5 Intriguing Prospects Left Unprotected for the Rule 5 Draft
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The Rule 5 Draft will take place on Dec. 6 this year, which also marks the final day of the GM meetings in Nashville, Tenn. After examining some of the high-profile prospects added to their team’s 40-man roster last week and, in turn, protected from the draft, I wanted to highlight several players who will be draft-eligible.
Typically, power bats and once-promising arms are the big draw, but middle infielders and utility-type players also receive their share of consideration. While Rule 5 success stories have become few and far between, there are still plenty of teams every year that hope to land a diamond in the rough.
Here are five players who may be worth taking a flier on in a few weeks.
Ryan Chaffee: RHP, Los Angeles Angels
2012 Stats: 2-0, 7 SV, 22.2 IP, 2.38 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 6.8 H/9, 11.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 (18 G, High-A Inland Empire); 5-1, 43 IP, 2.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 5.0 H/9, 11.7 K/9, 5.7 BB/9 (37 G, Double-A Arkansas)
A third-round draft pick out of Chipola College (Fla.) in 2008, Chaffee served as a starting pitcher for the majority of his minor league career with minimal success. However, the 24-year-old right-hander was impressive in his first full season as a reliever in 2012, though his command certainly leaves something to be desired.
With a mid-90s fastball and an above-average slider, Chaffee could be selected if a team believes he can contribute in the major leagues this season.
Josh Fields: RHP, Boston Red Sox
2012 Stats: 3-3, 8 SV, 44.2 IP, 2.62 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 6.0 H/9, 11.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 (32 G, Double-A Portland); 4 SV, 13.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 5.3 H/9, 12.5 K/9, 1.3 BB/9 (10 G, Triple-A Pawtucket)
A first-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2008, I consider Fields, 26, to be one of the biggest overdrafts of the last decade. And sure enough, the hard-throwing closer struggled upon turning pro. In fact, his struggles lasted for almost three seasons before the Mariners gave up and shipped him to Boston in July 2011.
Since then, however, he’s seemingly turned the corner and actually turned in a pretty good season in his first full year with the Red Sox. Since he appears to be nearly big league-ready, finally, the right-hander is exactly the type of arm a team may take a flier on come Dec. 6.
Chris McGuiness: 1B, Texas Rangers
2012 Stats: .268/.366/.474, 48 XBH (23 HR), 77 RBI, 107/69 K/BB (123 G, Double-A Frisco)
2012 AFL Stats: .283/.370/.467, 9 XBH (4 HR), 27 RBI, 16/13 K/BB (25 G)
A first base-only prospect, McGuiness, 24, capped an impressive campaign at Double-A Frisco—his first at the level—by capturing MVP honors of the Arizona Fall League after pacing the circuit in RBI (27). The 6’1”, 210-pound left-handed hitter also posted career highs in nearly every offensive category during the regular season, though he did fan 107 times.
McGuiness demonstrated the ability to hit left-handers, too, batting .252/.358/.461 with 12 extra-base hits and 38/19 K/BB in 115 at-bats. His raw power alone makes him a candidate to be selected on Dec. 6, though it may be tough for some organizations to guarantee a roster spot to someone who may never be more than a Quad-A slugger.
Marc Krauss: OF, Houston Astros
2012 Stats (AA, AAA): .271/.397/.491, 89 R, 53 XBH (20 HR), 116/85 K/BB (135 G)
A second-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009, Krauss is a legitimate three-true-outcome hitter who’s been hindered by a lack of a natural defensive position. However, the 6’2”, 235-pounder can sting the baseball, as evidenced by an .852 OPS in 428 career minor league games.
Krauss was traded, along with fellow 2009 draft pick Bobby Borchering, to the Astros around the trade deadline last season and reached Triple-A with his new organization. He’s a bit of a baseclogger and lacks range at both corner outfield spots, but his bat should get him to the big leagues at some point in 2013—regardless of his organization.
Rafael Ynoa: MIF, Los Angeles Dodgers
2012 Stats: .278/.364/.352, 27 XBH (23 2B), 23 SB, 70/58 K/BB (113 G, Double-A Chattanooga)
2012 AFL Stats: .330/.374/.515, 10 XBH (2 HR), 20 RBI, 7 SB, 14/8 K/BB (27 G)
Signed by the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, it took Ynoa, 25, four seasons to graduate from rookie-level to Class-A. A switch-hitter with minimal pop, his ability to both draw walks and steal bases could eventually get him to the major leagues as a utility infielder. Defensively, Ynoa is capable of playing either middle-infield position thanks to above-average range and a strong arm.