A generally fairly overlooked part of the annual MLB Winter Meetings is tomorrow's Rule 5 Draft, where teams have the opportunity to pluck away players that meet certain criteria from other organizations. Usually, and for a lot of teams, it's a bit of a non-factor. But for a team like this Reds team, the Rule 5 Draft is another way to grab promising young players that other teams don't have room for. With five open 40 man roster spots, I expect the Reds to be active in this years draft.
So, how does it work?
Firstly: Any player on the 40 man roster is protected from the Rule 5 Draft.
Secondly: If a player is NOT on the 40 man, then that player must have been:
- signed to their first pro contract at age 18 or younger and have been property of an organization for five years or;
- signed to their first pro contract at age 19 or older and have been property of an organization for four years.
The purpose of this is to keep organizations from "stockpiling" prospects in their minor leagues who may otherwise have shots at making the big leagues in other organizations. It's good for players in general, and it's good for teams like the Reds who can stash some interesting dudes on the end of the bench or bullpen in hopes they'll fill out a la Johan Santana or David Ortiz later on.
The truth is, it's long odds for most. But the Reds had recent success with Josh Hamilton and, as mentioned, can certainly risk throwing a dart or two. They also have the second pick in this draft, and they may use it on a toolsy outfielder or more likely, a guy who can both stick in the bullpen and NOT fire a gun in his garage out of frustration.
The most tantalizing pick is Jabari Blash, a 6'5 corner outfielder whose name is Jabari Blash. The righty put up a .271/.370/.576 over two levels last year for Seattle (including the hitter-friendly Tacoma). He's relatively late to baseball, coming from the cricket-mad Virgin Islands, but even if he doesn't quite have the range for centerfield he could be a whole lot of fun as a lefty-crusher off the bench.
The Yankees' Jake Cave could be a lefty sop for Billy Hamilton, which could also be worth taking a look at. Ty Goeddel got moved off of third base last year, but as a 22-year-old went.279/.350/.433 in AA. Neither are as exciting as Jabari Blash (or are named Jabari Blash), but both could give off a much-needed waft of competence.
The Reds might almost definitely be in the lookout for bullpen help as well. The most straightforward pick would be Onelki Garcia, a big left-handed Cuban who struck out 64 (but walked 29) in 56 innings between AA/AAA for the White Sox last year. Reymin Guduan is another high-velocity lefty who walks too many.
There's a lot of other dudes who are fringy for various reasons: pitchers who couldn't break a pane of glass, pitchers who are breaking your window right now with a pitch thrown from Paducah, and middle infielders who couldn't throw let alone hit a ball into the outfield grass. There's also a lot of great names on the Baseball America list:
- Yunior Marte (award-winning author of This is How You Lose a Prospect)
- Phillips Valdez (not a middle infielder :0( )
- Dakota Bacus (!!!)
- Balbino Fuenmayor
The nice thing about the Reds having so many holes is, Rule V manners more this year than it has in years past! The Reds could help all over the place. It'd be fun if they got it from one of these guys (especially Jabari Blash (whose name is Jabari Blash)).Somewhat overlooked (and usually not meaning much) the Reds have room and hold the second pick in the Rule 5 Draft. So, who should they take?