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Rule 5: Ariel Ovando to become a Cubs pitcher

The Astros signed Ariel Ovando to a $2.6 million dollar deal in 2010. Now he's being converted to a pitcher by the Chicago Cubs.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday last week the Astros lost three propsects in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft. You can read about them here. In the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft the Astros also lost Ariel Ovando to the Chicago Cubs.

You remember Ariel Ovando, the position player the Astros signed to a $2.6 million signing bonus, a franchise-record deal. Ed Wade had this to say about Ovando at the time:

Ariel profiles as a middle of the order power hitter with excellent defensive skills. He profiles as a front line major league right fielder and should move quickly through the minor league system.

In 261 games at the minor league level Ovando has a .634 OPS. Not exactly the impact bat that Wade was expecting when he signed Ovando, nor was he the impact bat that David expected when he gave Ovando the highest ranking of all the other writers in our first ever Top 30 prospect list (more on that in a future post). Ovando was the number two prospect on our 2010 our prospect list. Just behind Jordan Lyles and just ahead of JD Martinez. Needless to say (but I'm going to say it anyway), Ovando was a disappointing $2.6M spent on a player.

Well now he gets a shot in the Cubs system, but he's getting a shot as pitcher instead of a position player. Lost in the comparisons of Ovando to the hitting aptitudes of players such as Darryl Strawberry, Fred McGriff, Cliff Floyd and others is that Ovando has a pretty good arm and was considered, by some scouts, to be a better prospect as a pitcher. As another writer pointed out: Ovando will now be attempting the reverse-Brian Bogusevic in trying to go from a position player to a pitcher.*

*For those that weren't around for the Bogusevic era. Bogusevic was drafted as a pitcher out of college, but struggled and ended up converting to a position player and making it the majors as such.

I'm sort of a little disappointed that the Astros front office didn't come up with this idea. Especially, considering that Jason Motte was converted from catcher to a successful major league reliever while Jeff Luhnow was with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. That's certainly not something I will hold against the Astros, considering the depth the Astros have in the farm system and the fact that Ovando was signed by the previous regime. Ovando's conversion to a pitcher will be interesting to watch as It's always interesting to see players make the switch from position player to pitcher or vice versa and this case will be no different.