MLB Offseason: Breaking Down 10 of the Top Rule 5 Prospects

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MLB Offseason: Breaking Down 10 of the Top Rule 5 Prospects
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Sorry, Jose Bautista isn't available this year.

However, back in 2003 the AL's third vote getter for the 2011 MVP award was selected in the Rule 5 draft, which occurs at the annual winter meetings.  You can add a few other big names to that list including Shane Victorino, Dan Uggla, Joakim Soria and Johan Santana as players selected in the Rule 5 draft.

Here's a quick run down of the rules surrounding the draft. 

The draft order works the same as the Amateur Draft, worst to best. In order to make a selection, a team must have a spot available on their 40 man roster and the selected player must remain on the selecting team's 25 man roster for the entire season.

There's also a few rules to protect a teams' top young talent.  The player cannot be on the organizations' 40 man roster when selected, and if signed by the original organization at 19 or older the player must have at least four years of service (five years if signed at 18).

So basically, you're not going to ever see guys like Bryce Harper or Jesus Montero in the Rule 5.  This will be middling prospects who haven't been able to work their way out of the minors or onto the 40 man roster in nearly a half decade. 

However, history tells us that there are some hidden gems, which have a lot of professional experience, available through this draft.

The names this year won't ring a bell to most of us, but here's a quick primer of 10 players available in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft.  Some might get picked, several probably won't since teams might not be convinced they can add value to the 40 man roster, but they're all interesting names.

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