Analyzing Each 2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft Pick’s Chances To Stick

Image credit: Dany Jimenez (Photo by Mike Janes/Four Seam)

Update: After posting this, we received feedback from scouts who like Rucker more than the scouts with whom we talked at the Rule 5 draft. We’ve updated his report to reflect the differing opinions.

Here is analysis of the 11 players selected in the MLB phase of the 2019 Rule 5 draft.

To see full results from the draft, including the minor league portion, click here.

To see a full preview (with scouting reports) of available players, click here.

1. Tigers: Rony Garcia, RHP, Yankees

Garcia was a relative nondescript righthander in 2018, as his 90-94 mph fastball was pretty straight and he didn’t have an above-average pitch. In 2019 he became more interesting as his fastball gained a couple of ticks. He can now touch 96-97 mph and sits 93. He can gets swings and misses with both his above-average low-80s slider (it has curveball shape but lacks depth) gets some swings and misses. He also throws a hard changeup (88 mph) that is a chase pitch but is effective because he maintains arm speed and it has fade and sink. He also mixes in a cutter that he added this year. Garcia eats up righthanders but does struggle at times against lefties. He throws strikes and everything may play up if he moves to the pen.

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: Reliever who can go multiple innings, fill-in emergency starter.

Chances To Stick: 50-50

2. Orioles: Brandon Bailey, RHP, Astros

There’s nothing particularly sexy about Bailey’s stuff. He’s a short (5-foot-10) righthander with a 92-94 mph fastball and a plus changeup. His pair of breaking balls are both fringy at best. But he competes very well, he’s coming off of a very solid season with Double-A Corpus Christi and he has the craftiness and feel to potentially succeed as a swingman/back-end starter.

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: Swingman who can start or relieve. Low-leverage reliever.

Chances To Stick: 50-50.

3. Marlins: Sterling Sharp, RHP, Nationals

One of the more athletic pitchers in the minors, nothing about Sharp’s arsenal is spectacular, but he’s a sinkerballer who keeps the ball in the park (one home run last year) and his fastball and changeup are hard to lift. He used his fringe-average slider more often in 2019. He missed some time with an oblique injury in 2019, but he’s an upside play, albeit one with modest (89-92) velocity.

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: Versatile starter/reliever who can fill whatever role is needed.

Chances To Stick: 25 percent.

4. Royals: Stephen Woods, RHP, Rays

Woods has long been known as a pitcher with a big arm and bigger walk totals. He walked seven batters per nine innings for his college career and more than five batters per nine in his first three pro stops. After missing all of 2018 with a labrum injury, Woods did show better control in 2019. He got better and better as the season wore on and pitches with a plus fastball/curveball combination.

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: Low-leverage reliever who can take innings.

Chances To Stick: 25 percent.

5. Mariners: Yohan Ramirez, RHP, Astros

Ramirez is one of the seemingly multitude of Astros pitchers who sits 94-97 and touches 99 mph. Ramirez spent half the season at high Class A Fayetteville and the other half of the year with Double-A Corpus Christi. He ate up righthanded hitters (.113 with one extra-base hit in 97 at-bats in high Class A and .162 with seven extra-base hits in 99 at-bats at Double-A). Ramirez also throws a low-80s hard curveball that flashes above-average. His control at Double-A was frightening (7.9 BB/9) but his strikeout rate was also impressive (13.5 K/9 between the two levels).

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: Wild reliever who piles up strikeouts.

Chances To Stick: 25 percent.


6. Reds: Mark Payton, OF, Athletics.

Payton impressed at the Premier 12 international tournament last month. He also found the new Triple-A ball to be very good for his pro career. After hitting six home runs in Triple-A with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2018, he hit 30 with Las Vegas in 2019. That was 20 more than he had ever hit in a previous season. If Payton’s power surge is sustainable, the 28-year-old could stick as a low-cost platoon corner outfielder.

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: Platoon corner outfielder with power.

Chances To Stick: 25 percent.

7. Giants: Dany Jimenez, RHP, Blue Jays

Jimenez was outstanding in 2019. He struck out 14 batters per nine innings between high Class A and Double-A while allowing only a 1.12 WHIP. Jimenez has a high-90s fastball with arm-side run, a plus slider and a low-80s changeup that shows promise. Most power arms with his kind of stuff who are available in the Rule 5 draft either have zero upper level minor league experience or well-below-average control. Jimenez spent half of the year in Double-A and has average control (3.2 BB/9). He is one of the more well-rounded prospects available with fewer drawbacks than most available arms.

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: Lower-leverage setup man.

Chances To Stick: 50-50.

8. Athletics (acquired from Phillies): Vimael Machin, UTIL, Cubs

Machin doesn’t really do anything great. He’s limited at shortstop and as a fringe-average runner, he doesn’t have much value as a pinch runner. But he is a lefthanded hitting utility infielder who can play all four infield spots to varying degrees of ability and he hit .295/.390/.412 for Triple-A Iowa last year. Machin’s chances to contribute in Oakland revolve around showing enough defensive ability to show he can be a backup infielder.

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: Utilityman who can pinch hit

Chances To Stick: 25 percent

9. Cubs: Trevor Megill, RHP, Padres

Megill is more MLB ready than most available Rule 5 prospects. He has nearly 75 innings in Double-A and Triple-A, he throws strikes (2.7 BB) and he has three average or better pitches with a 93-96 mph fastball, slider and change.

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: Low-leverage reliever who can work multiple innings.

Chances To Stick: 25 percent

10. Red Sox: Jonathan Arauz, 3B/2B, Astros.

Arauz has been a name for quite a while. He was signed by the Phillies, then shipped to the Astros in the Ken Giles trade. The Red Sox will see if he can fit as a utilityman who can play all around the infield. Arauz has primarily been a shortstop, but the Astros have moved him to second and third throughout his career as well.

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: Backup at third, shortstop and second base.

Chances To Stick: Not likely

11. Orioles: Michael Rucker, RHP, Cubs

Rucker’s stuff drew varying opinions in 2019. Some scouts saw a pitcher with very vanilla stuff, but scouts who saw him in other outings saw arm speed and a quality fastball. He’s a 6-foot-1 righthander who spent most of the year in Double-A. Rucker’s 92-96 mph fastball earns some above-average grades. He has a pair of breaking balls and changeup are all fringe-average to average, so he has to succeed with location and staying a step ahead of hitters.

Likely MLB Role In 2020 If He Sticks: The 12th/13th man in a bullpen.

Chances To Stick: Unlikely

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