The Rule 5 Draft, Part One

Musings on the upcoming Rule 5 draft

After a crazy weekend that saw the Red Sox acquire Adrian Gonzalez, a deal that we know the Nationals can’t make and then the long-awaited (and longer complained about) big free-agent signing, Jayson Werth, that a fellow reporter-turned-blogger called, we’re way, way, way back on the burner of the hot stove.

But as the headline says, our focus turns to the Rule 5 draft.

As you might imagine, the majority of information out there is organization-focused (*ahem*) but a common thread among many folks is the lament that no “impact” players will be taken. That’s because in the last CBA, the “Rule 5 rules” were changed to, in a nutshell, give organizations another year to evaluate talent… and drain the talent pool. Baseball America discusses this trend in a story published last week.

Sadly, another trend is that the lion’s share of information out there is focused on the major-league phase of the draft. There are also two other phases, the AAA and the AA, which are something of a misnomer because there’s no requirement that the player has played or will play at that level in 2010 or 2011. Basically, it amounts to teams being able to protect up to 38 players in the AAA phase and up to 37 players in the AA phase.

Who is or will be protected is anyone’s guess. It appears that this information simply is not released to anyone outside of baseball. Last year, the Nationals “lost” Zech Zinicola in the major-league phase, Ruben De La Rosa and Terrence Engles were taken in the AAA phase, and Johan Figuereo went in the AA phase. On the plus side, the Nationals acquired Jamie Hoffman from the Dodgers and traded him to the Yankees for Brian Bruney in the MLB phase, while Nick Moresi and Arismendy Mota got picked up in the AAA phase, with Mota traded to the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations.

In all phases, the Rule 5 draft has become primarily an exercise of looking for bullpen help (e.g. Zinicola), secondarily an act of plugging holes in the roster (e.g. Moresi). Baseball America has done a preview of who might be taken, which will be the focus of our next post. Unlike the past two years, it’s not a matter of who’s the best guy to take, but who will be available when it’s the Nationals’ turn to pick.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

6 thoughts on “The Rule 5 Draft, Part One”

  1. They do still have Jesus Flores. He is reasonably healthy again and playing winter ball. Time will tell as to where that leads.

  2. Thanks, Sue. It looks like a given that the Nats will lose Wilkie. They don’t like him, for whatever reason, and ‘fan favorite’ is a term the Nats F.O. doesn’t care bupkis about, as we have seen.
    Are we privy at all to what others teams 40 man looks like? Would increase the fun factor to see who might get picked up.

  3. Slightly off-topic, but I see the WSH signing of Werth sending a ‘shock-wave’ into the minor-leagues for the Orginization, to the OF prospects in particular. Players like Burgess, Ramirez, Hood, Moldenhauer, Oduber & others just got a huge challenge, in no uncertain terms; Either grow & continue to progress, or you’re done. Looks like time for a sorting of ‘the wheat from the chaff’ in 2011, imo.

  4. I recall the year Miguel Bautista was lost to the Pirates in Rule V and one thought- hes gone- nope- PITT found a way not to be patient.
    Again -should be interesting how Harris plugs a few holes @ AAA/AA.
    The Werth signing says to me that pena is not a consideration anymore. add Webb and a vet pen arm along with a complimentary LH bat for the bench ( Ankiel, Nix or ..Freddie Lewis). brad hawpe?
    happy holidays one and all.
    PS- Werth’s numbers looks like what Tim Wallach did without the benefit of a matchbox in PHILLY….

  5. @BinM,

    It sends a shockwave into next year’s draft as well. The Nats have handled Boras in a way no one else would at this point in time. If he represents the first pick as he has the last 2 years … even at #6 the Nats may feel it.

  6. @peric:
    I’m sure Bora$ will be “advising” a handful of highly-rated prospects next year, and hear that the 2011 crop is deep, but lacks a clear-cut #1 at this point. Apparently, the Nationals picked two good years to post hideous W-L records in.

    I personally tend to ignore the Amateur side of things until early May; There’s more than enough to keep me occupied in the months leading into the draft; Everyone has their niche – I like tracking the overall orginization development.

Comments are closed.