The Rule 5 Draft has actually been called, sometimes, a little a needle in a haystack workout. Players not safeguarded on their group’s 40-man lineup are qualified for a factor. But every year, major league skill is discovered from that haystack. Last year alone saw outfielder Akil Baddoo get taken by the Tigers and work his method into being a daily gamer who published a 2.1 WAR, according to Baseball-Reference, and right-hander Garrett Whitlock sign up with the Red Sox and end up being a substantial part of their playoff bullpen, completing with a 3.0 WAR.
Whether any of the 30 gamers noted below can go on to have that sort of instant effect or will even get picked as a Rule 5 choice stays to be seen. But the MLB Pipeline personnel determined an interesting gamer from each company who is qualified for choice in the Rule 5 Draft (set up for Dec. 9), with “intriguing” significance anything from the possibility of being picked to an intriguing back story.
Blue Jays: Samad Taylor, 2B/OF (No. 17)
The 23-year-old was an outstanding Double-An entertainer with a .294/.385/.503 line, 16 homers and 30 takes in 87 video games for New Hampshire. His 141 wRC+ was ninth amongst Double-A gamers with a minimum of 300 plate looks. He likewise plays numerous positions, having actually gotten time at 2nd, brief, center and left. All that stated, he may not be a best fit at any one position, and while his run tool would play in the Majors, a 29.4 percent K rate is cause for issue. A Rule 5 club would likely keep Taylor in a utility function and hope it can get him to enhance enough offensively to maximize his budding power-speed combination.
Orioles: Adam Hall, 2B/SS/OF (No. 15)
A 2017 second-rounder out of the Canadian high school ranks, Hall fought as his method fell back a bit with a relocate to High-A in 2021, with extended missed out on time since of a quad injury no doubt contributing. Hall does have plus speed (26-for-27 in taken bases in 88 video games in 2015; 82-for-97 in his profession) and revealed some positional versatility in ’21, playing brief, 2nd and center field.
Rays: Blake Hunt, C (No. 15)
Roster crunches and the Tampa Bay Rays have actually gone together recently. Following the additions of René Pinto and Ford Proctor, the Rays’ 40-man lineup consists of 4 catchers, making Hunt the odd male out. Acquired from the Padres last offseason in the Blake Snell offer, Hunt didn’t rather click offensively this previous project, publishing a .205/.288/.375 line and 9 homers in 76 video games at High-A and Double-A. He has enough protective abilities, specifically with his arm, to be a backup catcher factor to consider as a Rule 5 choice, and the Rays might sweat leaving him unguarded so right after trading for him.
Red Sox: Gilberto Jimenez, OF (No. 10)
Signed for $10,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2017, Jimenez has actually become among the very best contact players, speedsters and protectors in the Red Sox system. But he hasn’t played above Low A — where he batted .306/.346/.405 with 13 takes in 94 video games — so Boston made a computed gamble that he will not have the ability to stick on another club’s major league lineup.
Yankees: Josh Breaux, C (No. 18)
Similar to Gary Sánchez in regards to his offensive and protective profile in addition to his construct, Breaux is attracting since he has well above-average raw power and an arm that was when clocked as much as 100 miles per hour when he took the mound at McLennan (Texas) CC. The 2018 second-rounder still requires to polish his striking and getting, and he batted .249/.298/.503 with 23 homers in 90 video games in between High-A and Double-A.
Guardians: Oscar Gonzalez, OF (unranked on Guardians Top 30)
The Guardians picked not to secure Gonzalez for the 3rd straight offseason despite the fact that he’s coming off a career-best .293/.329/.542 year with 31 homers in 121 video games at Double-A and Triple-A. The $300,000 signee out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 likewise has a strong arm to choose his pop, however his profession 4 percent walk rate is a warning.
Royals: Seuly Matias, OF (unranked on Royals Top 30)
This isn’t Matias’ very first Rule 5 rodeo. In truth, it’s his 3rd, and we need to be clear that it’s not likely he’s taken this time around either. But Matias’ mix of plus-plus power and an outstanding outfield arm will constantly make him a luring alternative. The 23-year-old simply revealed that in the Arizona Fall League, where he clubbed 6 homers in 22 video games and included the longest dinger (466 feet) and 3 hardest outfield tosses as determined by Statcast. Matias’ swing-and-miss is his greatest hinderance. He fanned 33.0 percent of the time in the AFL and 37.6 percent at Double-A in 2021 prior to that.
Tigers: Garrett Hill, RHP (unranked on Tigers Top 30)
The 2018 26th-rounder wasn’t a huge name in the Detroit system going into the season however was definitely a strong entertainer. He published a 2.74 age with 99 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings at High-A and Double-A and headed to the Arizona Fall League, where he had a 1.98 age with 21 K’s and just 3 strolls in 13 2/3 frames. That’s specifically significant offered the offending environment of the AFL. Hill sat 91-93 in the AFL while blending in a changeup and curveball, so it’s not essential killer things that can appear the Rule 5. But anybody trying to find somebody who might offer beginning depth and whom they might stow away as a long male out of the bullpen may think about Hill.
Twins: Yunior Severino, 2B/3B (No. 26)
Severino initially signed with the Braves however was among a number of potential customers stated totally free representatives by Major League Baseball for Atlanta’s global finalizing infractions and signed with the Twins after that. He’s yet to play above A-ball however in fact strike much better in High-A (.321/.414/.493) in 35 video games than in Low-A in 2021. There is some offending advantage in this switch-hitter, and he plays 2 infield positions to boot.
White Sox: Luke Shilling, RHP (No. 29)
Shilling didn’t pitch at Illinois in 2018 however the White Sox prepared him in the 15th round nevertheless, just to see him sustain a serious lat injury in his very first bullpen exercise after finalizing and never ever got him on the mound in a video game prior to launching him in May 2020. He enhanced his conditioning and mechanics prior to Chicago re-signed him last January and peaked at 98 miles per hour and flashed an appealing curveball and cutter in High-A — however he made simply 16 looks prior to burning out his elbow in June and needing Tommy John surgical treatment.
Astros: Yainer Diaz, C (No. 13)
Acquired from Cleveland in addition to Phil Maton in a July due date trade for Myles Straw, Diaz is a profession .328 player in 4 professional seasons and batted .300/.336/.443 with 6 homers in 73 video games in between Low-A and High-A. He owns strong arm strength however requires to discover more power and tidy up his getting and obstructing.
Angels: Robinson Pina, RHP (No. 20)
Pina pitched his method to Double-A in 2021, though he had a hard time there and after that had a little an irregular proving in the Arizona Fall League. Still, he set out 13.2 per 9 throughout the routine season and revealed a high-spin rate fastball (over 2,500 rpm) as much as 95 miles per hour and a slider that can miss out on bats in the AFL. A starter in the past, he has things that might tick up in much shorter stints out of the ‘pen, where command problems won’t be as much of an obstacle.
A’s: Brady Feigl, RHP (No. 24)
He won’t blow you away with pure stuff, with a fastball that typically sits in the low 90s. But he does have a four-pitch repertoire, doesn’t walk a ton of guys (2.8 BB/9 in his career) and actually misses a fair amount of bats (8.8/9). He’s proven durable, so a team needing starting pitching depth or a swingman could give Feigl a shot, kind of like the Royals did with Brad Keller back in 2017.
Mariners: Jose Caballero, 3B/SS (unranked on Mariners Top 30)
The Mariners didn’t really get that long of a look at Caballero after getting him at the 2019 Trade Deadline from the D-backs between the 2020 shutdown and a knee injury. He played only 20 games in the regular season and didn’t put up good numbers in the AFL, but there is some thump in his bat, he runs well and has shown the ability to play three infield positions capably.
Rangers: Bubba Thompson, OF (No. 27)
A star Alabama high school quarterback who drew interest from Southeastern Conference football programs before the Rangers made him the 26th overall pick in 2017, Thompson is a tremendous athlete with 25-25 upside but has had trouble staying healthy and producing at the plate. That said, he had the best season of his career in 2021, batting .275/.325/.483 with 16 homers and 25 steals in 104 Double-A games.
Braves: Justin Dean, OF (No. 25)
There was too much swing-and-miss in Dean’s game in 2021 with the move up to Double-A (30.2 percent K rate), but there is no question that his near top-of-the-scale speed is a legitimate weapon on both sides of the ball. He’s stolen 76 bags in his last two seasons and can cover a lot of ground in all three outfield spots.
Marlins: Griffin Conine, OF (No. 21)
A 2018 second-round pick of the Blue Jays, Conine joined Miami — the franchise with which his father Jeff won two World Series and became known as “Mr. Marlin” — in a summer 2020 trade for Jonathan Villar. He has well above-average raw power and an overly aggressive approach that resulted in 36 homers (tied for second in the Minors) and 185 strikeouts (first) while he hit .218/.330/.530 in 108 games at High-A and Double-A.
Mets: Brian Metoyer, RHP (unranked on Mets Top 30)
An analytically minded Rule 5 club might give Metoyer a hard look. As discussed in our AFL statistical standout piece, Metoyer’s curveball registered the 35 highest spin rates of the Fall League as measured by Statcast, and he was around 93-95 with a cutter. On stuff alone, those two pitches are worth investigating — can they stick in a Major League bullpen? Metoyer only has two appearances above High-A, and his AFL results (10.45 ERA, 17 strikeouts, 10 walks in 10 1/3 innings) didn’t exactly back up the stuff. Those facts will also be considerations in the Rule 5 process.
Nationals: Tim Cate, LHP (No. 13)
The 2018 second-rounder is only two years removed from being the Nats’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year, so it raised a few eyebrows that he was left unprotected in his first year of Rule 5 eligibility. However, Cate did take a step back in 2021, with a 5.31 ERA, 1.55 WHIP and 81 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings, all spent at Double-A Harrisburg. He shows just an average fastball, but Cate’s bread-and-butter has always been his plus curveball. The southpaw has a history of throwing strikes and generating ground balls as well, and there’s an outside possibility a Rule 5 club will think he can get back to that while providing length to the pitching staff.
Phillies: Scott Kingery, UTIL (ineligible for Phillies Top 30)
So, he’s not a prospect and anyone taking him would be on the hook for $14.5 million in salary over the next two years, which would make this less of a bargain option. But if he’s healthy, he can play just about anywhere, has some pop and has the speed to steal bases.
Brewers: Korry Howell, OF/SS/3B (No. 15)
Milwaukee didn’t add anyone to its 40-man roster ahead of last week’s deadline, leaving Howell and many others eligible for this year’s Rule 5. Howell has plus-plus speed that could help a Major League club, and his athleticism has helped him work at multiple spots on the diamond. Questions about the bat kept him off the 40-man and will determine if he gets taken in the Draft. He showed some power with 16 homers, but a 39.6 percent K rate in 28 games at Double-A begs a lot of questions about what type of contact rate he would have at the top level.
Cardinals: Delvin Pérez, SS (No. 12)
The 2016 23rd overall pick is Rule 5-eligible for the second straight season but has a stronger chance this time. His plus run and fielding tools form the basis of his Rule 5 case, and weirder things have happened in the Rule 5 Draft than a team taking a fast glove-first infielder. Also, Pérez now has a full Double-A season under his belt, so the jump wouldn’t be wholly prohibitive. But his bat remains a major drawback. Pérez hit .265/.322/.339 with four homers in 98 games, and his propensity for weak contact would likely be exacerbated in the Majors.
Cubs: Andy Weber, SS (unranked on Cubs Top 30)
Weber is an organization favorite of the Cubs but lacks loud tools, projecting as a decent hitter with modest power, fringy speed and steady defense all over the infield. The 2018 fifth-rounder from Virginia batted .214/.302/.321 in 41 Double-A games while battling turf toe but looked much better while helping the Mesa Solar Sox win the Arizona Fall League championship.
Pirates: Tahnaj Thomas, RHP (No. 13)
Nearly every Rule 5 Draft has at least one pure-stuff arm taken from A-ball in the hopes he can make the jump into a big league bullpen. The 6-foot-4 Thomas fits that description perfectly, with a fastball that can reach triple digits, especially in shorter stints, and a slider that can be above-average at times. He can miss bats (9.8 K/9) but also misses the strike zone (5.0 BB/9), so it’s a risk, but the velocity is sure to get some looks.
Reds: Drew Mount, OF (unranked on Reds Top 30)
A little recency bias here, because Mount just played in the Arizona Fall League, and played pretty well. Making up for lost time from a dislocated ankle, Mount hit .314/.375/.412 in 14 AFL games. He’s got some pop, especially to the pull side, and plays solid defense in all three spots. A former college football player, he brings a grinder/aggressive mentality to the field every day.
D-backs: Keegan Curtis, RHP (No. 28)
Arizona acquired Curtis from the Yankees in July, knowing he was Rule 5-eligible. He held his own at Double-A Amarillo following the move (3.94 ERA, 27 strikeouts in 16 innings) but was hit around at Triple-A Reno (7.04 ERA, 2.22 WHIP in nine appearances). His results in the Arizona Fall League were improved (12 strikeouts, four earned runs in 9 1/3 innings), but it wasn’t enough to earn him a 40-man spot. Curtis topped out at 96 mph with his heater in the AFL and showcased a pair of breakers in a slider and curve. It’s that arsenal that he hopes will be enough to get him a Rule 5 look out of a Major League bullpen.
Dodgers: Leonel Valera, SS (No. 15)
Valera may be the best prospect the Dodgers landed in their $166.9 million splurge on international players in the 2015-16 class, though he cost just $50,000 out of Venezuela. Extremely physical for a shortstop, he offers 20-20 potential as well as plus arm strength and the versatility to play all over the diamond. Los Angeles is betting that after he hit .224/.305/.436 with 16 homers and as many steals in 95 High-A games, other clubs will not think he’s ready to make the jump to the Majors.
Giants: Seth Corry, LHP (No. 11)
Corry won the Low-A South Atlantic League pitcher of the year award while finishing second in the Minors in ERA (1.76) in 2019, but his mechanics fell apart during the pandemic layoff and he couldn’t find the strike zone this year. He still can touch 96 mph and show a plus curveball and solid changeup, but he logged a 5.99 ERA with 100 strikeouts and 63 walks in 67 2/3 innings in High-A.
Padres: Esteury Ruiz, OF (unranked on Padres Top 30)
Ruiz can really fly and is aggressive on the basepaths, having stolen at least 30 bases in each of his last three seasons. In fact, his 119 steals rank third in the Minors since 2018. He spent his entire age-22 season at Double-A but was only league-average with the bat there, hitting .249/.328/.411 with 10 homers in 84 games. Ruiz has improved in his ability to make more contact, and he has started to make more of his solid raw power. The Padres played him at all three outfield spots, which could help his Rule 5 cause, but a evidence of a better hit tool was likely needed to press the issue in earnest.
Rockies: Tommy Doyle, RHP (unranked on Rockies Top 30)
Just a year ago, Doyle looked like a success story, going from being the University of Virginia’s closer in 2017 to saving 37 games over his first two Minor League seasons and making his brief big league debut in 2020. A shoulder injury sidelined him for nearly all of 2021, so a group would have to be sure he’s healthy, however he was once a Top 30 possibility with a plus fastball and above-average curve.