Ten Minor League Rule 5 Picks With Upside For Their New Teams

While the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft receives the lion’s share of the interest, coverage and excitement, good players can also be found in the draft’s minor league phase. After digging in on the 87 picks in this year’s minor league phase, here are 10 players who stuck out as potential high-value selections. 

Orioles – Alfred Vega, RHP (Yankees)

Vega pitched at the complex level this season and flashed good stuff with his flat-plane fastball, sweepy slider, two-plane curveball and mid-80s changeup. He has a variety of interesting pitch shapes and showed the ability to throw strikes this summer. This offseason, Vega has been clocked up to 96 mph with ride and run, pairing it primarily with his curveball. 

Tigers – Layne Henderson, RHP (Astros)

Henderson mixes three pitches, led by his low-90s fastball with above-average ride and a flat vertical approach angle. His changeup is his primary secondary and has splitter-type shape. He’ll blend in a sweepy slider as well.

Astros – Max Roberts, LHP (Mariners)

Roberts is a tall lefthander with a three-pitch mix and the ability to play the north-south game. His four-seam fastball features above-average ride in the low-90s, and he’ll pair that with a splitter and a curveball with good depth.  

Pirates – Wei-Chieh Huang, RHP (Giants)

Huang has a classic four-pitch mix, led by a low-90s four-seam fastball, a low-80s changeup, a low-80s slider and a low-70s curveball with plus depth. Each of his off speed pitches generates chase rates of 30% or better. 

D-backs – Taylor Rashi, RHP (Giants)

A righthanded reliever with bat-missing stuff, Rashi has a four-seam fastball that sits in the low 90s but averages over 19 inches of induced vertical break. He pairs his four-seamer with a low-70s curveball, a low-to-mid-80s cutter and a low-to-mid-80s changeup. 

Pirates – Josh Palacios, OF (Nationals)

A former Blue Jays fourth-rounder, Palacios has seen major league time with two different clubs in recent seasons. He’s a good high-minors depth option for a team looking for an experienced Triple-A bat. 

Marlins – Austin Roberts, RHP (Pirates)

Roberts mixes a high-ride four-seam fastball in the low-90s, a low-80s curveball with two-plane break and a mid-to-high-80s changeup. Roberts’ curveball is his best weapon and generated a whiff rate in the neighborhood of 50% in 2022.

Angels – Jared Oliva, OF (Pirates)

Oliva has 26 games of major league experience over two seasons. He spent all of 2022 at Triple-A land can provide upper-minors depth for the Angels in 2023. He is a high-value minor league Rule 5 pick many believed was a potential longtime major leaguer only a few seasons ago. 

 Mets – Agustin Ruiz, OF (Padres)

Ruiz’s calling card is his ability to get on base while hitting the ball in the air at a high rate. He’s never fully tapped into his raw power but hits the ball hard with consistency, as displayed by his 88.1 mph average exit velocity in 2022. 

D-backs – Peter Solomon, RHP (Pirates)

Over the last few months, Solomon has been a part of three organizations. A few years ago, he was viewed as a potential Top 10 prospect for the Astros but things never fully materialized. Despite seeing time in the major leagues in 2021, Solomon spent the entirety of the 2022 season at Triple-A level, where he struggled with command.

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