MLB Rule 5 Draft 2016: Date, Start Time, Format and Top Prospects
As part of the winter meetings, representatives from all 30 MLB teams will convene in National Harbor, Maryland, for the 2016 Rule 5 draft.
This year’s draft will begin Thursday at 9 a.m. ET, and MLB.com will provide a live stream.
In the past, a few teams have struck gold in the Rule 5 draft. The Cincinnati Reds selected Josh Hamilton in 2006 and traded him to the Texas Rangers for Edinson Volquez in December 2007. The Minnesota Twins walked out of the 1999 Rule 5 draft with Johan Santana.
For the most part, though, the event is a mere formality of the offseason. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper wrote that some team representatives bring their luggage with them to the draft, so they can make a quicker exit once it’s over.
MLB’s rules regarding who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft significantly depletes the available talent pool.MLB.com outlined the criteria for eligibility:
Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years.
All players on a Major League Baseball team’s 40-man roster, regardless of other eligibility factors, are ‘protected’ and ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
There’s no guarantee a player will stay with the team that selected him, either. After paying $50,000 to his previous team, the receiving team has to keep the player on the 25-man squad for the entire regular season, otherwise his former team can pay $25,000 to get him back.
For instance, right-handed pitcher Josh Martin returned to the Cleveland Indians in April after the San Diego Padres decided he wouldn’t be a part of their major league roster in 2016.
Here’s the order for this year’s Rule 5 draft, courtesy of MLB.com’sJonathan Mayo:
2016 MLB Rule 5 Draft Order Pick Team 1 Minnesota Twins 2 Cincinnati Reds 3 San Diego Padres 4 Tampa Bay Rays 5 Atlanta Braves 6 Oakland Athletics 7 Arizona Diamondbacks 8 Philadelphia Phillies 9 Milwaukee Brewers 10 Los Angeles Angels 11 Colorado Rockies 12 Chicago White Sox 13 Pittsburgh Pirates 14 Miami Marlins 15 Kansas City Royals 16 Houston Astros 17 New York Yankees 18 Seattle Mariners 19 St. Louis Cardinals 20 Detroit Tigers 21 San Francisco Giants 22 New York Mets 23 Baltimore Orioles 24 Toronto Blue Jays 25 Los Angeles Dodgers 26 Boston Red Sox 27 Cleveland Indians 28 Washington Nationals 29 Texas Rangers 30 Chicago Cubs Source: MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo
The four players below aren’t guaranteed to change teams Thursday, but they’re among the best talents available.
Top ProspectsYimmi Brasoban, RHP, San Diego Padres [embedded content]
Yimmi Brasoban’s health issues may preclude him from hearing his name called in the Rule 5 draft. After suffering from elbow and forearm problems, the 22-year-old had a plasma injection in November in order to try to prevent surgery.
Exposing Brasoban to the Rule 5 draft is a calculated gamble by the San Diego Padres. It opened up a spot on their 40-man roster, but they opened the door for another team to select him.
In February, MLB.com’sMike Rosenbaum wrote Brasoban boasted the best slider in the Padres’ minor league system, giving it a 60 on the 20-80 grading scale.
The right-hander spent the bulk of the 2016 season with San Diego’s Double-A affiliate, making 29 appearances and posting a 3.03 earned run average. According to BrooksBaseball.net, his fastball averaged 95.09 mph, and his slider clocked in at 88.09 mph on the 15 pitches tracked by the site.
Given his impressive stuff, Brasoban could be a relief option for an MLB team in 2017 assuming he doesn’t experience any setbacks after his plasma procedure.
Daniel Gibson, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks [embedded content]
Daniel Gibson’s 2016 was a mixed bag. He earned a promotion to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate following a successful stint in Double-A. Upon reaching Triple-A, his numbers fell off a cliff. Here’s a look at the splits:
Daniel Gibson Double-A and Triple-A Splits Split G IP ERA K BB HR Double-A 24 22.2 0.40 17 8 0 Triple-A 21 21.0 6.86 17 14 4 Source: Baseball-Reference.com
Some regression is to be expected when making the transition up the minor leagues. Gibson took that to the extreme. He averaged nearly twice as many walks per nine innings (6.0) in Triple-A than he did in Double-A (3.2), per Baseball-Reference.com.
Still, his fastball averaged 92.14 mph in 2015 and 93.66 mph in 2016 when tracked by BrooksBaseball.net, and he’s a year removed from striking out 10 batters per nine innings.The fact that he has risen high through Arizona’s ranks will make him an enticing Rule 5 pick as well.
Eric Wood, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Eric Wood’s improved work at the plate may be enough for a team to take a flier on him in the Rule 5 draft.
Wood had two home runs and 28 runs batted in and slugged .305 in 373 plate appearances for the Double-A Altoona Curve in 2015. In 2016, his slugging percentage climbed to .443, and he hit 16 home runs with 50 RBI in 464 plate appearances.
That production carried over to the Arizona Fall League, where Wood had a .330/.388/.489 slash line with three homers and 20 RBI in 23 games, per MLB.com. Those numbers helped him earn top honors, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Stephen J. Nesbitt:
#Pirates prospects OF/3B Eric Wood and RHP Edgar Santana were named to the Arizona Fall League top-prospects team.
Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) December 5, 2016
His power slipped during his brief stint in the Dominican Winter League: one home run, six RBI and a .353 slugging percentage.
Finding a third baseman with power isn’t easy, so Wood will be an alluring target in the draft, even if there are questions about whether his offensive success will be repeated in 2017.
Jordan Guerrero, LHP, Chicago White Sox [embedded content]
Jordan Guerrero experienced control problems during his first season in Double-A, averaging 4.8 walks per nine innings, according to Baseball-Reference.com. As a result, his stock slipped quite a bit.
FanGraphs’ Dan Farnsworth ranked him as the Chicago White Sox’s fifth-best prospect in January. On Monday, Farnsworth’s colleague,Eric Longenhagen,listed Guerrero at No. 19.
In June, Baseball Prospectus’ Collin Whitchurch saw a potentially bleak future for Guerrero: “Guerrero never profiled as much more entertainment news stories than a possible back-end starter, but if he doesn’t adjust to the struggles he’s seen in Double-A, he may fall back into obscurity.”
The trouble with selecting Guerrero is that he’s almost certainly more than a year away from reaching the majors given his poor year, so putting him on the 25-man roster would be risky.
With that said, he pitched 285 combined innings the last two seasons, and he has struck out 256 batters during that stretch. An MLB team might think he’s worth reaching for in the draft.