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Round 1

1. The Padres (via Twins) select Miguel Diaz, RHP (Milwaukee Brewers)
The easiest thing to stash in the rule 5 is a pitcher you can stick in the bullpen and maybe on the disabled list if you need to. The Padres successfully retained Luis Perdomo last year, and Diaz is a decent bet to stick for them this year too. He’s not ready for the majors in terms of polish, but he can hit 98 with his fastball, will flash a plus slider, and has feel for a change. It’s a starter’s arsenal (down the line) but the effort in his delivery make the bullpen a likely destination, especially if he’s going to miss development time (or experience it in the majors). He missed significant time in 2015 with an arm injury, so the Padres finding a way to stash him on the DL wouldn’t surprise either. -CG

2. The Padres (via Reds) select Luis Torrens, C (New York Yankees)
Torrens, a skilled defender with plus raw power who signed for $1.3 million out of Venezuela, was one of the best prospects exposed. The Yankees took a gamble that his extreme lack of experience—only 198 plate appearances in full-season ball—due to recurring shoulder injuries that cost him all of 2015 and part of 2016 would get him through. It wasn’t a bad bet, but the Padres made one of their two deals to nab him. With Derek Norris traded and Christian Bethancourt being exposed to a super-duper-utility role, it’s easy to envision Torrens sticking as Hedges’ backup, but he’s realistically nowhere near ready to contribute yet. -JS

3. The Padres select Allen Cordoba, SS (St. Louis Cardinals)

There really is a lot to like about Cordoba, it’s just the concerns are much longer than the likes. Positives: he’s fast, knows the strike zone, isn’t a slapper, and is a fair defensive player. Negatives: his experience is limited, he might only get to 30 in-game power, his speed hasn’t been tested at the upper levels, and while his approach is advanced in rookie-ball, it might not fly in the bigs. The upside is high with Cordoba, but the risks are obvious. -SG

4. The Rays select Kevin Gadea, RHP (Seattle Mariners)
If Gadea sticks on the roster through the big leagues, it will be quite a jump. Not as big as the jump Allen Cordoba is attempting, but big nonetheless. There is a lot to like with Gadea: size, arm strength, a big fastball, and lots of strikes. The concerns are obvious, he only has 50.1 IP above rookie ball, his lack of breaking ball might harm him in a rotation, and that he is making a large jump. In a bullpen role for a season, the concerns could be partially hidden, but he will have to be deployed carefully. -SG

5. The Braves select Armando Rivero, RHP (Chicago Cubs)
When you have a 14.0K/9 in Triple-A, someone will take notice. Rivero has a power fastball/slider combination that has obviously worked at the upper levels and didn’t have anything left to prove. A team like the Braves can grab him and see how he does in the bigs without pressure. After all, their current closing options include Mauricio Cabrera, Jose Ramirez, and Jim Johnson. -SG

6. The Diamondbacks select Tyler Jones, RHP (New York Yankees)
Tyler Jones is your typical minor-league fastball/slider veteran reliever that has gotten additional chances as more and more pitchers get sucked up into the majors. That’s no different here, as they’ve been popped with increasing frequency in Rule 5. Signed out of minor-league free agency before last season, Jones had a dominant season in Double-A Trenton, but was just buried on a lengthy Yankees relief pitching depth chart. – JS

7. The Cubs (via the Brewers) select Caleb Smith, LHP (New York Yankees)
Smith spent 2016 bouncing between Trenton’s sometimes stacked rotation and bullpen, and he’s a lefty with a marginal three-pitch mix. This usually portends “future LOOGY,” but he’s run fairly consistent reverse splits up the minor-league ladder. It’s hard to imagine the Cubs carrying a Rule 5 swingman all year long, honestly. – JS

8. The Twins (via the Angels) select Justin Haley, RHP (Boston Red Sox)

His arsenal is more average than solid, but when you throw strikes, you got a chance. In his first round of Double-A, his strike throwing and flat stuff caused him to be far too hittable. In a second trial he performed better, and missed some more bats to boot. The fastball is a 55, but the secondaries project to average and he doesn’t walk many guys. In other words, sound the Nick Blackburn alarms, because the Twins found a guy who fits that kind of profile. -SG

9. The White Sox select Dylan Covey, RHP (Oakland Athletics)
With a sturdy 6-foot-2 and 205-pound frame, Covey looks the part of a sinkerball pitcher. His full-windup delivery has only fringy athleticism and can be low-energy at times, but he repeats his delivery well out in front, working around the zone in most sequences. He sits at 92-93 with a heavy, boring fastball down and to his armside, and touched as high as 95 both in the Texas League and in Arizona this fall. Covey has a good feel for manipulating grips on his pitches and changing speeds, as his best second pitch is a cutter/slider hybrid—which iteration of his cut-action grip he throws depends how hard he releases the ball. The cutter is a harder, lateral pitch at 88-91 with glove-side action, and he’ll relax the grip and show more of a true slider in the 84-86 range when he slows it down. If the stars align for Covey as a MLB-phase Rule 5 selection, he profiles as a sturdy strike-thrower with heavy, sinking stuff. While he won’t miss many bats, pitching to contact and keeping the ball on the ground could be his ticket to contributing as a no. 5 starter or long-reliever for the rebuilding White Sox. -AM

10. The Pirates select Tyler Webb, LHP (New York Yankees)
Of the four Yankees that got taken, Webb was the most obvious, so of course he got picked fourth because nothing about Rule 5 makes any sense. Webb is a big lefty who hides the ball well and relies on a low-90s fastball and a low-80s slider. He’s pitched well in the upper-minors for the past few seasons, and he’s been impossible for lefties to hit. He should have a good shot to stick somewhere as a lefty specialist, even if there isn’t a lot of upside beyond that. – JS

11. The Tigers select Daniel Stumpf, LHP (Kansas City Royals)
Stumpf was selected by the Phillies in last year’s Rule 5, where he pitched in seven games before getting a 50-game suspension for PEDs. He was subsequently DFA’ed and offered back to the Royals. He still has the same velocity, the same ability to get lefties out, and a deceptive slider, so let’s see if take two gets better results. -SG

12. The Orioles select Aneury Tavarez, OF (Boston Red Sox)
I got an Aneury Tavarez Rule 5 question in a chat a few weeks ago, so kudos to AJ in Ottawa for successfully guessing that Tavarez would get popped. Tavarez wasn’t much on the radar entering 2016 except as minor-league utility type that ran well, but he went absolutely nuts repeating Double-A, to the tune of .335/.379/.506 in Portland, a fine season in not-the-world’s-greatest offensive environment. He’s a short guy with an odd swing that’s slid down to the corner outfield spots over the years, so the bar is pretty high, but the Orioles potentially have playing time open for him. – JS

13. The Blue Jays select Glenn Sparkman, RHP (Kansas City Royals)
Minor league baseball’s ERA leader in 2014 with a 1.56 ERA, Tommy John surgery found Sparkman the following season, and his return campaign featured similar results that got him noticed. His fastball may only be average in terms of velocity, but it plays up thanks to his plus command. His secondaries are fringy and might lack swing-and-miss ability at the big-league level, but you can never go wrong throwing strikes. -SG

14. The Red Sox select Josh Rutledge, IF (Colorado Rockies)
In one of the odder moves of the draft, the Red Sox picked Josh Rutledge, who they’d outrighted off the 40-man roster into free agency just a month ago. As you might’ve heard elsewhere, they’ve traded away a few infielders this week, and Rutledge just happens to play third (Travis Shaw and Yoan Moncada), short (Mauricio Dubon), and second (Moncada and Dubon). Suddenly the Red Sox badly need upper-level infield depth, so why not bring back someone familiar to your clubhouse? Rutledge is a few years past being a prospect of any note, but he’s a perfectly fine sixth infielder. – JS

15. The Indians select Hoby Milner, LHP (Philadelphia Phillies)
I’ve seen two versions of Hoby Milner. The first was in the low-minors, where he was an over-the-top lefty starter that probably didn’t have much of a major-league future. Somewhere along the way, the Phillies converted him to a sidearm reliever, and his fastball/slider mix there is good enough to give him, you guessed it, a LOOGY future. Cleveland famously went without an incumbent LOOGY in their big World Series run, so there’s an open spot Milner could grab with a good spring. -JS

16. The Rangers select Michael Hauschild, RHP (Houston Astros)
Fringy-to-average across the board stuff doesn’t make for an exciting Rule 5 selection, but Hauschild posts good spin rates on his fastball, and that might intrigue a bit. That fastball only clocks in at 88-91 though, and while his control is average, the nights when it’s not get ugly fast.

Round 2

17. The Reds select Stuart Turner, C (Minnesota Twins)
His profile is similar to a lot of backup catchers floating around the big leagues now. Solid defensive skills, plus arm, patience, quality receiver, lacks offensive ability for long-term value. Maybe he sticks, maybe he doesn’t, if he does; it’s because Devin Mesoraco could not play this year. -SG

18. The Orioles select Anthony Santander, OF (Cleveland Indians)
The physical Santander easily had the best year of his professional career as a 21-year-old in the Carolina League in 2016. Playing on a talented Lynchburg club that was among the Minors’ winningest last season, he slashed a robust .290/.368/.494 with 20 dingers–even adding 10 steals, to boot. He’s a legitimate switch-hitting threat, with plus raw power from both sides of the plate. Though he’s limited to a corner-only profile, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Santander moves better than you’d expect for a player with his muscularity. If he can make consistent contact and find a way to contribute in (likely) only situational playing time this year for the O’s, the frame and raw power are that of a left field regular. -AM

Interesting Triple-A phase names

The Rays select Ty Hensley, RHP (New York Yankees)
A first-rounder back in 2012 out of an Oklahoma HS, Hensley has never been able to shake the injury bug. In total he has had two Tommy John surgeries, as well as right shoulder surgery since being drafted. All told he has only thrown 42 2/3 innings since being drafted. Here’s hoping he can put it back together. -SG

The Mariners select Paul Paez, LHP (New York Mets)
Paez is more or less a junker, coming from a bunch of different arm slots, speeds, and off-speed offerings for his success thus far. His fastball came in from 84-86 and has late run, and is effective at pitching to both sides of the plate. His main offspeed offering is a 68-70 changeup; it’s almost bugs bunny-like as guys that are cheating on his slow fastball swing out of their shoes when the pitch drops at the plate. While effective here, more disciplined hitters have not been fooled and just wait it out. His 74-77 slider is a sweeper but isn't effective and was only used to steal strikes against lefties. -SG

The Yankees select Jorge Saez, C (Toronto Blue Jays)
He gets good marks for his above-average arm (1.94-1.97 for me earlier this year) and it doesn’t hurt that he hit for more power this year than ever before. -SG

The Royals select Kelvin Magallanes, RHP (New York Yankees)

This is true as he has posted groundball rates of 63 percent, and 58 percent in two stateside seasons, but he has also posted a walk per nine rate of 9.2 and 4.9 in those two seasons. I mentioned him earlier this year as being an interesting relief arm given his control issues. – SG

The Cardinals select Austin Wilson, OF (Seattle Mariners)
As I noted back in May, Wilson’s high-end physicality doesn’t translate particularly well to baseball athleticism, and after a second consecutive season failing to crack .240 in the Cal League it’s fairly safe to say the bat has officially stalled out. Despite loads of strength, his game power plays way, way down on account of a rigid swing with poor loft and very limited lower-half engagement. He became absurdly aggressive as the season progressed, ultimately whiffing in an unsightly 36 percent of his trips to the dish last season. The Cardinals are as well-suited as anyone to attempt a swing overhaul and value extraction, and he’s still just now approaching his 25th birthday. But the former second rounder’s a much bigger project than prospect at this point. -WK

The Rangers select Matt Smoral, LHP (Toronto Blue Jays)
Another former 2012 first rounder, Smoral missed the 2012 season with a stress fracture in his foot and has struggled to stay healthy since, throwing a combined 106.2IP since signing. His velocity reportedly dipped into the upper 80’s this summer. – SG

The Blue Jays select Philip Walby, RHP (Washington Nationals)
He can run it up to 98 with the fastball but struggles to command it, his slide-step delivery is sometimes too fast for him to catch up to and he can leave pitches up. His split-finger flashes fringe-average. -SG

The Red Sox select Harrison Cooney, RHP (Los Angeles Angels)
Cooney showed some intrigue as a starter after a good 2015 season that translated to the Fall League; but he missed this past season after getting Tommy John surgery.- SG

The Diamondbacks select Grant Sides, RHP (Cleveland Indians)
Sides has prototype physicality in a 6-foot-4 frame, though he has been a reliever throughout his professional career since the Indians selected him in 2011’s 12th round. He throws exclusively from the stretch, sometimes an indication that control has been a past issue: a career walk rate of nearly five walks per nine would support this, though Sides has never had any issue missing bats with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, and touched as high as 97 in my looks last year. He mixes in fair secondary pitches, with both his slider and changeup sitting in the mid-80s. While Sides lacks the consistent control to turn plus raw stuff into a genuine high-leverage profile, a rebuilding club like Arizona could get some middle-innings appearances from him and hope his fringy control isn’t exposed. -AM

The Rangers select Zach Bird, RHP (Atlanta Braves)
Bird’s strikeouts and walks both trended the wrong direction after working as a reliever for the first time in 2016. A broad, muscular, 6-foot-4 and 210-pounds, Bird’s primary pitches are a power fastball can reach the upper-90s, and a hard, cutter-like slider in the 87-88 range. His velocity wavered greatly at times in 2016, occasionally dropping down to the 91-92 area. -Adam McInturff

The Cubs select Kevin Cornelius, INF (New York Yankees)
Cornelius has a sound swing with average bat speed and fringe-average power, but he is a below average runner who struggles at third and is just passable at first. -SG

The Angels select Mario Sanjur, C (Detroit Tigers)
Sanjur has thrown out 38 percent of base-stealers in his stateside career, but that career has been rookie and short-season levels. He isn’t the easiest to pitch to given his diminutive frame, and there aren’t much in the way of tools to talk about. -SG

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brentdaily
12/17
The Angels lost four players in the minor league portion of the rule 5 draft. How does something like that happen to a team with a system as bad as theirs?
BobcatBaseball
12/17
Anthony Bemboom was announced as a pitcher, but he is more or less an organizational catcher who has thrown out a fair amount of baserunners. Harrison Cooney isn't too big a loss, he didn't perform that well outside of a 2014 season in Burlington. Plus he also had TJ. Alex Yarbrough never projected that well at 2B and struggled to hit the past three seasons. Cal Towey is older than average and lacks much in tools and overall upside. These players can fill organizational roles for other teams, but they aren't tremendous losses overall.
onegameref
12/18
I know the Cubs guys know a helluva lot more about these things than I do, but I can't see the logic of not protecting Rivero and protecting Brooks and Buchanan. I can see Felix Pena and Leathersich being protected, but can't see why to let Rivero go. Any thoughts on their logic?
timjrohr
12/19
He's almost 29 and he walked more than a guy every other inning, thus yielding "only" a 3:1 K:BB ratio. Those would be my guesses.
Deadheadbrewer
12/19
I'm still confused as to why the Twins didn't simply select Hayley with the first-overall pick. Wouldn't that have been easier than taking a player to trade to the Padres, then trading with the Angels to get Hayley? And why wouldn't they prefer the supposedly-best pitcher available, rather than trading that player to acquire the sixth pitcher taken?
Muboshgu
12/20
They probably (a) wanted Haley, not Diaz, and (b) got something in return that made it worth their while to pick Diaz and risk not getting Haley.
MattDavis
12/19
Are Cordoba and Rutledge the least and most experienced players ever taken in the Rule 5? I can't remember a lot of recent precedents for a guy who's never played above Rookie ball or a guy who's spent parts of 5 seasons in the bigs being taken. And how bad are the Padres going to be that they are willing to try to stash a 21-year old with no full-season experience in the majors for a full season?
jarrettseidler
12/19
Wei-Chung Wang was picked by the Brewers and actually stuck with under 50 pro innings, all in the Florida complex league. R.A. Dickey was taken in the 2007 Rule 5 with similar experience to Rutledge. Happens every so often when a MLB player signs a MILB contract unusually early in the offseason.
cdgarosi
12/28
Chris Gomez is the poster child for the experienced Rule 5'er. He was signed to a contract on Dec 8 2004 by the Orioles. They didn't protect him on the 40-man and he was selected five days later by the Phillies. The Phillies then sold Gomez back to the O's a week later after they determined they wouldn't need Gomez as Placido Polanco was returning to the fold.