Reviewing the 2010 Rule 5 Draft
The Rule 5 draft has lost some luster since the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement was re-worked to allow teams an extra year of control before having to add minor league players to the 40-man roster or expose them to the draft. The 2009 Rule 5 draft was an absolute yawn. This year, though, teams were able to unearth a few gems.
The Best Picks:
1. Aneury Rodriguez, RHP (Houston from Tampa Bay)
As weird as it might sound, Rodriguez is probably talented enough to land on Houston's Top 10 prospect list for 2011. I recently completed Houston's list at FanGraphs.com and he'd probably slide in after Vincent Velasquez, who's out after Tommy John surgery. Rodriguez has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter and those types of prospects (sadly) are far and few between in the Astros system. The right-hander recently turned 23 and spent the majority of 2010 in triple-A where he posted a 4.04 FIP in 113.2 innings. He started 17 games and came out of the bullpen for another 10. Rodriguez' fastball ranges from 88-94 mph and both his secondary pitches - breaking ball and changeup - are average offerings right now. He should serve as a long man out of the Astros 'pen in 2011 but with some experience and good coaching he could reach his ceiling as a No. 3 starter.
2. Brad Emaus, 2B/3B (New York NL from Toronto)
Emaus was the one position player that I just didn't understand why he was left unprotected. As a Canadian, I cover Jays prospects a lot so I've been familiar with the infielder since he was drafted in 2007. Two years ago, I even wrote an article for the Toronto Sun newspaper that spoke highly of him. Now, Emaus does have some limitations - mostly on the defensive spectrum - but he projects to be a solid MLB utility player in the Scott Spiezio or Eric Hinske mold and can play both second base and third base, and could probably pick up first base pretty quickly too. I'm glad he's headed over to the National League where he has a chance to be more valuable. The organization will also have some pretty good scouting reports on him, as Special Assistant to the GM J.P. Ricciardi was Toronto's General Manager when Emaus was drafted out of Tulane University. The infielder spent the majority of 2010 in triple-A where he hit .298/.395/.495 in 309 at-bats. He's a stocky player with line-drive power and a good eye at the plate. Emaus has a nice quiet, open stance at the plate. He's not gifted with great bat speed and the swing occasionally gets loopy.
3. Joe Paterson, LHP (Arizona from San Francisco)
I love this pick for the Diamondbacks, more so than any other reliever they've picked up recently through free agency or trade. I've mentioned Paterson in a few articles both at FanGraphs.com and here at BaseballAnalysts.com suggesting that he'd be a perfect LOOGY in the Majors. His ceiling isn't huge, obviously, as a future Ron Mahay or Brian Shouse, but most teams are in need of a good left-handed reliever. Paterson, who throws with a sidearm angle, had a solid college career at Oregon State University and his minor league numbers have also been impressive. He had a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League after posting good numbers in 46 triple-A games in 2010. Paterson, 24, also has solid ground-ball numbers. Left-handed hitters batted .220 against him in 2010, while right-handers produced a batting average of .280. In '09 at double-A, lefties hit just .112. The year prior to that, they hit .108 in high-A ball.
4. Josh Rodriguez, SS/2B (Pittsburgh from Cleveland)
Like Emaus above, Rodriguez comes from a solid college baseball background and he appears to be near-MLB-ready with a modest ceiling as a utility player. Clubs made a bit of switch away from a Rule 5 trend that saw teams nab raw hitters with good speed and/or defensive abilities. Both infielders mentioned here are solid bats with questionable defensive skills. Rodriguez is not a MLB shortstop, but he should hold his own at either second base or third base. At the plate, he hit .293/.372/.486 in 364 triple-A at-bats in 2010 after missing much of the 2009 season to injury. He has a nice, compact swing, and he does a good job of keeping the bat level through the zone. His strikeout rates have been high throughout his career, but he gets on base at a good clip thanks to above-average patience (11.0% walk rate in '10). He'll provided excellent depth to the Pirates' 25-man roster in 2011, especially with Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young gone.
5. Pedro Beato, RHP (New York NL from Baltimore)
The Mets club originally nabbed Beato out of a New York high school during the 2005 draft but was unable to come to terms with him. He attended junior college and was then picked up by Baltimore in the 2006 draft. He signed for $1 million. Beato's career was slowed by command issues, although he posted OK control numbers, including a walk rate of 2.87 BB/9 in 2010 at double-A. He was moved to the bullpen full-time this past year and flourished thanks to a more consistent fastball - both in terms of command and velocity. I have to admit that I was a little confused by Baltimore's approach to compiling its 40-man roster for the off-season. The club has one of the worst minor league organizations in terms of depth and it left three quality players unprotected - Beato, Ryan Adams, and Wynn Pelzer; all three could arguably show up as members of the organization's Top 15 prospects.
6. Mason Tobin, RHP (Texas via Chicago NL from Los Angeles AL)
Tobin was nabbed by the Cubs and then sold to Texas, an organization that is clearly hoping the right-hander can stay off the disabled list from here on out. He missed all of 2010 and pitched in just three games in ’09 and eight games in ’08. Tobin, 23, could be stashed on the DL for much of 2011 but it will significantly damage his future potential as he’s already lost two years of development time. From the Rangers’ perspective, though, it’s a worthwhile gamble as Tobin has shown a plus fastball and good slider. He has a three-quarter arm slot and throws with some effort, which helps to explain the health woes.
7. Robert Fish, LHP (New York AL from Los Angeles AL)
It's been a rough off-season for the Angels organization. After a miserable regular season, the club missed out on a number of key free agents (specifically Carl Crawford) and now it lost two pretty nice arms in the draft. Unfortunately, the club's minor league system just isn't that deep so it's a little shocking that both Tobin and Fish were left unprotected. I would argue that Anthony Ortega and Matt Palmer both had better chances of remaining in the organization than Fish or Tobin... even if they had been designated for assignment to get them off of the 40-man roster. There isn't much need to keep Ryan Budde or Freddy Sandoval on the roster, either.
Back to Fish. The southpaw will clearly have an uphill battle to win a spot on a club like the Yankees. Just 22, he split the year between high-A and double-A. He's battled some health issues and control problems throughout his five-year pro career. On the plus side, Fish has flashed some nice strikeout numbers in his career, including 10.20 K/9 in 42.1 innings in double-A. He posted an 8.93 ERA but his FIP was better at 5.40, in part due to a massively-high BABIP at .457. His ground-ball rates have been pretty average in his career. Fish's repertoire includes a good fastball at 88-92 mph, a curveball and a changeup. His body is maxed out from a projectability standpoint and he throws from a high three-quarter angle. He does a nice job of throwing his pitches all from the same arm slot but he does slow his arm down from time-to-time on the breaking ball.
Elvin Ramirez, RHP (Washington from New York NL): Ramirez was considered a lock to be lifted from the Mets in the draft because he has plus fastball velocity. It remains to be seen if his control is good enough for him to succeed in the Majors. He's with the right club to get a fair shot.
Jose Flores, RHP (Seattle from Cleveland): Flores posted some impressive numbers but it was in low-A ball and was also his first year in North America. The chance that he'll be able to stick - even with solid control for his age - is very slim.
Adrian Rosario, RHP (Baltimore from Milwaukee): To be honest, I don't get the interest in Rosario. He seems like a pretty run-of-the-mill pitcher. He posted solid but unspectacular numbers in low-A. When he's got his good command, he induces a solid number of ground-ball outs.
Nathan Adcock, RHP (Kansas City from Pittsburgh): Adcock spent a second straight year in high-A ball while displaying good control and a solid ground-ball rate. The right-hander has an average fastball, a plus curveball and a changeup. I'm a little surprised the pitching-starved Pirates would look the other way on this prospect.
Patrick Egan, RHP (Milwaukee from Baltimore): Egan is a tall right-hander that does a nice job of throwing on a downward plane, which helps him produce above-average ground-ball rates. He held up pretty well in the Arizona Fall League but may not strike out enough batters to succeed at the MLB level.
George Kontos, RHP (San Diego from New York AL): The former Northwestern grad has a big, strong pitcher's body but he got beat around in triple-A and the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He has the chance to be a long man in the bullpen - especially in San Diego. He's flashed OK stuff in the past but he's been haunted by inconsistencies and command issues.
Scott Diamond, LHP (Minnesota from Atlanta): This Canadian prospect doesn't have the best stuff but he induces a solid number of ground balls. He's a potential - and inexpensive - long reliever in the Twins' bullpen.
Cesar Cabral, LHP (Tampa Bay from Boston): Cabral is a southpaw that produces above-average ground-ball rates but he gave up a lot of hits in high-A ball in 2010. He had a BABIP-allowed of .391 and a very unlucky LOB-rate; Cabral had a favorable FIP of 2.60 (His ERA was 5.81).
Michael Martinez, IF/OF (Philadelphia from Washington): Martinez is extremely versatile, but he's a small player that doesn't produce much power at all and he doesn't walk nearly as much as he should given his offensive profile. He's a dime-a-dozen player.
Brian Broderick, RHP (Washington from St. Louis): Broderick is a big, strong pitcher who uses his size to help generate good ground-ball rates. He doesn't have much of a fastball, though, and succeeds with above-average control.
Lance Pendleton, RHP (Houston from New York AL): As a Rice University grad it should come as no surprise that Pendleton's early pro career was derailed by injuries. Healthy now for the past few seasons, he could settle in at the back-end of the rotation or as a middle reliever at the MLB level.
Daniel Turpen, RHP (New York AL from Boston): Turpen is your basic right-handed middle reliever and it will be a shock if he can break through into the Yankees' 2011 bullpen. There is nothing overly impressive about his resume and he wasn't all that good in the Arizona Fall League, despite an OK fastball.