Rule 5 Thoughts

Now that the dust has settled from the Rule 5 deadline, let’s take a look at who’s eligible. One mistake I made was overlooking the Dominican League players, hence missing Eury Perez. Thus, I spent some time putting into a spreadsheet all the DSL and GCL players from 2007 forward that appear to be still active. That’s where things get tricky, of course.

Because it’s a maintenance nightmare, I’ll keep that list offline but refer to it next November. I’ve been told that even folks in the MLB front offices are befuddled by this exercise, so I feel a little less stupid. As Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus tweeted yesterday: “Who does/doesn’t get added to the 40-man says as much about the player as it does the chances of him getting hid on a roster for a year.”

So here’s my latest pass at who’s eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time this year:
Manuel Rivera
Carlos Alvarez
Adrian Sanchez
Angel Montilla
Hendry Jimenez
Brett Newsome
Marcos Frias
Sandy Leon
Francisco Soriano
Steve Souza
Josh Smoker
J.R. Higley
Jose Lozada
Chris Curran
Pat McCoy
Tanner Roark
Erik Komatsu

The odds are better than even that I missed someone, so my apologies in advance. Like the watchlist, it’s in order of the highest level played, which is roughly short-season A to AA. I wish I had more information about the minor-league phase of the draft, but as I mentioned in the comments, who’s protected isn’t readily available thus it’s nearly impossible to speculate on who might be taken. As you can see from last year’s results (scroll down), it’s mostly pitchers and catchers that get moved around.

Likewise, here’s a thumbnail list of who’s eligible for the first time next year. With the college tilt of the past few drafts, you can see that a couple of these names are likely to be gone by next April, never mind next November:
Nathan Karns
Bobby Hansen
Taylor Jordan
Paul Applebee
Shane McCatty
Matt Swynenberg
Chad Jenkins
Andruth Ramirez
Justino Cuevas
Jeff Kobernus
Justin Bloxom
Destin Hood
Adrian Nieto
J.P. Ramirez
Paul Demny
Trevor Holder
Dean Weaver
Mitchell Clegg
Rob Wort
Pat Lehman
Danny Rosenbaum
Sean Nicol
Evan Bronson

The folks that were dismissive of the ’08 DSL champs can have their “told you so” — Justino Cuevas is the sole rookie from that team still in the organization (Andruth Ramirez played for the “JV” DSL Nationals 2) and has yet to play at the AA level. The ’09 rookies aren’t looking much better, with none thus far having played full-season baseball. But as I’ve stated previously, the reliance on the DSL for teenage talent really shows up when you look ahead to the the ’13-’15 drafts: 13 of 31, 12 of 37, and 27 of 28 (Deion Williams is the sole 2015 American-born Rule 5 candidates.

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.

12 thoughts on “Rule 5 Thoughts”

  1. I guess this whole exercise will become even more interesting when the fuller list across teams becomes clear. As the Nats improve, the quality of players they cannot protect will as well, making it more likely to suffer claims. For now, though, other teams may have vulnerable players likely to be taken early in the draft in front of the likes of Komatsu.

    I think it may not be all that consequential in the end anyway. We all just love the exercise because it is the best intrigue going until free agent signings and trades really begin. I mean, we lost Michael Martinez last year to the Phillies, and I don’t hear many mourning the loss.


  2. Any thoughts are who might be available for the Nats from other teams’ Rule 5ers –if you have an time left for such thoughts? Have the Nats left room on their 40-man roster for any Rule 5ers? I believe I read there’s 37 currently on the 40-man.

    1. I think you’ll find that a number of teams go into the Winter meetings with a roster of 36-38 players. That gives some flexability for possible RuleV / Trade pickups without taking additional players through waivers to clear roster spots.

      From my unofficial tracking spreadsheet, here’s the current roster counts (includes Arb-eligible players)…
      33 – NYM
      34 – ATL, CWS, LAA
      35 – SF, TB
      36 – AZ, CUB, MIN
      37 – DET, KC, MIL, PIT, SD, SEA, TEX, WSH
      38 – MIA, NYY
      39 – BAL, COL, HOU, OAK, PHI, TOR
      40 – BOS, LAD, StL
      40+ – CIN, CLE

        1. No worries. It’s the second time for Meyers, Mandel, King, and Tatusko. What’s not entirely clear is what the effects of being released or traded prior to the six-year period is up.

  3. I agree its a maintenance nightmare. You have to think the team has someone in the org whose sole job it is to maintain the same spreadsheets we do, in order to keep track of all this stuff.

    It gets even more hairy when trying to figure out service time. God knows how someone figures all that out.

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