MLB's Rule 5 Draft: What Your Team Can Do to Find a Quality Player
Your favorite baseball team's first opportunity to add a new young player to their roster could come on Thursday. Last year's Rule 5 draft class was very weak, with Mets RHP Rhiner Cruz going first overall to the Houston Astros.
Houston has the first overall pick again this season in what is expected to be a much deeper draft. Here are some of the players that your favorite team can pick on Thursday.
1. Jesus Aguilar
Just 22 years old, Aguilar hit well in the Indians' minor league system this season. Reaching Double-A, Aguilar hit 15 home runs and scouts believe he has even more power.
For most teams, he would fit in as a right-handed pinch-hitter off of the bench. Teams like the Indians need all the prospects they can get, so passing on Aguilar at this point would seem questionable.
2. Ryan Chaffee
Chaffee, 24, is a reliever in the Angels' system. Armed with fireballers like Ryan Madson and Ernesto Frieri, the Angels elected to leave Chaffee off their 40-man roster, making him eligible for the rule 5 draft.
He is a strikeout guy (84 K’s in 65.2 innings) but struggles with command. It might benefit a team to pick up a young reliever like Chaffee and hope he can improve on his control issues with new voices around him. It can't hurt to let the kid compete for a spot in a major league bullpen during spring training.
Freiman is an older first base prospect who put up awesome numbers in the Rangers' system in Double-A San Antonio. He won’t get his chance with Texas, but another team might give him an opportunity on Thursday.
Once a top prospect and considered to be a five-tool player in the Nationals organization, Hood, 22, has really struggled in 2012. For a player to stay with his new team, the team must keep him on the 25-man roster for the entire season. Hood is unlikely to stay with anyone franchise for the entire year, but he is very talented and the Nationals are taking a risk.
As a starter, Perez really struggled in the Braves' system, so Atlanta elected to put him in the bullpen where he promptly struck out 14.7 batters per nine innings and held hitters to a .182 average.
Perez, 21, has a power arm from the left side and is too talented for a team not to take a chance on him during the Rule 5 draft. Anytime you can take a pitcher from the Braves, I strongly recommend it.
Blake Smith, 24, had a solid year at Double-A in the Dodgers' system, but there does not appear to be any chances for playing time there.
It's hard to crack an outfield with players like Andre Eithier, Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp, but he has a chance to be a good power-hitting right fielder at the highest level.