 K/BB ratio and .200 opponent average in 56 2/3 innings between Class A Advanced and Double-A.

9. Elvis Luciano, RHP, Blue Jays (from Royals)
No. 23 on our Royals' Top 30 after Kansas City acquired him from the D-backs in a trade for Jon Jay in June, Luciano has a 92- to 96-mph fastball with sink, flashes a plus curveball and shows some aptitude for throwing a changeup as well. He'll be hard to stash on a big league roster because he's just 18 and has yet to pitch above Rookie ball, where he logged a 3.90 ERA and a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 67 innings this summer.

10. Kyle Dowdy, RHP, Mets (from Indians)
Dowdy possesses a 92- to 94-mph fastball but he lacks a reliable secondary pitch and got roughed up in the upper Minors this year. Sent from the Tigers to the Indians as part of the Leonys Martin trade in July, he posted a 5.15 ERA with a 120/50 K/BB ratio in 124 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

11. Drew Jackson, 2B/SS, Orioles (from Dodgers via Phillies)
With his well-above-average speed and throwing arm, Jackson offered some of the best tools available in the Rule 5 Draft, though he has had difficulty maintaining a consistent approach and making enough contact at the plate. No. 19 on MLB Pipeline's Dodgers' Top 30, he did make strides in those areas this year and batted .251/.356/.447 with 15 homers and 22 steals in Double-A.

12. Nick Green, RHP, Diamondbacks (from Yankees)
Green operates with a 92- to 95-mph fastball and a high-spin-rate curveball. He doesn't miss as many bats as his stuff would indicate he should, with just a 102/64 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings along with a 3.32 ERA between Class A Advanced and Double-A.

13. Brandon Brennan, RHP, Mariners (from Rockies)
Signed away from the White Sox by the Rockies as a Minor League free agent in November, Brennan changes organizations for the second time in a month. He elicits a lot of ground balls with his heavy 92-to 96-mph sinker, while his changeup draws grades from average to well above-average from scouts. He compiled a 3.25 ERA and a 79/24 K/BB ratio in 74 2/3 innings, mostly in Double-A.

14. Drew Ferguson, OF, Giants (from Astros)
Ferguson fits the fourth-outfielder profile with close to average tools across the board with the exception of below-average power. He batted .304/.432/.443 with five homers and six steals in 71 games, mostly in Triple-A as he battled a wrist injury.

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