The Rule 5 Draft: Day of Reckoning
Twenty-one players were chosen this past off-season as part of the annual Rule 5 draft. Of those selected, 16 were pitchers which obviously speaks to need for pitching depth at the Major League level. Unlike past years when "big" name players were chosen, like Dan Uggla and Josh Hamilton, no name stood out in the 2008 draft. That shows in the fact that only a few players are going to stick with the teams that chose to draft them this past December.
1. Terrell Young RHP | Washington from Cincinnati
No official decision has been announced with Young, but he's struggled with his command this spring with nine walks in as many innings. He has also allowed nine hits and six earned runs. The 23-year-old hurler is a former 10th-round selection out of high school by the Reds organization. He could stick with Washington because, well, look at the other options...
2. Reegie Corona INF | Seattle from New York (AL)
It's hard to know what Seattle is thinking sometimes. But with Ronny Cedeno and Chris Burke around, there probably isn't room for Corona. The young infielder started the spring off slowly, but has picked things up and is now hitting a respectable .281/.311/.386 in 57 at-bats.
3. Everth Cabrera SS | San Diego from Colorado
What a difference an organization makes. Cabrera, with a line of .262/.297/.344 with seven stolen bases in 61 at-bats will make the Padres' 25-man roster as the back-up infielder. The saddest thing is that starting shortstop Luis Rodriguez really isn't much better.
4. Donald Veal LHP | Pittsburgh from Chicago (NL)
Perhaps the biggest name in the draft, Veal is still under consideration to make the Pirates, although no decision has been made officially. The big left-hander has crazy numbers this spring after allowing just four hits in 13 innings... but he's also walked 13 batters. Sadly, those kind of numbers put him about fourth on the bullpen depth chart. It's going to be another long season in Pittsburgh.
5. Lou Palmisano C | Baltimore (to Houston) from Milwaukee
Palmisano was a bit of a strange pick given that he missed most of the 2008 season with injuries, and he did not have a very good spring. His fate was sealed when the Astros nabbed free agent Ivan Rodriguez at the last minute. Offered back to Milwaukee, his originally organization declined and he will remain in the Houston organization - but in the minors.
6. Luis Perdomo RHP | San Francisco from St. Louis
Perdomo threw up a stinker of a performance recently, but he still appears to have won a spot in the Giants' bullpen after impressing the manager with his 94 mph fastball and slider combination. His ERA recently jumped from the 4s to the 6s.
7. David Patton RHP | Cincinnati (to Chicago NL) from Colorado
The Cubs club is going to field a veteran-heavy team this year but Patton has an opportunity to head north with the club after a solid spring. He has allowed 10 hits and two walks in 12.1 innings. He has also struck out 15 batters without allowing a homer.
8. Kyle Bloom LHP | Detroit from Pittsburgh
Detroit barely has any prospects... or pitching for that matter... but Bloom still wasn't good enough to make the club. He had an 8.44 ERA in five games.
9. Jose Lugo LHP | Kansas City (to Seattle) from Minnesota
Lugo gave it a shot by posting a 2.45 ERA in 11 games, but the ERA was misleading. He allowed just three hits in 7.1 innings but struck out just one batter and did not overpower anyone. The Mariners don't have many quality left-handed bullpen options, so his return to the Twins speaks volumes.
10. Benjamin Copeland CF | Oakland from San Francisco
Copeland was drafted by the wrong organization. Oakland has a ton of outfield depth, although the outfielder has yet to be sent back to San Francisco. He injured his shoulder earlier this month so the A's could always stash him on the DL for awhile and see how things play out. He's hit just .182 in 22 spring at-bats.
11. James Skelton C | Arizona from Detroit
As mentioned earlier, the Tigers organization is hurting for prospects so it was surprising when the club left this young catcher unprotected for the draft. Arizona is not in desperate need for catching with Chris Snyder and Miguel Montero, but Skelton is athletic enough to play other positions on the field, which could help him make the club in April. He's hit just .150 in 40 at-bats after spending 2008 in High-A and Double-A.
Update: Skelton did not make the team, but the Diamondbacks worked out a deal today to keep the catcher's rights. Arizona sent pitcher Brooks Brown, a 2006 supplemental first round draft pick, to the Tigers.
12. Zachary Kroenke LHP | Florida from New York (AL)
Another pick out of the Yankees organization, Kroenke was sent back to his original club last week after barely registering a blip in camp with the Marlins. He's a former fifth-round pick out of the University of Nebraska.
13. Gilbert De La Vara LHP | Houston from Kansas City
De La Vara was recently returned to the Royals after allowing 14 hits and three walks in 9.2 innings for the Astros. The 24 year old has appeared in just 21 games above A-ball.
14. Jason Jones RHP | Minnesota from New York (AL)
The third pick out of the Yankees system, Jones failed to make the Twins but his rights were retained after the club sent pitching prospect Charles Nolte to New York. Jones had a 2.70 ERA but allowed 11 hits and three walks in 10 innings, so he was hardly dominant. If the Twins have one thing, it's pitching depth... so Jones may have been better off heading back to the Yankees.
15. Darren O'Day RHP | New York (NL) from Los Angeles (AL)
O'Day appears to have made the Mets. The right-hander has struck out just five batters in 13 innings, to go along with 12 hits allowed and three walks. He's lucky that the Mets' pen is not overly deep.
16. Eduardo Morlan RHP | Milwaukee from Tampa Bay
Morlan has always shown good stuff, but he has also always stumbled when trying to take that next step. He failed to close the deal as a member of the Brewers organization and was sent back to the Rays. Morlan was originally signed by the Twins and sent to Tampa Bay in the Delmon Young/Matt Garza deal.
17. Robert Mosebach RHP | Philadelphia from Los Angeles (AL)
Mosebach failed to make the reigning World Champions after allowing 15 hits and two walks in 7.2 innings of work.
18. Miguel Gonzalez RHP | Boston from Los Angeles (AL)
Gonzalez has battled elbow problems this spring so the Red Sox could stash him on the DL, if the organization wants to waste a roster spot on the 24-year-old reliever.
19. Derek Rodriguez RHP | Tampa Bay from Chicago (AL)
A 7.71 ERA with 12 hits and three walks allowed in 7.0 innings is not going to endear you to a new organization. Not surprisingly, Rodriguez was sent back to his old club.
20. Ivan Nova RHP | San Diego from New York (AL)
Nova never wowed anyone with his stuff, but he always managed to get results... until spring training 2009, that is. The right-hander posted an 8.31 ERA and allowed 13 hits and four walks in 8.2 innings of work. He struck out three batters and allowed as many home runs. He was sent back to New York.
21. Rocky Cherry RHP | New York (NL) from Baltimore
O'Day was able to make the Mets, but Cherry was not as lucky and he actually got released because he would have become a free agent anyway. He signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox. Cherry was the most experienced pitcher in the draft at the age of 29 and with 40 MLB games under his belt.
So there you have it. A lackluster Rule 5 draft ends up with about seven or eight players (33-38%) beginning the 2009 season with the club that acquired them in the Rule 5 draft.