White Sox protect 2 arms from Rule 5 Draft

November 20th, 2021

The White Sox added a pair of pitching prospects to their 40-man roster on Friday to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, purchasing the contracts of right-hander and left-hander from Triple-A Charlotte.

Bilous is the club's 18th-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline. The 24-year-old posted a 3-8 record with a 5.76 ERA in 20 starts between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. More impressive was his career-best strikeout rate of 12 per nine innings, having fanned 106 batters over 79 2/3 frames between his two stops. Just as important, Bilous cut his walk rate to 3.6 per nine innings, his first season less than five.

Sousa also had a high strikeout rate, fanning 71 batters over 47 1/3 innings of relief between Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. Opponents hit just .209 (37-for-177) against him, including a .140 average (8-for-57) against left-handed batters.

The Rule 5 Draft each December allows teams to add young talent by plucking prospects who aren’t on other organizations’ 40-man rosters. Players first signed at age 18 or younger must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted. Players signed at age 19 or older need to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 26-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.

For this year, that means an international prospect or high school Draft pick signed in 2017 -- assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 8 of that year -- has to be protected. A college player taken in the 2018 Draft is in the same position.

Bilous and Sousa were White Sox selections out of college in the 2018 Draft. Sousa was a 10th-round pick from the University of Virginia. Bilous was selected three rounds later from Coastal Carolina.