Image credit: (Photo by Danny Parker/Four Seam Images)
MLB teams face a 6 p.m. ET deadline to submit 40-man rosters. Any eligible player left unprotected becomes available for the MLB Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 6, which is held at the winter meetings.
For any pro who signed their initial contract as an 18-year-old or younger, that player becomes eligible for the Rule 5 draft after their fifth professional season. Any player who initially signed at 19 or older is eligible after their fourth professional season.
So any 18-year-olds who signed during or before the 2019 season and any 19-year-olds who signed during or before the 2020 season are eligible if left off of a 40-man roster.
We’ll track each organization’s deadline protection decisions below and offer team-by-team analysis on the players joining 40-man MLB rosters. The 40-man roster numbers are as of midnight ET on Nov. 14 and should be considered unofficial.
Arizona Diamondbacks (40)
Added: LHP Blake Walston
Analysis: A 2018 first-round pick, Walston is a lanky lefthander still getting stronger and growing into his body. He flashes a 92-95 mph fastball and plus curveball, but he struggles to maintain his stuff and needs to get stronger to hold it. He spent last year as one of the youngest starters in Triple-A and has a chance to make his big league debut in 2024.
Atlanta Braves (40)
Added: Penn Murfee, RHP
Analysis: Murfee, who was initially claimed off waivers by the Mets in late October, moves onto his third team in less than a month after previously spending his career with the Mariners. The Braves designated RHP Yonny Chirinos in a corresponding move. Murfee underwent Tommy John surgery this summer and will miss at least some of the 2024 season. He was an intriguing relief option at one time in Seattle’s system, ranking as their No. 30 prospect in 2022, and attacks hitters with funk and deception. He throws his upper-70s sweeper more than his four-seamer, which averaged just 87.8 mph prior to season-ending injury.
Baltimore Orioles (38)
Boston Red Sox (37)
Analysis: Perales’ addition comes as no surprise. The righthander possesses one of the best fastballs in the Red Sox system. He sits 94-96 mph and touches 97 mph at peak with some of the best induced vertical break numbers in the minor leagues. The pitch has heavy ride and late cut with a difficult plane for batters to barrel. He mixes a mid-80s cut slider and a changeup.
Gonzalez reached Double-A this season and impressed over 25 starts. He went 9-4 with a 3.96 ERA and 168 strikeouts to 70 walks over 111.1 innings. His command is still below-average, but his combination of a fastball velocity and outlier release height and plane allows his fastball to miss bats at an elite rate. He pairs his fastball with a hammer curveball in the mid-to-high-70s that features double-digit vertical drop and horizontal break metrics. His changeup is a upper-80s weapon with heavy tumble and fade. Gonzalez generated in-zone whiff rates north of 40% against both of his secondaries in 2023.
Chicago Cubs (37)
Analysis: It was a breakout season for Luis Vazquez as he set new career highs in home runs, hits and runs, while hitting .271/.361/.456. Vazquez is an instinctual defensive shortstop who profiles long term in the infield. His added power this season showed in his slashline as well as the underlying data. Vazquez was featured earlier this month as one of the biggest 90th percentile exit velocity gainers in the minor leagues this season.
The Cubs also added three pitchers who have power stuff and questionable control. Horn’s fastball, slider and curveball all flash plus in relief from the left side, but he struggles to repeat his funky delivery and is inconsistent. He spent most of last season in Triple-A and has a chance to make his debut in 2024.
Arias is a converted shortstop who was arguably the biggest riser among Cubs pitching prospects last year. He has a heavy 96-98 mph sinker from a low slot and a slider and changeup that each flash above-average. He has yet to pitch above the Class A levels and has well below-average control, but the quality of his stuff made him a hot Rule 5 candidate for opposing teams had the Cubs not protected him.
Hodge is a big, 6-foot-4 righthander with a two-pitch mix that projects to play in relief. His fastball and slider are both plus pitches, but his lack of a third offering and below-average control led to a 5.13 ERA in 22 starts at Double-A Tennessee last season. He projects to be a reliever in the majors and could make his debut as soon as next season.
See why RoboScout tabbed Hodge as an underrated pitcher in the upper minors entering 2024.
Chicago White Sox (35)
Analysis: No surprises here. The White Sox add two of their top pitching prospects in the upper minors to their 40-man roster. Mena had a Jekyll and Hyde type of season, enjoying solid months in April, June and August but difficult months in May, July and September. He saw an early bump to his life on his fastball due to the benefits of the pre-tacked Southern League ball. Mena mixes a four-seam fastball at 92-93 mph with a mid-80s slider that is his best pitch, generating an in-zone whiff rate of 27.5%. He mixes in a changeup and curveball as well to solid results.
Eder had a breakout 2021 with Marlins Double-A affiliate Pensacola before an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. The lefty missed all of 2022, but returned in 2023. Eder struggled over nine starts between Low-A Jupiter and Double-A Pensacola before he was traded to the White Sox. He allowed 22 earned runs over 17.1 innings in five starts with Double-A Birmingham. Eder mixes a low-90s fastball with a sweepy slider in the 78-80 mph range, a mid-80s changeup and a curveball. He projects as a back of the rotation starter.
Cincinnati Reds (37)
Analysis: Hinds has long had some of the best raw power in the Reds’ system, but more importantly, he started to reach that power more consistently in games in 2023. He’s also taken well to moving to the outfield. Hurtubise was an astute undrafted free agent signing in 2020. He’s a spark-plug type to has plus-plus speed, an ability to get on-base and an all-out, high-energy approach to the game. Roa has struggled to put it all together so far as a pro. The Reds’ 2020 second-round pick is trying to catch up on missed time due to the pandemic, a flexor strain and a sports hernia. He was healthy in 2023 and set a career high with 120 innings.
Cleveland Guardians (40)
Added: RHP Cade Smith, RHP Daniel Espino, OF Johnathan Rodriguez
Analysis: Rodriguez was drafted out of the Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico back in 2017, but was left unprotected in each of the last two Rule 5 drafts. In 2023, the slugger made sure that wouldn’t happen again, hitting .286/.368/.529 over 135 games across Double-A and Triple-A. Rodriguez is the type of impactful slugging profile the Guardians lack in their organization and his 29 total home runs ranked 16th among all minor leaguers in 2023.
The Guardians added two pitchers in righthanders Daniel Espino and Cade Smith. Espino is a well known prospect who in the not too distant past was viewed as arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball. He’s dealt with a right shoulder injury dating back to last season when he aggravated it when rehabbing from patellar tendinitis. He underwent anterior capsule surgery on May 2nd of this year and is expected to miss most of 2024. It will likely be more than two full years between professional appearances when he returns to the mound.
Smith on the other hand has the opportunity to contribute for the Guardians early in 2024. He spent the majority of the season pitching out of Triple-A Columbus’ bullpen. He made 47 total appearances between Double-A and Triple-A converting 15-of-17 save opportunities. He’s a relief only prospect who’s bread and butter is his combination of a mid-90s four-seam fastball and a ride-sweeper in the low-80s. His fastball generates a high rate of swings and misses in and out of the zone.
Colorado Rockies (36)
Analysis: Amador is universally viewed as the top prospect in the Rockies system. He’s one of the most advanced contact hitters in the minor leagues with a patient approach and great feel for the game. He shows average power that should grow with time. Amador is a switch-hitting middle infielder with a high floor and some projection to come.
Fernandez hit for loud power numbers over both levels of Class A before his overly aggressive approach caught up to him in Double-A. He’s one of the best young power hitters in the minor leagues and ranks among the Rockies top prospects despite needing to further hone is approach.
Chivilli and Mejia are a pair of relief-only righthanders. Mejia earns a spot on the 40 man roster after a successful stint in the Arizona Fall League. He possesses big stuff, sitting 95-97 mph with heavy cut on his four-seam fastball. He also mixes in a sweeper slider in the 83-85 mph range. Mejia is a two-pitch relief prospect that saw some time with Double-A Hartford in 2023. He could factor into the Rockies bullpen at some point in 2024.
Chivilli might have the bigger stuff of the two, sitting 95-97 and touching 98-99 mph at peak with two variations of his fastball shape, showing a two-seam fastball and a four-seam. He pairs his fastballs with a mid-80s changeup and cut-slider at 87-88 mph. He shows remarkable feel for the zone despite his loud stuff and could also pitch his way to the Rockies bullpen in 2024.
Detroit Tigers (40)
Analysis: Montero was an easy addition decision, even if his surface-level statistics (15-4, 4.66 between Double-A and Triple-A) may not indicate it. A starter who reached Triple-A this year, Montero has a mid-80s plus slider to pair with a mid-90s fastball. That combination should at least make him a useful reliever, although the Tigers can be patient and see if he develops as a starter. Dingler has long been lauded for his glove and arm, but has struggled to stay healthy and to hit. He reached Triple-A late in 2023 and is a viable backup option for now with a chance to develop into being a more well-rounded backstop if his bat develops further. Flores is the younger brother of Giants shortstop Wilmer Flores. He had a breakout season in 2022, but didn’t fully match that in 2023. He profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter with above-average control.
Houston Astros (37)
Added: OF Kenedy Corona
Analysis: The Astros added Kenedy Corona one day after he was named a minor league gold glove winner. An outstanding defender, Corona hit .251/.331/.458 with 22 home runs and 32 stolen bases primarily with Double-A Corpus Christi this season. He’s one of the top position prospects in the Astros system, and could provide upper minors outfield depth next season.
Kansas City Royals (40)
Analysis: Klein has plenty of power with a high-90s fastball and a 12-to-6 curveball, but it hasn’t added up to the sum of its parts. As a reliever who split time between Double-A and Triple-A, Klein gave up more than a hit an inning (68 hits in 64.1 innings) to go with 39 walks and 93 strikeouts. Adding him to the 40-man gives the Royals further time to develop their 2020 fifth-round pick.
Gentry has a shot to develop into a regular in an outfield corner thanks to a low-maintenance swing that generates a solid batting averages and gets him on base. He’s a career .282/.394/.473 hitter in the minors.
Los Angeles Angels (38)
Added: RHP Jack Kochanowicz
Analysis: The 6-foot-7 Kochanowicz flashed loud stuff but lacked deception and got crushed at the Class A levels. He dropped his arm slot down and began throwing a sinker in 2023 to re-emerge as a viable prospect. He’s now a ground-ball pitcher with a hard sinker and slider that will play in relief. He struggled at Double-A Rocket City as a starter last year (6.53 ERA in 16 starts) but has a chance to pitch for the Angels out of the bullpen next season.
Los Angeles Dodgers (35)
Analysis: Frasso and Knack both climbed to Triple-A last season and project to help the Dodgers in 2024. The lanky Frasso has an explosive fastball that is the best in the system, while Knack expertly commands a four-pitch mix. Both project to be starting pitchers and will be valuable rotation depth for the Dodgers next season, but they can also pitch out of the bullpen if needed.
Miami Marlins (35)
Analysis: Mesa Jr. enjoyed a productive first season at the Double-A level, slashing .242/.308/.412 with 24 doubles, 18 home runs, and 76 RBI. He also swiped 16 bases and has an intriguing set of tools with above average power and a plus arm. Cutting his strikeouts down will go a long way in maximizing his offensive upside.
The 25-year-old Maldonado is perhaps the most effective reliever in the Marlins’ system. Pitching at Triple-A Jacksonville, Maldonado posted a 1.74 ERA with 71 strikeouts across 46 innings. He held opposing hitters to a minuscule .148 opponents batting average and features an effective cutter-slider combination, with each offering having generated a miss rate north of 50%. While Maldonado lacks premium velocity, nothing he throws is straight and he locates well.
Milwaukee Brewers (34)
Analysis: Quero was an easy decision. He’s one of the Brewers’ best prospects as a young catcher who could be a future regular. Blalock was acquired from the Red Sox at the trade deadline in 2023 for Luis Urias. He’s yet to reach Double-A, but he’s a four-pitch starter with a promising and lively 93-95 mph fastball and mid-80s slider.
The Brewers sent prospects Hendry Mendez and Robert Moore to the Phillies in order to acquire second baseman Oliver Dunn. A 2019 11th round pick by the Yankees, Dunn was selected in the minor league portion of the 2022 Rule 5 draft and experienced a renaissance in the Phillies system. He hit .271/.396/.506 over 119 games with Double-A Reading. An older breakout prospect, Dunn provides the Brewers a solid upper minors depth option with upside at the plate.
Minnesota Twins (36)
Analysis: Camargo put himself on the Twins’ radar by hitting 21 home runs at Triple-A St. Paul. He’s a solid defender who is at least a solid Triple-A backup option for 2023. Severino led the minors with 35 home runs in 2023 while reaching Triple-A. He’s challenged defensively at second and third base, but his power and Triple-A experience would have made him a logical Rule 5 pick if the Twins left him unprotected. Severino was Baseball America’s Twins 2023 Minor League Player of the Year as well.
The Twins acquired Martin in the Jose Berrios trade with the Blue Jays a couple of years ago. He has battled injuries and struggled to find a defensive home, but he gets on-base consistently and has plenty of athleticism. Martin has focused on playing second base and the outfield, and could be a viable left field/center field backup before long.
Rodriguez is one of the Twins’ top prospects thanks to plus power and an extremely picky batting eye. That selectivity can doom him at times, as Rodriguez sometimes flips from picky to passive, but he is young enough to have plenty of time to refine his approach.
New York Yankees (38)
Analysis: Narvaez is a glove-first catcher who adds to the Yankees’ catching depth. He’s been left unprotected in the previous four seasons, but the soon-to-be 25-year-old gives New York a Triple-A experienced catcher who also can draw a walk.
Ramirez is a bat-first catcher who moved slowly through the system for the majority of his career before blitzing the competition in 2023, when he zoomed from Low-A to Double-A while combining both compact and impact. His production dipped at Double-A, but his bat has enough upside that it might be worth the wait.
Beeter came over from the Dodgers in the deal that sent Joey Gallo to Los Angeles. The righthander mixes a four-seamer, curveball, slider and changeup into an arsenal that allowed him to rack up 165 strikeouts in 132.2 innings between High-A and Double-A. He needs to refine his control and command and learn to pitch with a bit more finesse than he showed in 2023.
New York Mets (33)
Added: OF Alex Ramirez
Analysis: Ramirez didn’t rank inside the Mets Top 10 Prospects released last week after hitting .221/.310/.317 over 120 games with High-A Brooklyn. At points during his professional career Ramirez has shown flashes of bat-to-ball skills, power and athleticism. His walk rate jumped this season without a spike in strikeout rate. Brooklyn’s difficult run environment may have also impacted his performance.
Oakland Athletics (36)
Analysis: Armenteros was Oakland’s top international signing in 2016, inking a $3 million bonus, but his path through the A’s system has been a bit of an odyssey since. He was left unprotected in 2021 – there was no Rule 5 Draft because of the lockout – and again in 2022. But Armenteros finally reached the upper levels in 2023 and performed better, hitting .249/.380/.464 with 14 homers in 96 games with Double-A Midland. Armenteros cut his strikeout rate to 32.8%, which is both a concerning figure and ample improvement – he struck out north of 40% of the time in each of his previous two seasons at High-A. The A’s attributed better discipline and an improved approach to his step forward in 2023, and now they add him to the 40-man roster in the hopes he’ll continue to refine his hit tool to allow his plus raw power and speed on the basepaths to play more consistently.
Basso, 26, has thrown just 19 innings in the upper levels of the minors after missing all of 2022 recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has pitched with more control as a professional following an erratic career at Oklahoma State. The lefthander attacks hitters with a 92-94 mph fastball. His favorite secondary offering is an arcing 12-6 curveball that has quite a discrepancy in velocity from the heater, averaging 76 mph in 2023. He also mixes in a cutter and a changeup.
Oakland acquired the 22-year-old Salinas last winter from the Braves in the Sean Murphy trade. He has shown an electric arsenal but inconsistent command and also missed two months in 2023 with a forearm strain. Still, the big-bodied righty averaged nearly 95 mph with his heater and his upper-80s slider is arguably the best in Oakland’s system.
Hernaiz, 22, is the best prospect the A’s added to their 40-man roster on Tuesday. He hit .321 across 131 games between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2023. He’s an aggressive hitter with excellent contact ability and some encouraging underlying exit velocities, although his swing is not necessarily geared for launch. Hernaiz could get a crack at Oakland’s starting shortstop gig at some point in 2024, but there’s a chance he moves off the position down the road as he fills out and better defenders arrive in the majors.
Philadelphia Phillies (38)
Pittsburgh Pirates (37)
Analysis: Cheng is one of the best position-player prospects in the system, combining contact and speed with outstanding defense at shortstop. There’s plenty of polish left to apply, but he showed well at both High-A Greensboro and Double-A Altoona in 2023.
Ashcraft returned from Tommy John surgery in 2023 and was excellent in a year spent mostly at High-A Greensboro and Double-A. He blends a four-seam fastball with a slider, cutter and curveball and has a changeup in his back pocket as well. His biggest hurdle going forth will be managing his workload as he tries to make up for lost time.
San Diego Padres (34)
Added: RHP Jairo Iriarte
Analysis: Iriarte is the kind of power arm that teams covet if left unprotected. The Padres have been patient as Iriarte worked to repeat his delivery more consistently, and it paid off this year. He went from struggling in Low-A in 2022 to dominating High-A and earning a late-season promotion to Double-A San Antonio. Iriarte has a mid-90s fastball, but it’s his plus 84-86 mph slider that scouts love and he’s shown the makings of a useful firm changeup. Iriarte may end up as a bullpen arm eventually, but he’s a starter for now.
San Francisco Giants (36)
Analysis: McDonald was the Giants’ 11th-round pick in 2019 and had moved slowly through the system since turning pro. He has yet to advance past High-A, but in 2023 showed big strength gains and the corresponding results as well. He mixes two breaking balls with a mid-90s fastball.
Teng has long racked up huge strikeout numbers but usually issues way too many walks as well. The same was true this year, when he fanned 164 but walked 68 over 126.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. He has a widely varied arsenal but only threw one pitch—his two-seamer—in the zone at a better than 50% clip.
Miller came over from the Phillies in the deal that brought Yunior Marte to Philly. He’s a lefty reliever with a combination of four-seamer, slider and changeup that helped him whiff 88 in 62.1 innings. He needs to greatly improve his control, as shown by 41 walks in 52 Triple-A frames.
Seattle Mariners (40)
Added: OF Zach DeLoach
Analysis: A 2020 second round pick out of Texas A&M, DeLoach hit .286/.387/.481 with Triple-A Tacoma in 2023. He reached career highs in home runs (23) and RBIs (88) this season and shows average power and approach with fringy contact skills. He sports an above-average barrel rate due to his ability to make his best contact at good angles.
St. Louis Cardinals (40)
Analysis: The Cardinals acquired both Kloffenstein and Robberse as part of their barrage of trades at the deadline. Both arrived via the Jordan Hicks deal with the Blue Jays. Kloffenstein is a big-bodied sinkerballer who’s adept at driving high rates of groundballs. He throws a kitchen sink of secondaries with a mid-80s slider, a cutter at 89-91 mph and a curveball. He’ll show a four-seam fastball from time to time, but it’s rarely used.
Robberse is a native of Holland and is one of the very few true European-trained prospects in affiliated baseball. He’s a starting pitching prospect with an excellent slider that sits 85-86 mph with a high amount of horizontal break for a slider thrown that hard. His fastball sits 92-93 mph, and he mixes in a firm changeup in the high-80s, a curveball with more drop than his slider and a cutter. He’s a good mover on the mound with projectable traits.
Pedro Pagés has been one of the better defensive catchers in the Cardinals system the last few seasons and has made steady progress as a hitter. He hit .267/.362/.443 with a career-best 16 home runs for Double-A Springfield. He provides another catching option for the Cardinals, who now have four catchers on the 40 man roster.
Tampa Bay Rays (40)
Analysis: Rodriguez pitched in the Cubs’ MLB bullpen in 2021 and 2022, but was dropped from the their 40-man roster before the 2023 season. He spent all of the past season in Triple-A. The Rys acquired Rodriguez in a trade that sent RHP Josh Roberson to the Cubs at the 2023 trade deadline. He’s a reliever with both a two-seam and four-seam fastball in the mid-90s to pair with a slider he trusts to throw in pretty much any count.
Shenton was left unprotected last year. The Rays accurately gambled that no one would pick him after an injury-shortened season in Double-A. Shenton picked up where he left off in 2021 in 2023, hitting .304/.423/.584 while reaching Triple-A for the first time. He was a safe bet to be picked if left unprotected.
Curet is much further from Tampa Bay. He spent most of the year at Low-A Charleston before getting a six-start cameo at High-A Bowling Green to finish the season. Pitchers who are that far away usually don’t get picked, but few pitchers ever have a year where they hold hitters to a .149 batting average. Curet pairs a 96-98 mph fastball with a hard 85-87 mph slider.
Texas Rangers (34)
Analysis: Church was a slam-dunk add as one of the better relief prospects in the system. He gets his outs with a two-pitch mix of a fastball and slider that could each be plus pitches, but his stint at Triple-A Round Rock shows he needs to refine his control to get the most out of his stuff.
Corniell came over from Seattle in the 2020 deal that made Rafael Montero a Mariner. He had a breakout season in 2023, which he split between both Class A levels. He has a varied mix but gets most of his outs with a four-seam fastball and one of the better sliders in the system. The combo helped him strike out 119 while walking just 31.
Foscue is one of the purest hitters in the system, with a combination of an excellent eye, a knack for both contact and impact and enough power to make him a classic bat-first infielder. Now, he just needs a place to play on the diamond.
Kelly has had nasty stuff since his days with the Brewers, and his current mix includes a filthy sweeping slider and an upper-90s fastball that could be lethal out of the bullpen. He upped his strike percentage by 5% from 2022.
Toronto Blue Jays (39)
Analysis: White is an MLB veteran who has pitched in the majors in four different seasons. The Blue Jays outrighted him off their 40-man roster in August, but are adding him back now.
Toronto adds Macko to its 40-man roster nearly a year to the day after acquiring him from the Mariners in a trade for Teoscar Hernandez. Macko made 20 starts for High-A Vancouver this season striking out 106 batters to 40 walks over 86 innings. He mixes a four-seam fastball at 93-94 mph with ride and run alongside three secondaries: a slider at 82-83 mph, an upper-70s curveball and a changeup.
Washington Nationals (39)
Analysis: Henry was on the fast track to the major leagues before thoracic outlet syndrome surgery ended his 2022 season. He returned in May and his stuff showed no ill effects, as he sat 93-95 mph on his two-seam fastball and mixed in a low-80s slider and a changeup. He missed time during the summer due to fatigue as he recovered from T.O.S.
The Cubs acquired Herz in the Jeimer Candelario trade at the deadline. He is a lefthander with three primary pitches and a lack of power across his arsenal. The above-average combination of ride and run on his fastball helps mitigate the lack of velocity. His bread and butter is a low-80s changeup with heavy armside run. Herz’ fastball and changeup combination grades highly on run value-based models and he has a chance to see significant time with the Nationals in 2024.
Zach Brzykcy possesses one of the best four-seam fastballs in the minor leagues but missed all of 2023 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring. He could return at some point in 2024 and could find himself in the Nationals bullpen by fall if his stuff returns as well.
Mitchell Parker was a 2020 fifth-round pick out of Juco powerhouse San Jacinto (TX) JC. He’s been a reliable innings eater for the Nationals, pitching 100 or more innings in each of his three minor league seasons. He mixes a ride-cut four-seam fastball with a tight gyro slider in the low-80s and a curveball with a 12-6 shape. His unusual fastball shape from the left hand side has led to consistently high strikeout numbers.