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Rule 5 Draft: The Guys I’ve Seen

This year was a rather light year for Rule 5 prospects in terms of players I’ve seen in person, but a handful of players taken were worth mentioning.

MLB Phase

Chris McGuiness, Cleveland Indians

A fine organizational piece, I saw McGuiness in 2010 as a member of the Greenville Red Sox. At the time, he presented as a solid, all-around hitter with no stand out tool and limited defensive upside. Soon after, he was dealt to the Rangers and spent two-plus years with that organization. At 24, his Double-A power numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, but the Indians really have no answer at first base. Might as well throw him in the mix with a number of former top prospects and see how things shake out. As with most Rule 5 draft picks, it’s a no lose proposition for the Indians. For McGuiness, this is what the Rule 5 draft is for. With Mitch Moreland already producing league average offense at first base and Mike Olt looking for an opening, he really had no shot at surfacing with the Rangers.

Ryan Pressly, Minnesota Twins

Pressly was a modest prospect at best when I saw him pitch for the Greenville Drive in 2010. At the time, he was up to 92 MPH with his fastball with an athletic build and easy arm action. Now in a bullpen role, it’s easy to understand the jump in velocity in short spurts given his physical attributes. As with McGuiness, his performance on the AFL stage really boosted his value. Against left-handed hitters in the AFL, Pressly posted a 11/0 K/BB ratio in 5 2/3 innings pitched. It’s a small sample size I know, but previous Rule 5 drafts have featured a number of LOOGY types who have stuck. I can’t help but wonder if the Rule 5 was short on left-handed relievers causing the Twins to take the next best thing.

Alfredo Silverio, Miami Marlins

Before missing the entire 2012 season due to a serious car accident, Silverio’s prospect stock was on the upswing as one of the only hitting prospects in the Dodgers organization. Having seen him quite a few times as a member of the Chattanooga Lookouts, Silverio is a toolsy outfielder whom I previously compared to a poor man’s Juan Encarnacion with the bat. Had Silverio been healthy in 2012, he likely would have made his Major League debut by now. And while he’s not really good enough to start for a championship contender, I’m pretty sure the Marlins currently have lesser players on their active roster. If healthy by spring training, it would not surprise me to see Silverio stick with the club. He won’t walk and may very well see an uptick in strikeouts, but he’ll run into a mistake pitch every now and then and has surprising contact skills for a prospect who presents with considerable rough edges.

Triple-A Phase

Jon Bachanov, Boston Red Sox

In 2011, Bachanov was a member of the Kannapolis pitching staff affording me the opportunity to scout him in person. The right-hander has considerable size, but his velocity fell a bit short as he topped out at 92 MPH. His mechanics were stiff and the sum of the parts left me wondering how he was originally drafted as a supplemental first round pick in the first place. However, he did have some potential as a fastball/slider bullpen arm and that may be what the Red Sox are betting on. Just recently, the Red Sox took a shot on Michael Olmsted, a pitcher formerly released by the Mets, who isn’t all dissimilar to Bachanov. Olmsted went on to post a 92/15 K/BB ratio in 59 1/3 innings pitched and was signed by the Brewers recently. Bachanov may very well be their next pet project.

Eliezer Mesa, Detroit Tigers

As a member of the Asheville Tourists in 2010, I had the opportunity to see Mesa play a number of times. A marginal prospect at that point, he was the type of player who will stick around in professional baseball forever, but is unlikely to every make any impact at the Major League level. He has some speed and contact ability, but is also a free swinging, no power player with a left field profile. From a statistical standpoint, it’s interesting to see his career Single-A line of .299/.346/.417 and how his numbers have completely collapsed at the High-A and Double-A levels. I remember a time when Rockies fans were asking me if he was the next Juan Pierre. Now, I wonder if he will ever make it out of the low minors.