In case you slept in yesterday morning, the Rule 5 draft happened. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. One of the results of the new collective bargaining agreement is that teams got an extra year between a player’s first signing date and their eligibility for the Rule 5 draft. This makes for a pretty watered-down draft.
Since the change, teams have hit on two star players, but they are more of an aberration. Joakim Soria was a rare scouting find out of the Mexican League and has since become the “Mexicutioner”. Josh Hamilton‘s career was a sad tale of tools, injuries and drugs before he received help. Randy Wells would be considered a noteworthy Rule 5 pick if the Blue Jays did not return him to the Cubs. The Jays drafted him before the ’08 season, but Toronto returned him. Wells went on to have a 3 WAR rookie season in ’09.
In last year’s Rule 5 draft, five out of the 21 players selected stuck all year on a big league roster – Everth Cabrera, Donnie Veal, Luis Perdomo, David Patton and Darren O’Day. Cabrera shows the most promise of the group, with gobs of speed (7.9 speed score) and a surprising amount of patience (10.9% walk rate) for a player that made the jump to the majors from A-ball. He will need to work on his defense or else be moved to over to second base, but overall appears to be a solid player.
Veal demonstrated no control whatsoever, but showed enough promise for the Pirates to stash him away all season, and he made progress in the Arizona Fall League. Patton was also atrocious. Luis Perdomo pitched almost strictly in mop-up duty for the Padres, with a league low pLI of .28. He struck out 8 batters per nine innings, but walked 5 per nine and had an alarmingly high HR rate (1.7/9) for a pitcher who calls Petco his home ballpark. Darren O’Day was selected from the Angels by the Mets, was later put on waivers before being claimed by the Rangers. O’Day became a key cog in the Ranger bullpen with a 3.03 FIP in 58.2 innings.
So out of this year’s crop, who has the best chance to stick? The three position players drafted are replacement level players at best, by my observation. That leaves us with 14 pitchers.
Bobby Cassevah has a mediocre 1.2 K/BB ratio in Double-A last year, but I think he will remain with the A’s because a.) they’re not going to contend this year and can afford to stash him away in the back of their bullpen and b.) he has a filthy 92-94 MPH sinker that generates a gobs of groundballs. 70% of his balls in play were of the worm-burner variety. I was somewhat surprised the Angels didn’t protect him on their 40-man roster.
Ben Snyder has some definite LOOGY potential. He struck out 30% of the lefties he faced last season for Double-A Connecticut and has a 32% strikeout rate against lefties over his career. He has a high-80’s fastball and an above average slider. He’s coming to Texas by way of San Francisco.
Kanekoa Texeira has a sinker/slider pitcher and has a decent opportunity with Seattle. He gets groundballs, (63% last year) and misses bats at a decent enough clip.
I’ll go with another lefty and pick Armando Zerpa last. He hasn’t pitched above A-ball, but he’s only 22 years old having signed out of the Venezuela in 2004. He throws from a low arm slot, gets grounders with a sinker/slider mix.
All in all a very bland crop. There could be some surprises, but it’s a long shot.
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