NASHVILLE—A relatively placid day during the Winter Meetings on Wednesday gives way to what should be a much more active Thursday.
Most fans are hoping for a free-agent signing by their team or to be involved in a trade involving Justin Upton. The only guaranteed activity is Thursday's Rule 5 draft, which starts at 9 a.m. Central time at the Opryland Hotel's Delta Ballroom A.
Scouts and front-office officials contacted throughout the week here do expect it to be a fairly active Rule 5 draft by recent standards, especially compared to last year. The 2011 draft saw just 12 players picked, the fewest since 2005. [...] Continue Reading »
DALLAS—Every year's Rule 5 draft previews must mention the event's rich history. It's where the Twins acquired Johan Santana, where the Royals found Joakim Soria, and where Josh Hamilton's career hit the reset button.
But since changes in 2007 that added a year of protection for clubs before their players had to be added to the 40-man roster, the Rule 5 has shrunk in importance. Thursday's proceedings, where 37 players were selected overall—12 in the major league phase—showed that the new rules almost have rendered the Rule 5 obsolete.
"The rules changes have had a significant impact on the talent pool," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, whose team was active for the fifth straight year, selecting a player in the Rule 5's major league phase. "Going from three and four years to four and five years, you start to see a thinner talent pool."
Of the 12 players selected, eight were pitches and four were position players. Righthander Rhiner Cruz, who went to Houston, enters history as this year's top Rule 5 selection. [...] Continue Reading »
DALLAS—The Winter Meetings wrap up Thursday with the Rule 5 draft, and the status of the first pick of the draft seemed to be coming into focus as Wednesday night crept into Thursday morning.
Most of the buzz in the lobby of the Hilton Anatole centered on Jiwan James, the Phillies' outfielder and No. 9 prospect, being in the Astros' cross-hairs. He's athletic, he's a major league-caliber defender right now, and his speed and defense could buy time for his bat to develop. One scout compared him to Dewayne Wise, whose long big league career started when he was Rule 5'd back in 1999.
However, the James speculation seemed to stop when word leaked that the Astros had hired Cardinals scouting director Jeff Luhnow as their new general manager. Luhnow had success with St. Louis' drafts, but he made his name with the Cardinals drafting more polished, role players—along the lines of World Series heroes Allen Craig or Lance Lynn—rather than high-risk, high-reward players such as James. It remains to be seen if the Luhnow hire would affect Houston's Rule 5 pick—for example, would the Astros pick a Cardinals player, such as righthander Francisco Samuel?—and Astros officials weren't commenting Thursday night. [...] Continue Reading »
DALLAS—In the first half of this decade, the Rule 5 draft produced star big leaguers such as Johan Santana, Dan Uggla and Jose Bautista, among others.
But the eligibility rules changed for the 2006 edition of the draft, granting teams an extra year of protection for their players. After teams got used to the new rules of the game—Joakim Soria and Josh Hamilton went off the board early in ’06—the draft has mattered less and less each year. Since ’07 the success stories have been much more modest, e.g. Darren O'Day, Joe Paterson, Everth Cabrera, and just five Rule 5 picks stuck with their drafting clubs from the 2010 proceedings, only one of them a position player, Michael Martinez of the Phillies.
Many of the major league Rule 5 players were profiled in our previews, both the subscriber link and the blog update Wednesday. This file, meanwhile, sat in the Drafts folder for a couple of hours; I merged it with a comments post that pointed out that we'd left stuff out.
Speedy outfielder Brad Chalk, the former Clemson player, was the first Triple-A phase pick out of the Padres system, going to the Pirates. [...] Continue Reading »
The Triple-A phase had 24 players picked, and now we're on to the Double-A phase, where Jacob Rasner of the White Sox organization was drafted by the Orioles.
Not a lot of action in the Double-A phase, though speedster Quentin Berry, whom we discussed in yesterday's podcast, went to the Mets as the second player selected. The only other picks made were righthander Brent Allar (Orioles), who went to the Marlins; and second baseman Roan Salas (Rays), who went to the Blue Jays.
And just like that, the Rule 5 draft is over, in 38 minutes. We'll have much more analysis to come.
The Nationals and Astros made second-round selections with righthanders Ryan Broderick and the Astros taking Lance Pendleton.
Then the Mets right a past wrong, if you want to look at it that way, by taking righty Pedro Beato from the Orioles. The Mets had taken Beato as a draft and follow in 2005 but didn't sign him. Now, he's a Met again.
The Yankees take Daniel Turpen, yet another name from the preview. The Oregon State 2007 team is well-represented in the Rule 5 with Turpen and Paterson both gone.
Round Two is over, and Round Three passes with no selections. The Major League phase is done. We'll break down every pick shortly.
Rule 5 is flying. The Mets at 11 go with Brad Emaus of the Blue Jays, another preview name.
The Marlins picks 12th but pass, the first team to pass, followed by the Dodgers, Athletics and Rockies, Blue Jays, Cardinals, White Sox, and Red Sox passing.
The Padres take George Kontos from the Yankees at the 22nd selection after all those passes and teams full at 40. Texas, which will get Tobin, passes, as do the Reds, Braves and Giants.
Minnesota takes lefty Scott Diamond, another pitcher from our original preview. (I like that trend.) Speaking of that trend, the Yankees at No. 28 select lefty Robert Fish from the Angels.
The Rays go off our board though with lefty Cesar Cabral from the Red Sox system, while the Phillies go with Nationals infielder Michael Martinez, the athletic second baseman from last week's podcast preview.
Round Two next post.
Adrian Rosario to the Orioles, then Nathan Adcock to Kansas City, both righthanders. No one has passed yet.
The Nationals at six go with Elvin Ramirez from the Mets, another name we had in the preview.
The Cubs selected Mason Tobin from the Angels, and he's going to the Rangers is my guess; as reported he's being traded.
Aneury Rodriguez finally goes next to the Astros, while the Brewers at 10 take an Oriole, righty Pat Egan.
After going through roll call, we get to the picks.
Pirates start with shortstop Josh Rodriguez from the Indians, a versatile infielder who starred at Rice. Obvious Neal Huntington ties there.
Seattle follows with Jose Flores, a righthander also off the roster of the Indians, while the Diamondbacks take late rumor Joe Paterson, a lefty out of the Diamondbacks system.
That's where the Rule 5 draft will start in a few minutes. We'll try to live blog since we have the fine wireless connection working, and also check our Twitter feeds: @BaseballAmerica, @johnmanuelba, @eddymk and I believe even some @jimcallisba action.
The only last-minute news I have to report is the Cubs will be trading their selection.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Matt Walbeck came to the Winter Meetings in hopes of securing a job for next season. Instead, he is leaving Orlando unemployed and still confused about the path that has taken him from guiding the Double-A Altoona Curve to the Eastern League title to being dismissed by the Pirates in early September.
The 2010 Eastern League manager of the year is now managing nobody.
Walbeck said he has found little interest from teams since the Pirates dismissed him days after last season ended. He quickly compiled a resume but got no bites from teams, Walbeck said. He hoped face-to-face meetings with executives in Orlando would net results, either as a manager, coach or coordinator, but instead he "never had a meeting of any substance," Walbeck said.
"It is really quite humbling and making me appreciate what I've done (in my career)," Walbeck said. "This is the first time in my life that I have not been involved in baseball since I got out of high school." [...] Continue Reading »
INDIANAPOLIS—Most everyone left town as soon as the Rule 5 draft ended. But many minor league personnel, and some major league clubs, stayed behind for Thursday night’s banquet that officially closes the Winter Meetings.
Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year is one of several annual awards presented, including Topps’ organization of the year, the Giants (BA’s choice, awarded Monday, was the Phillies). The best part of the Giants’ presentation was seeing "The Ninja," Dick Tidrow, have to give a speech as he accepted the award. Tidrow isn’t known for his warm, fuzzy public persona, and having interviewed him several times for Giants’ Top 30 Prospects rankings, I can imagine that public speaking ranks just slightly above talking to Baseball America about his own players.
|RULE 5 DRAFT|
|Player||Original Team||The Skinny|
|No. 1||*Yankees||Jamie Hoffmann, of||Dodgers||Physical grinder with big league experience could stick as extra outfielder.|
|No. 2||Pirates||John Raynor, of||Marlins||At least a 70 runner, Raynor fits as an extra outfielder if his defense in center is serviceable.|
|No. 3||**Rangers||Ben Snyder, lhp||Giants||Rangers targeted physical lefty, who blossomed in relief role at Double-A Connecticut in ’09.|
|No. 4||Royals||Edgar Osuna, lhp||Braves||Shocked the Royals took a Brave? Osuna has fringe velocity but a good slow curve that should work out of the pen.|
|No. 5||Indians||Hector Ambriz, rhp||Diamondbacks||Former two-way UCLA player has good size and should focus on low-90s fastball and split in relief role.|
|No. 6||Diamondbacks||Zack Kroenke, lhp||Yankees||Lefty’s velocity was up in Arizona Fall League and doesn’t have to be offered back to Yanks; since he’s been outrighted off 40-man roster, he can refuse and become a free agent if offered back.|
|No. 7||#Mets||Carlos Monasterios, rhp||Phillies||Righty has improved his sinkerball’s command in recent years, secondary stuff still comes and goes.|
|No. 8||***Marlins||Jorge Jimenez, 3b||Red Sox||Physical third baseman has solid lefty bat and fringe defensive skills at third base.|
|No. 10||Athletics||Bobby Cassevah, rhp||Angels||Cassevah’s sinker tops out at 93-94 and helped generate 4.03-to-1 groundout-to-airout ratio in ’09 at Double-A.|
|No. 11||Blue Jays||Zech Zinicola, rhp||Nationals||Former Arizona State closer has inconsistent history, but at his best, he has firm 90-93 mph fastball and a closer’s short memory.|
|No. 12||White Sox||Pass||—||—|
|No. 13||Brewers||Chuck Lofgren, lhp||Indians||Athletic lefthander has lost command the last two years; found success at Double-A in ’09 but regressed again in Triple-A.|
|No. 14||Cubs||Mike Parisi, rhp||Cardinals||Big soft-tosser reached majors in 2008 but battled injuries in ’09, making just five minor league starts.|
|No. 15||Rays||Armando Zerpa, lhp||Red Sox||Low-slot lefthander has sinker-slider mix, hasn’t pitched above Class A.|
|No. 16||Mariners||Kanekoa Texeira, rhp||Yankees||Texeira has had a wipeout slider for several years, and hasn’t had the fastball command for it to be a true weapon at higher levels. Was traded with Nick Swisher to the Yankees last offseason.|
|No. 19||Giants||Steven Johnson, rhp||Orioles||No plus pitch, but the son of a big leaguer has four solid-average pitches at his best with a good knack for using them.|
|No. 20||Cardinals||Ben Jukich, lhp||Reds||Tallish lefty is 27, creates angle with below-average velocity on fastball and has solid curve.|
|No. 22||Phillies||David Herndon, rhp||Angels||Good control in Double-A for sinker-slider righthander, who also throws a splitter.|
|No. 24||Red Sox||Pass||—||—|
The Twins, Tigers, Braves and Reds did not have Rule 5 picks because their 40-man rosters were already full.
*Nationals traded pick to Yankees for righthander Brian Bruney.
**Orioles traded pick to Rangers as part of the trade for righthander Kevin Millwood.
***Astros traded pick to Marlins as part of the trade for righthander Matt Lindstrom.
#After the draft, the Mets traded Monasterios to the Dodgers for cash considerations.
|1||Nationals||Arismendy Mota, rhp||White Sox|
|2||Pirates||Rodolfo Cardona, ss||Orioles|
|3||Orioles||Jose Duran, rhp||Astros|
|5||Indians||Brian Horwitz, of||Giants|
|7||Mets||John Lujan, rhp||White Sox|
|10||Athletics||Beau Vaughan, rhp||Rangers|
|11||BlueJays||Ruben de la Rosa, rhp||Nationals|
|16||Rays||Miguel Sierra, rhp||Cubs|
|17||Mariners||Terry Engles, rhp||Nationals|
|21||Rangers||James Tomlin, of||Dodgers|
|22||Marlins||Anillins Martinez, lhp||Indians|
|23||Giants||Jake Stevens, lhp||Orioles|
|24||Cardinals||Matt Meyer, lhp||Indians|
|26||Phillies||Angelo Sanchez, rhp||Twins|
|31||Nationals||Mike Wlodarczyk, lhp||Rays|
|35||Mets||Marshall Hubbard, 1b||Mariners|
|40||Rangers||Andrew Jenkins, c||Marlins|
|45||Nationals||Nick Moresi, of||Astros|
|46||Mets||Rolando Valdez, rhp||Padres|
|47||Rangers||Winston Marquez, lhp||Twins|
|49||Mets||Orlando Lara, lhp||SD|
|7||Mets||Johan Figuereo, rhp||Nationals|
|9||Padres||Hayden Beard, rhp||Mets|
|12||Reds||Doug Salinas, rhp||Rays|
|27||Dodgers||Raul Burgos, rhp||Giants|
The Triple-A phase has started and the picks are actually coming a bit too quick to keep up with all of them. But some quick Triple-A picks of interest:
• Beau Vaughn, who has good blogging tools, goes to the A’s.
• The Mets took Johnny Lujan, a Puerto Rican righty with a low slot.
• There were 21 players picked, but no Garrett Broshuis. Really? Really?
It’s a thin talent pool that’s been picked over for the Rule 5 draft so far, and everyone’s passing in the second round of the major league phase. No one drafted a player. Seventeen (17) players went in the major league phase.
Nothing exceptional in the first round, no Josh Hamiltons, no one with Joakim Sorai upside. If I’m wrong about that in a year or two, I’ll happily eat those words.
Minor league phase to follow. [...] Continue Reading »
Orioles farmhand Steven Johnson, a righthander and the son of ex-big leaguer Dave Johnson, goes to the Giants, while the Cardinals select lefty Ben Jukich. We had Jukich a bit higher on our board . . .
The Phillies take Kenny Herndon from the Angels system, another righthander off their Double-A Arkansas team, joining Bobby Cassevah in being picked off that club.
The first round is over. On to the second round.
Chuck Lofgren, one-time Futures Game starter, goes to Milwaukee, while the Cubs took righty Mike Parisi from the Cardinals. Frankly none of these picks are exciting me.
The Rays take Armando Zerpa from the Red Sox, a lefty reliever whose work we are not familiar.
Seattle takes righthander Kanekoa Texeira and his slider from the Yankees. So the Yanks have lost Texeira. This one they can spare.
The Athletics took sinkerballing righthander Bobby Cassevah from the Angels. Toronto followed with righty Zech Zinicola, off the Nationals farm. He’s the former Arizona State closer. Man, it’s a busy first round.
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