Yankees lose five Minor Leaguers in Rule 5 Draft
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees lost five players in Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft, including reliever Tom Kahnle and outfielder Ravel Santana, who was once considered one of the club's top prospects before a devastating ankle injury in 2011.
Because the Yankees' 40-man roster was full, they were ineligible to select in the Major League phase of the Draft. A Yankees person said that they were not surprised that Kahnle had been chosen and that the organization was pleased it did not lose more players.
Kahnle, 24, was selected by the Rockies with the fourth overall selection. The right-handed reliever was 1-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 46 appearances at Double-A Trenton last season. In 60 innings, he allowed 38 hits with 45 walks and 75 strikeouts.
Kahnle must remain on the Rockies' 25-man Major League roster all season or be offered back to the Yankees for $25,000 -- half the price of a Rule 5 Draft selection. The Minor League phase works differently, as those players are now the property of the selecting clubs.
In the Triple-A phase, the Astros selected Santana, the Reds selected right-hander Mikey O'Brien and the Pirates selected right-hander Felipe Gonzalez. In the Double-A phase, the Marlins selected right-hander Kelvin Castro.
Santana, 21, cracked some rankings of the Yankees' Top 10 prospects before suffering a devastating ankle injury in 2011 that involved fractures and ligament damage. He batted .216 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 60 games with Class A Staten Island last season.
The 23-year-old O'Brien, a ninth-round selection by the Yankees in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, was a combined 8-10 with a 4.17 ERA in 27 games (25 starts) this year with Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.
Gonzalez, 22, was signed out of Mexico and played four seasons with the Yankees' Dominican Summer League squads before appearing stateside this past year. He was 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA in 11 games (five starts) for the Gulf Coast Yankees.
Castro, 25, was originally an infielder in the Yankees' system and converted to pitching in 2012. He was a combined 2-2 with a 3.21 ERA in 20 relief appearances for Class A Staten Island and Class A Charleston this past season.