Rule 5 Implications
The Rule 5 Draft is more important to Houston than it is to other franchises, given the degree of their rebuilding effort and the depth of their minor league system. They can't afford to let quality prospects slip away to other teams when their major league roster is so barren of talent. The 2009 and 2010 drafts along with the influx of players via the last few trade deadlines has created a swell of talent reaching Rule 5 eligibility this year. I'd like to discuss what implications that may have on roster moves over the next year.
Here are the players who in Houston's system that are scheduled to be available in the 2013 Rule 5 draft, with their current age, level, and my thoughts on how they may figure into Jeff Luhnow's plan. I've left off players that are not anticipated to be on one of the full-season minor league teams, as guys in short season ball would be extreme long shots to be snatched up by another team. I've also left out guys who were signed in free agency this offseason, given that they could have been signed for nothing by any team, and did not latch on. Anyway, the list:
C Carlos Perez
- 22, AA, 771 OPS. Given his defensive profile, if he continues to hit in Corpus, I feel he is very likely to be selected.
C Rene Garcia
- 23, AA, 914 OPS. Unlikely to keep up his current production over a large sample, he is another defense first young catcher. He has passed through previous Rule 5's and unless he has a massive breakout season (like hitting for a 900+ OPS in AA at age 23 over a full season), he would be unlikely to be selected.
C Max Stassi
- 23, EST (injured). A once highly touted prospect, he has been injured often and failed to put up big numbers, but his Rule 5 standing could change if he puts in a few month of big offense in AA.
C Jobduan Morales
- 21, A, 602 OPS. Unlikely.
C Ryan McCurdy - 25, A+, 616 OPS. No chance.
1B Jonathan Singleton
- 22, AA (suspended). He is rated as one of the top 1B prospects in baseball and Houston will certainly add him to the 40 man roster this September.
1B/3B Bobby Borchering
- 22, EST (?). It's a mystery to me why Borchering isn't on the field, since I haven't heard of an injury. As a former 1st round pick with a fairly strong statistical track record, he will get notice if he has a healthy productive year.
1B/DH Erik Castro - 25, AA, 565 OPS. Given his lack of defensive ability, unless he has a massive breakout season, he will not be selected.
1B/DH Telvin Nash - 22, A+, 1177 OPS. No chance to be picked despite his power potential because of his injury history and strikeout tendencies.
1B/DH Rafael Valenzuela - 25, AA, 521 OPS. Given his lack of defensive ability, unless he has a massive breakout season, he will not be selected
2B Jose Martinez - 27, AAA, 786 OPS. Probably not, since he is a former free agent that couldn't latch on.
2B Enrique Hernandez
- 22, AA, 644 OPS. Barring a breakout season, he will not be selected.
IF Brandon Wikoff - 25, EST (injured). I would have thought he might have a good chance of getting picked, since he is a versatile defender and has good plate discipline. But after his offseason car wreck, his career may be in jeopardy.
IF Andy Simunic - 27, AAA, 980 OPS. Has already passed through 1 Rule 5, so unless he breaks out, he is not a risk to be taken.
SS Jiovanni Mier - 22, AA, 514 OPS. I don't care what the numbers say, 23 year old former 1st round picks who have shown glimpses of greatness and are plus defenders at a premium position should not be left exposed to the Rule 5 draft.
SS Ben Orloff - 25, AA, 746 OPS. "The Wizard" probably won't hit enough to warrant a selection, but infielders with defensive chops do get consideration.
3B Jonathan Meyer
- 22, AA, 460 OPS. Barring a breakout season, he will not be selected.
OF Domingo Santana - 20, AA, 840 OPS. Very likely to be selected if he remains unprotected and continues to hit at AA.
OF Michael Burgess - 24, AA, 463 OPS. Given that he is a former minor league Rule 5 pick, unless he breaks out he will not get picked.
OF Austin Wates - 24, AA, 905 OPS. If he is left unprotected, a team that thinks he can play CF will pick him.
OF Marc Krauss - 25, AAA, 1036 OPS. At his current production, he will be in Houston in short order.
RHP Asher Wojciechowski- 24, AA, 2.08 ERA so far; as long as he doesn't suffer a significant injury, he will certainly need to be added to the 40 man roster, as there is no way he would pass through the Rule 5 draft.
RHP Tanner Bushue - 22, EST. Just putting him on the list because he was a highly drafted player, but he has virtually no chance of getting selected.
RHP Bobby Doran - 24, AA, 2.31 ERA so far this year; as a former 4th rd draft pick dominating AA at 24, I could certainly see a team taking him. His upside is probably limited, so that may keep teams from picking him, but if his current #'s hold up, he will get close looks.
RHP Matt Heidenreich - 22, AA, 10.54 ERA; a higher upside guy, if he isn't able to put up better performances in AA he is unlikely to be chosen.
RHP David Martinez - 25, AA, 1.19 ERA; Houston should probably move him up to AAA in short order to see what they have. To me, he fits the profile of many a Rule 5 pick.
RHP Jake Buchanan - 23, AA, 1.75 ERA so far this year. Former organizational minor league player of the year, like Doran has limited upside, but given his production he has a chance to be taken.
RHP Andrew Robinson - 25, AA, 1.93 ERA. Another interesting AA pitcher, hasn't received much press but Mike Fast was high on him.
RHP Carlos Quevedo - 23, AA, 1.56 ERA. Like Martinez, fits the profile.
RHP Josh Zeid - 26, AAA, 1.93 ERA. Would get heavy consideration given his plus stuff.
RHP Jason Stoffel - 24, AA, 1.23 ERA so far and I could see a team taking him, given his strong track record and late-inning relief upside.
RHP Ruben Alaniz - 22, AA, 4.66 ERA. If he shows improvement over the year at AA, I could certainly see him getting taken, given that his upside is probably higher than most of the players on this list.
RHP Jorge De Leon - 25, AA, 1.17 ERA. He has passed through 1 Rule 5 draft already and I believe was released and resigned, so that points to him not being likely to get picked, but if he maintains his current production in AA, it will be interesting to see if a team plucks him away.
RHP Kyle Weiland- 26, EST (injured). Not a risk unless he returns to AAA, stays healthy, and dominates.
RHP Cameron Lamb - 23, A, 3.52 ERA. He was selected in the minor league phase of this year's Rule 5 draft, so he's a very unlikely candidate for next year's major league phase.
LHP Wes Musick - 26, AAA, 2.87 ERA. As a lefty with both starting and relieving experience, if he continues to pitch well in AAA, he will get some looks.
LHP Alex Sogard - 25, AA, has yet to allow a run this season, and given the propensity for teams to take lefty relievers in the Rule 5, he has a decent shot to be chosen if not protected.
LHP Sergio Escalona - 28, EST (injured). Unlikely, but you never know with lefty relievers and the Rule 5.
LHP Eric Berger - 27, AAA, 6.75 ERA. Organizational filler very low risk.
LHP Colt Cain - 22, A, 11.40 ERA. Former overslot signing and trade acquisition will not be chosen, barring a dramatic turn of events.
LHP Kevin Chapman - 25, AAA, 2.38 ERA. If he continues to have success in AAA, he would be a prime candidate to get picked.
LHP Patrick Urckfitz - 24, AA, 2.08 ERA. Also has passed through a previous Rule 5, but this time will have had success at a higher level and may entice a team.
LHP Luis Cruz - 22, A+, 4.42 ERA. Unless he gets promoted and excels in AA, Houston won't have to worry about him.
LHP Tom Shirley - 24, A+, 3.38 ERA. An interesting prospect despite his injury history and age relative to league, I could see a team taking a flier on him.
So to simplify:
Locks to be chosen if unprotected: Singleton, Wojo
Likely to be chosen if unprotected: Perez, Santana, Wates, Mier, Krauss, Zeid, Chapman
Could be chosen, depending on how 2013 plays out: Stassi, Borchering, Doran, Heidenreich, D Martinez, Buchanan, Robinson, Quevedo, Stoffel, Alaniz, De Leon, Musick, Sogard, Urckfitz, Shirley, Cruz
Long shots: Garcia, Morales, McCurdy, E Castro, Nash, Valenzuela, Jo Martinez, E Hernandez, Wikoff, Simunic, Orloff, Meyer, Burgess, Bushue, Weiland, Lamb, Escalona, Berger, Cain
There are only 3 players on Corpus' roster that are not scheduled for Rule 5 eligbility.
Questions for the board:
Who gets protected? Who gets picked by another team? How does this all affect Luhnow's current roster construction and offseason plans for free agency, etc.? This post has gotten long, so I'll leave my own answers in the comments.