The 2013 Rule 5 Draft will go down on Dec. 12, and the most frequently asked questions I get are in regards to which Dodgers prospects are eligible and who the team needs to protect. Therefore, I figured it was as good a time as any to take a look at the potential players who could be impacted by the draft.
But who’s eligible for the Rule 5 Draft anyway, right?
Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years.
All players on a Major League Baseball team’s 40-man roster, regardless of other eligibility factors, are “protected” and ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
So basically we’re looking at guys who are not on the 40-man roster, but who were signed out of high school in 2009, signed internationally in 2009, or signed out of college in 2010. There are exceptions, of course, but that’s the gist of it for 2013.
Now there are a lot of players in the Dodgers organization who are draft eligible, but since the drafting team has to keep the player on the 25-man roster the entire year to make it worthwhile, I’m only going to address those I think need protecting, those I think might have a chance at being taken, and those I’m frequently asked about.
It took Yimi until his age 21 season to get out of Rookie-ball, and he wasn’t much of a prospect back then. However, all he has done is perform since. He posted a 2.92 ERA between A and A+, striking out 14.1 per nine while walking only 3.8 per nine. Last year he got his first taste of AA and all he did was post a 2.52 ERA with 12.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
I don’t think he’s quite as good as his numbers — 92-93 fastball, touches 96, quality slider that flashes plus — but he has command of his pitches and I could see him getting a shot at the Dodgers pen this Spring. Has a 2.79 ERA in eight appearances in the Arizona Fall League so far.
Recommendation: Protect him. Not because he might be a valuable asset for the future, but because, well, he might compete for a 2014 role.
Chances He’s Taken: 80%
After struggling to a career .701 OPS in the minors as a hitter, the Dodgers decided to use Baez’s cannon for an arm on the mound instead. In his first season as a pitcher, he posted a 3.88 ERA between high-A and AA with a 8.9 K/9 and a 3.1 BB/9. Since he’s already 25, the Dodgers have pushed him to the AFL, where he hasn’t allowed a run in four appearances.
Recommendation: Protect him. Teams are getting looks at him in the AFL, and if they like his arm strength and he spins it well, somebody will be willing to hope they get Kenley Jansen-lite. Besides, if he takes a step forward in AA next year, he might be a September call-up for the team anyway.
Chances He’s Taken: 35%
Already 26, but has posted ERAs of 3.03 and 3.09 in his last two years against advanced bats, the latter of which came at the AAA launching pad in Albuquerque. That includes 180 strikeouts in 177.1 innings and 4.1 walks per nine.
Recommendation: Protect him … if there’s room. He would be the last guy put on the 40-man for me, but he’s handled one of the worst pitching environments in baseball well, and I think he could be valuable depth in case things go haywire in the pen in 2014. Not necessary at all, though.
Chances He’s Taken: 15%
Martin had been a starter up until this year and had been decidedly mediocre, albeit a guy with promise because he can touch 97. More than enough of a return for Dana Eveland either way. However, the org switched him to a relief role in late June and he was much more effective, earning a promotion to AA.
Despite a .407 BABIP against in AA, he managed to post a 1.67 ERA … while walking 12 in 11 innings and striking out 11. I’m not sure how that’s even possible but it happened, and it exposes the potential and the problems with him as a prospect.
Recommendation: Leave unprotected. He has potential as a lefty reliever, but his stuff doesn’t jump at you beyond his fastball and he hasn’t proven he can be effective quite yet.
Chances He’s Taken: 5%
After posting a .700 OPS in his first crack at full-season ball last year, Schebler exploded for a .941 OPS at age 22 in high-A. He has plate discipline woes, but hits the ball hard and has a lot of power potential.
Recommendation: Leave unprotected. I just can’t see a team taking a flier on late-rounder without a glowing scouting report and then jumping him from A-ball to the MLB.
Chances He’s Taken: 3%
Will be 27 next season, and he hit .670 OPS in AA in 2013. However, he posted a .944 OPS in AAA in 2012 and participated in the AFL. Possible outfield depth, but mainly putting him here due to inquiries on him from people.
Recommendation: Leave unprotected. Old for his age at every stop, doesn’t have outstanding tools, and was horrendous last year.
Chances He’s Taken: 1%
Gould was once arguably a top 10 prospect in the system after he posted a 2.40 ERA in A-ball and showed promising raw stuff. Even after he got rocked to a 5.75 ERA in high-A the following year, scouts were still high on him because he showed solid velocity and a plus breaking ball. However, in his age 21 season, he got shelled again to the tune of a 7.04 ERA while repeating high-A. Yet, for whatever reason, the Dodgers choose to move him up to AA. The struggles continued there, as he put up a 5.88 ERA.
So why is he even being addressed? Partially because he’s asked about a lot, and partially because it’s not all bad news. His FIP was 3.68 in AA, he whiffed more than a batter an inning, and his walk rate has stayed steady around mid-3 range for the last three years. Additionally, his stuff is still there and might be interesting from a bullpen perspective for a team that doesn’t have plans to compete.
Recommendation: Leave unprotected. His hittability has to be red flag, and he hasn’t proven he can get guys out at high-A yet. I certainly wouldn’t bother.
Chances He’s Taken: 1%
Garcia has always had promising power, but he’s never been able to make consistent contact above Rookie-ball. After posting a .911 OPS in high-A to begin 2013, he moved up to AA, where he was exposed miserably to the tune of a .460 OPS over 198 PA. He’s entering his age 22 season in 2013, so he still has time, but he’s nowhere near MLB ready.
Recommendation: Leave unprotected. Addressed him because he has a following and has been asked about, but … no.
Chances He’s Taken: 0%
The Dodgers are currently at 32 players on their 40-man roster, but surely they will be bringing in both impact players and bench pieces. However, they can fit a few prospects that are Rule 5 Draft eligible on the 40-man due to having disposable players currently on the roster. I have them adding two or three players, which shouldn’t be an overwhelming burden on the roster space considering all of them could arguably see the MLB in 2014 anyway.