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Teams May Ban Scouts Until After Rule 5 Draft

Until the owners’ lockout of the players is lifted, scouting of minor league camps is going to be a bit thinner than usual.

Multiple sources have told Baseball America that teams in Arizona and Florida can and in some cases are choosing to bar scouts from their backfields until the completion of the Rule 5 draft, which, BA has learned, is expected to take place a week after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place.

The rules surrounding scouting remain the same as in recent years: Teams may block opposing scouts from their camps, but by doing so they will not be allowed to send their scouts anywhere, either.

The strategy behind the move is clear: Teams simply do not want to allow other organizations to get eyes on their players before the conclusion of the Rule 5 draft.

Because the most recent big league Rule 5 draft (a minor league Rule 5 draft took place this winter as normal) produced big-time hits like Garrett Whitlock (Red Sox) and Akil Baddoo (Tigers), teams may understandably be wary of letting opposing evaluators get eyes on their players who might have markedly improved over the course of the offseason.

Mini-camps are already occurring at many minor league facilities, and camps will officially open early next month. Shortly thereafter, games with other teams will begin in advance of the minor league season, which will be unaffected by the lockout.

Until a resolution is reached and the Rule 5 draft has come and gone, however, scouting of these camps will be a bit more scattershot.

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