Each team's most recent Rule 5 keeper

December 1st, 2023

While a solid percentage of picks in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft get at least some big league time the season following their selection, it’s not so easy to stick around for an entire year.

Below is the last Rule 5 selection (or player traded for immediately following the Rule 5 Draft) for each team that stuck all year. This was no small task, as we had to go digging far into the past to find a player who fit the bill for some teams.


Blue Jays: Elvis Luciano, RHP (2018)
Luciano was just 18 years old and had yet to pitch above Rookie ball when the Blue Jays plucked him from Kansas City’s system in 2018. He was deployed selectively out of Toronto’s bullpen, often working multiple innings, and posted a 5.35 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 24 walks in 33 2/3 innings (25 appearances) before a right elbow sprain prematurely ended his season in mid-June. Luciano hasn’t pitched in the Majors since and has gone unsigned since becoming a free agent in November 2022.

Orioles: Tyler Wells, RHP (2020)
Taken from the Twins organization in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, Wells was a solid option out of the Orioles' bullpen. The righty tossed 57 innings and recorded a 5.4 K/BB ratio (65 strikeouts, 12 walks) with a 0.91 WHIP. He moved into the rotation for most of the past two seasons, amassing a 2.8 bWAR in the process and appearing out of the bullpen in the postseason in 2023.

Rays: Kevin Kelly, RHP (2022)
The former Guardians sidearmer was an important contributor to the Tampa Bay bullpen in his first season as a Major Leaguer. His 67 innings led full-time Rays relievers, and he sported a 3.09 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 2.0 BB/9 in that span. Kelly relied heavily on a 89-91 mph sinker and mid-70s sweeper to keep hitters off-balance from his lower arm angle.

Red Sox: Garrett Whitlock, RHP (2021)
The Red Sox grabbed Whitlock away from the rival Yankees with the fourth pick in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft. The then-25-year-old righty became a bullpen fixture for Boston, recording a 1.96 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 17 walks over 73 1/3 innings. He has continued to be effective while serving the Red Sox in a variety of roles the last two seasons.

Yankees: Billy Parker, INF/OF (1973)
The Yankees rarely make a selection in the big league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, which is why it's been 50 years since they took a player whom they held onto -- and Parker spent three years in their system without playing in New York. The last Negro Leaguer to play in the Majors, he was the first parks and recreation director in Surprise, Ariz., where the field the Rangers and Royals make their Spring Training home is named after him.


Guardians: Trevor Stephan, RHP (2021)
One of three players taken from the Yankees organization in the Major League phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, Stephan struck out 75 batters with a 4.41 ERA over 63 1/3 innings for Cleveland. He has continued to pitch well in a relief role for Cleveland in the two seasons since.

Royals: Brad Keller, RHP; Burch Smith, RHP (2017)
One of the best Rule 5 success stories in recent memory, Keller has been an 9.0 bWAR player for the Royals since the club acquired him from the Reds -- after Cincinnati had selected him from Arizona’s system with the No. 5 pick in ’17. The right-hander spent six seasons on the Royals' staff, posting a 4.27 ERA over 679 innings, before heading to free agency this offseason after thoracic outlet syndrome issues. Smith, whom the Royals acquired from the Mets with the No. 6 pick, stuck on Kansas City’s active roster in 2018 as well, though he was released after the season.

Tigers: Mason Englert, RHP (2022)
Englert landed in the Detroit bullpen from the Rangers organization and stuck around despite middling results (5.46 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 41 strikeouts in 56 innings). He went on the injured list with left hip tightness in late July, began to rehab a month later but didn’t get healthy enough to return to the Majors. Englert’s best pitch was a mid-80s slider that he threw more than one-third of the time, and he did show an ability to work in the zone with a 6.7 percent walk rate.

Twins: J.R. Graham, RHP (2014)
Graham began his pro career as a fourth-round Draft pick of the Braves out of Santa Clara University in 2011 and had just started a move to the bullpen in 2014 when the Twins selected him. He appeared in 39 games for Minnesota in 2015, finishing with a 4.95 ERA. After dealing with arm issues, he was designated for assignment in May 2016, then sent to the Yankees, where he appeared in 23 Minor League games, his last appearances as a pro.

White Sox: Dylan Covey, RHP (2016)
A first-round pick out of high school in 2010 by the Brewers, Covey declined to sign after a post-Draft physical revealed he had diabetes and eventually turned pro as a fourth-rounder with the Athletics in 2013. He spent three seasons shuffling in and out of the White Sox rotation but finally found some success with the Phillies as a reliever in 2023. He has gone 7-32 with a 6.18 ERA in 307 1/3 innings, and both his ERA and winning percentage (.179) are the worst since World War II for pitchers with at least as many innings or decisions.


Angels: Deolis Guerra, RHP (2015)
Guerra was a bit of a Rule 5 oddity, having pitched in the big leagues prior to getting taken by the Angels. He had made his big league debut with the Pirates in 2015, was outrighted and then signed a Minor League free agent deal with the Pirates in early December. Just three days later, the Angels took him in the Rule 5 and he pitched well in 2016, finishing with a positive WAR (0.4) and a 3.21 ERA in 44 games. He appeared in 19 more in 2017, pitched with the Rangers organization in 2018 and touched the big leagues with three different teams in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Astros: Josh Fields, RHP (2012)
A Mariners first-round pick in 2008, Fields compiled a 4.27 ERA as a reliever in three seasons with the rebuilding Astros before slumping to a 6.89 mark in his fourth. Houston shipped him to the Dodgers in a Trade Deadline deal for Yordan Alvarez, who had yet to make his pro debut and blossomed into the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year. As a cherry on top, the Astros also roughed up Fields for two home runs in the 10th inning of Game 2 of the 2017 World Series, helping turn the Fall Classic in their favor.

A’s: Ryan Noda, 1B (2022)
Not only did Noda stick with the A’s, he played virtually every day, finishing the year with nearly 500 plate appearances. He homered 16 times and while he also struck out 170 times, he offset that somewhat with 70 walks, allowing him to finish with 2.3 bWAR, the second-highest total of any Rule 5 pick since Brad Keller amassed 4.2 bWAR in 2018. He should get plenty of opportunities to build on that total in 2024.

Mariners: Yohan Ramirez, RHP (2019)
Ramirez was the only player taken in the Major League phase of the 2019 Draft to amass a positive WAR (0.5) with the team that selected him. Taken No. 5 overall, the right-hander had made it up to Double-A as an Astros hybrid starter/reliever. Working only out of the 'pen for Seattle, he finished with a 2.61 ERA and 26 K’s in 20 2/3 innings, albeit with 20 walks. He was more effective in 2021 and moved from Seattle to Cleveland before landing in Pittsburgh as part of two separate 2022 trades and then was picked up on waivers by the White Sox late in 2023. He’s appeared in over 100 big league games out of the bullpen.

Rangers: Carlos Tocci, OF (2017)
One of the top prospects in the 2011 international class, Tocci signed with the Phillies for $759,000 out of Venezuela but struggled to add strength as a pro. He hit .225/.271/.283 in 120 at-bats with the Rangers in 2018 and hasn't played in the Majors since.


Braves: Dan Winkler, RHP (2014)
The Braves took Winkler in 2014 even though he had Tommy John surgery in June of that year. That enabled Atlanta to keep him on the injured list while he rehabbed in '15, eventually making his big league debut in September of that season. Winkler missed nearly all of '16 after he fractured his right elbow. He finally started making a big league contribution in '17 (2.51 ERA, 11.3 K/9 in 16 games) and was an effective reliever for all of '18 (3.43 ERA, 10.3 K/9), though struggles down the stretch kept him off the postseason roster and continued in an up-and-down '19 season. He was traded to the Giants that July in the Mark Melancon deal and landed with the Cubs in '20, pitching well with Chicago and making his playoff debut, then spent all of '21 pitching out of the Cubs' bullpen.

Marlins: Paul Campbell, RHP; Zach Pop, RHP (2021)
The Marlins took Campbell in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft and traded him for Pop after the D-backs selected the righty with their own Rule 5 pick. After returning from a suspension for a performance-enhancing drug violation, Campbell threw 26 2/3 innings and recorded a 6.41 ERA for Miami, but he has missed most of the past two seasons with right elbow issues. Pop made 50 appearances in the Majors in 2021 and posted a 4.12 ERA over 54 2/3 frames, striking out 51. He continued to thrive in '22, when he was sent to the Blue Jays in a trade for Jordan Groshans in August, but never got untracked after battling a right hamstring injury this season.

Mets: Sean Gilmartin, LHP (2014)
Originally taken by Atlanta with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2011 Draft, Gilmartin produced mixed results as a starter in the upper Minors before assuming a full-time bullpen role in ‘15, after the Mets had selected him in the previous year’s Rule 5 Draft. Though he excelled in his first season as a reliever, pitching to a 2.67 ERA across 50 appearances, Gilmartin struggled to build upon that success in each of the next two years and was designated for assignment by the Mets in June ’17.

Nationals: Thaddeus Ward, RHP (2022)
Washington grabbed Ward with the first pick of the 2022 Rule 5 Draft as a right-hander with a deep pitch mix who could work as either a starter or a reliever. The 2018 fifth-rounder endured a bumpy time in his first shot at the bigs and finished with a 6.37 ERA and 1.61 WHIP, with almost as many walks (28) as strikeouts (30) over 35 1/3 innings. He dealt with right shoulder inflammation that limited his workload, and he made up for some of the lost time in the most recent Arizona Fall League.

Phillies: Tyler Goeddel, OF (2015)
The Phillies nabbed Goeddel from the Rays in 2015, hoping to strike outfield gold again a year after taking Odúbel Herrera. Goeddel stuck all year with Philadelphia in 2016, appearing in 92 games, mostly in left field. But after hitting .192/.258/.291, he hasn’t made it back to the big leagues, logging Minor League time with the Reds (who picked him up off of waivers from the Phils in April 2017), the Dodgers in '18 and the Nationals in '19.


Brewers: Wei-Chung Wang, LHP (2013)
Signed by Pittsburgh out of Taiwan in 2011, Wang had accrued all of 74 1/3 Minor League frames -- none above the Class A Advanced level -- when the Brewers selected him in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. He appeared in 14 games as a reliever and remained with the club for the entire ’14 season, thanks in part to a left shoulder injury that sidelined him for much of the second half. Wang got back to the Majors with Milwaukee briefly in ’17, then logged 25 games (3.77 ERA) with the A’s and Pirates in ’19 before heading to the Chinese Professional Baseball League.

Cardinals: Matt Bowman, RHP (2015)
Though the Mets decided not to protect Bowman -- their 13th-round pick in 2012 -- after he had posted a 5.53 ERA across 26 Triple-A starts, the Cardinals felt that the right-hander possessed untapped potential as a reliever given his extreme ground-ball tendencies and strike-throwing ability. He proved a revelation in that role in ’16, posting a 3.46 ERA and a 63.5 percent ground-ball rate in 59 appearances, and he ultimately compiled a 4.10 ERA for the Cards over 149 1/3 innings (2016-18).

Cubs: Trevor Megill, RHP (2019)
Megill didn't pitch with the Cubs in 2020, but they snuck him through waivers and then sent cash to the Padres to permanently retain his rights. He logged an 8.37 ERA in 23 2/3 innings with Chicago the following season. He fared better the past two years after going to the Twins via waivers and the Brewers in a cash transaction.

Pirates: José Hernández, LHP (2022)
Hernández made the jump from Double-A in the Dodgers' system to the Pirates’ big league bullpen in 2023 and appeared in 50 games, totaling 50 2/3 innings. While his ERA for the season (4.97) doesn’t look too pretty, he missed a lot of bats (11.0 K/9 rate) and held hitters to a .239 BAA. He held left-handed hitters to a stingier .214 batting average and was really effective overall in the first half of the season (2.63 ERA) before fading down the stretch (7.71 ERA after the All-Star break).

Reds: Stuart Turner, C (2016)
The Twins had taken Turner out of Mississippi in the third round of the 2013 Draft, and he had spent the '16 season in Double-A. The Reds took a shot at the catcher, and he appeared in 37 games with Cincinnati in '17 while also spending a month on the injured list. He hasn’t been back to the big leagues since, spending '18 and '19 mostly with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate in Louisville while battling injuries.


D-backs: Óscar Hernández, C (2014)
Defensively gifted catchers, regardless of experience, can be a hot commodity in the Rule 5 Draft, which is why Arizona jumped at the chance to get Hernández from the Rays with the first pick in 2014. The then-21-year-old backstop appeared in parts of 18 games in his first big league campaign and remained on the D-backs’ 40-man roster until ’17. He did stints in the Red Sox and Royals systems before heading to the independent Frontier League in ’23.

Dodgers: Carlos Monasterios, RHP (2009)
Monasterios compiled a 4.38 ERA in 32 games as a swingman with the 2010 Dodgers, but he blew out his right elbow early the next season while in Triple-A, had Tommy John surgery and never pitched in another game for the organization before his release in April 2012. He's most famous for being part of the package the Yankees sent to the Phillies to acquire Bobby Abreu in '06.

Giants: Blake Sabol, C/OF (2022)
The Reds plucked Sabol from the Pirates and then dealt him to the Giants for Jake Wong and cash. Sabol became a semi-regular for San Francisco, splitting time between catcher and left field while hitting .235/.301/.394 with 13 homers in 110 games.

Padres: Miguel Díaz, RHP; Luis Torrens, C; Allen Córdoba, SS (2016)
Trades with the Twins and Reds netted San Diego the first two picks in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, which the Padres used on Díaz (from Brewers) and Torrens (Yankees) before grabbing Córdoba (Cardinals) at No. 3. None of them had played above the Class A level before that year, but all three prospects remained on San Diego’s roster for the entire '17 season. Torrens saw time with the Padres in '20 before they dealt him to Seattle in the Austin Nola Deadline deal, and he joined the Cubs for a 13-game spell in ’23. Díaz has made 15 appearances for the Tigers over the past two years, while Córdoba hasn’t seen the bigs since that ’17 campaign.

Rockies: Jordan Sheffield, RHP (2020)
Sheffield, whose brother Justus pitches for the Mariners, missed a chunk of the season with a right lat strain, but he threw 29 1/3 innings of 3.38 ERA ball for the Rockies after joining the club in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft. The right-hander, who was initially selected by the Dodgers with the 36th pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, also touched the big leagues briefly in '22.