As we last discussed, the Rule 5 draft has become a far less significant exercise than in years past. As noted in the comments, Jesus Flores was picked up in the 2006 Rule 5 draft and should he manage to stay healthy at any point, that will still be a good deal. Unfortunately, that was under the previous CBA and the rules have since been changed. Suffice it to say, the odds are that it will be quite some time before the next Joakim Soria comes along.
Baseball America has named some of the targets it feels have the best chance to get picked up, which did not include any Nationals (is that good news or bad?). Most are young pitchers that were drafted or signed at a young age. There are also some position players in the mix, but almost have a sizable “yeah, but” in their description. Let’s take a look (not ranked, grouped by type)…
Luis Avilan, LHP (Atlanta) —21-year-old that’s just cracked Hi-A, with mediocre results. Scouts like his live arm and as a reliever, he can buried in the ‘pen.
Scott Diamond, LHP (Atlanta) — 24-year-old starter that features a plus curve but an average fastball. Like Wilkie, doesn’t give up the gopher ball (6HR in 159IP)
Edgar Ibarra, LHP (Minnesota) — Has three things in his favor: young (21), lefthanded, throws hard (88-92). As you might expect, lacks polish and consistency.
“Colt” Hynes, LHP (San Diego) —25-year-old that throws sinking fastball, but short and stocky (5’11″ 200 lb) and had poor showing in AFL (12R in 12 app.)
Garrett Johnson, LHP (Chicago) — Built like a preying mantis (6’10″, 205) and throws sidearm, this 23-year-old represents a serious project.
Kasey Kiker, LHP (Texas) — Has averaged nearly a strikeout per inning for his entire career, but saw his walk rate jump from 2.7 in ’08 to 4.1 in ’09 to 10.4 in ’10 but turned 23 just before Thanksgiivng
Robert Fish, LHP (L.A. Angels) — Stuggled mightily when making the jump from A+ to AA, but this 22-year-old slings it at 95mph and gets the K (10.2/9IP at AA)
Ismael Guillon, LHP (Cincinnati) — An IFA that had his contract voided but resigned with same team, which apparently requires him to be placed on the 40-man or exposed. The Reds are gambling that despite a 93mph heater and plus change, they’ll pass on eating a roster spot for raw-but-promising 18-year-old.
Danny Gutierrez, RHP (Texas) — PED suspension (took Adderall, had a prescription, but never applied for waiver), assault charges in ’09, diminished fastball, but was still ranked the 10th best Ranger prospect. Turns 24 in March.
Adam Miller, RHP (Cleveland) — Four finger-tendon surgeries have shelved this hard-thrower for the past two years, but reports say the fastball was still in the 90s in the instrux.
Wynn Pelzer, RHP (Baltimore) — Power arm that his former organization (San Diego) projected as a starter, but Baltimore used in the ‘pen and BA’s sources agree the 24-year-old’s low-90s stuff fits better there.
Aneury Rodriguez, RHP (Tampa Bay) — Turns 23 next week, but started 17 games for the Durham Bulls, the Rays’ AAA affiliate and was often the #2 starter behind Jeremy Hellickson but scouts feel like he’s maxed out in terms of development and will likely be just a #4/#5 SP and BA believes he’s the most likely to get selected.
Daniel Turpen, RHP (Boston) — Acquired as part of the Ramon Ramirez trade, this 24-year-old AA reliever put up pedestrian numbers down the stretch for Portland and struggled against lefties despite 92-94mph heat.
Kyle Waldrop, RHP (Minnesota) — Turned 25 in late October, Waldrop logged 87⅔ IP in 59 appearances and features a sinkerball that produced a 3.73-to-1 groundball/flyball ratio and just 5HR. At 6’4″ and 205 lbs, appears to have the big frame that Rizzo favors, even if scouts feel his secondary pitches are below-average.
Heitor Correa, RHP (Philadelphia) — Turned 21 in August, but appears to have hit the wall at Hi-A with a 6.62ERA in 25 starts and fading fastball.
Casey Mulligan, RHP (St. Louis) — Drafted as a C-IF, but converted to P in ’08, the 23-year-old split time between A+ and AA with spectacular numbers at the former and poor results in the latter.
Ryan Adams, 2B (Baltimore) — Turns 25 in late March, but a better bat than glove and scouts have been less than impressed with his approach. Tied for the Eastern League lead for doubles with 43.
Brad Emaus, 2B/3B (Toronto) — A hitter in search of a position, this 24-year-old put up a .290/.397/.476 line between AA and AAA but has below-average running skills.
Marquez Smith, 3B (Chicago Cubs) — AAA slugger with some thump (.958OPS at Iowa) that BA projects might be worth a look for a reserve IF. Turns 26 in March.
Ramon Morla, 3B (Seattle) — Just turned 21 but hasn’t risen above advanced rookie, but .323 with 17HR (.610 SLG) in 62 Appy League games this past summer (checked my book; didn’t see him on my trip to Tennessee in late August)
Brandon Waring, 1B/3B (Baltimore) — Led the EL in strikeouts (179), but the turning-25-in-January also hit 22HRs and 32 doubles while batting .242 but a semi-decent .338 OBP.
Paulo Orlando, OF (Kansas City) — Posted a .305/.366/.480 as a 24-year-old at AA but scouts feel the Brazilian is more athletic than skilled.
Lars Davis, C (Colorado) — Hit .289 but the just-turned-25-year-old is seen as a defense-first receiver at the upper levels.
Stephen Vogt, C-1B-LF (Tampa Bay) — Dominated A+ with a .345/.399/.511 line but turned 26 in early November and is valued for his versatility on defense more than his defense itself.
Matt Sweeney, 3B (Tampa Bay) — Turns 23 in April, but suffered a knee injury in ’08 that axed that year and limited him to 68 games in ’09. Struggled in AA in ’10 but remains lefthanded and scouts like his mechanics.