Observations and (often irreverent) notes from the major league portion of Thursday’s Rule 5 draft.
• Lefthander Wesley Wright was the odd man out of the Dodgers 40-man roster crunch, and it was no surprise that he was drafted in the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. The Astros selected him with the eighth pick of the first round.
Wright ranked among the Dodgers’ top 30 prospects in the 2007 Prospect Handbook, and was poised to climb near their top 20 this year after another solid season in 2007. Wright, who turns 23 next month, split 2007 between Double-A and Triple-A and finished his season with 16 consecutive scoreless innings out of Double-A Jacksonville’s bullpen. He pitches off an 88-91 mph fastball that he has deft command of. His solid-average spike-curveball is his best secondary pitch, but his best attributes are his good feel for pitching and consistency, two things that major league managers covet. As a middle reliever or situational man, his ceiling is modest, but the Astros can use him right away.
It was probably more than a coincidence that the same scout that signed Wright out of Goshen (Ala.) High in 2003, Clarence Johns, is now a crosschecker with Houston and was in Nashville to offer assistance in the Rule 5 Draft.
• The Twins lost three players in a span of about 10 minutes, though to be fair, righthander R.A. Dickey (who went to the Mariners) signed as a minor league free agent just a few weeks ago. He was Triple-A Pacific Coast League pitcher of the year last year.
The other two, righthander Tim Lahey and outfielder Garrett Guzman could stick as 25th men for their new organizations, the Rays and Nationals. Lahey, a converted catcher, was then apparently traded to the Cubs, though that is not official. Lahey’s fastball reaches 92 mph at times, and he still has a catcher-style arm action, a short, bow-and-arrow release reminiscent of Keith Foulke. He also throws a slider and changeup.
Though the Nationals have plenty of outfield depth now that they’ve traded for Wily Mo Pena, Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes–all in the past four months–general manager Jim Bowden is rumored to be shopping incumbent right fielder Austin Kearns. As it stands, Guzman would have to beat out Nook Logan and Ryan Langerhans for fifth outfielder duty, but he has a more complete offensive package than either player.
• Reliever Steve Register, whom the Mets Rule 5′ed, threw 91-93 mph while at Auburn and even led the nation in saves in 2003, the same summer he teamed with Huston Street on Team USA.
The Rockies took him in the third round of the 2004 draft, but he has failed to replicate that success as a pro, posting a 4.64 ERA in four seasons. The Rockies had tried him as a starter earlier in his career, but he returned to the bullpen at Double-A Tulsa this season and had 37 saves, which led the minors.
• The Cardinals now have the similar-sounding Brian Barton and Brian Barden on their 40-man roster. Discerning between the two has been a constant source of confusion around the BA office.
Barden, an infielder, was claimed on waivers from the Diamondbacks in August, while Barton was a Rule 5 selection.
• First baseman Matt Whitney, whom the Indians selected 33rd overall in 2002, hit very well in 2007, his first fully healthy season since breaking his left leg while playing basketball in 2004. He batted .299/.364/.545 with 32 home runs in 512 at-bats. The caveat: He did his damage at the Class A level as a 23-year-old. The Nationals made him a Rule 5 pick.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog