19 November 2011

Assortment of Rule 5 Eligible Players

Cesar Cabral could be taken again in Rule 5.
The Rule 5 draft is one of those things that irritate me.  It is an event that has lost any meaning it use to have and is merely discussed because, simply, it takes place.  For instance, there has been concern that a Pedro Viola remains on the Orioles' 40 man roster while someone like Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Year Tim Bascom was not protected (unprotected for the second year in a row).  There are a few things to be understood:
  1. Being left off the 40 man roster does not mean that the organization does not value you.  It can sometimes mean that the organization thinks you are just too raw to be able to stick with a MLB team through the entire season (Rule 5 players cannot be demoted, only play in the Majors for someone or be returned to the parent club's minor league system).  By not protecting him, you save a spot on the 40 man roster and you wind up having an extra year to keep said prospect in the minors.
  2. Players who are currently on the 40 man roster may not be planned to be there for long.  Many players, including guys like Pedro Viola, remain on the roster until free agents are signed and then are designated for assignment.  It is a good idea to take a step back before using a player occupying a 40 man roster spot as the lynchpin of an argument.  However, if you think Oliver Drake is less talented than someone else eligible for protection...type away.
  3. Drake leads us to this (and I like Drake)...we are talking about relatively worthless prospects.  Ever since the last collective bargaining agreement tacked on an additional year of protection before MLB teams had to keep a guy on the 40 man roster, the rule 5 is now full of incredibly uninteresting players.  Who of importance have the Orioles lost in the past five years?  Pedro Beato.  He was probably the best Rule 5 selection last year and he had an ERA+ of 87.  That is about 20% worse than the average relief pitcher in the NL.
What the above should impart upon you is that the Rule 5 is much ado about pretty much nothing.  The only truly interesting guys are those who are low minors with injuries that have prevented anyone from getting a good handle on the player.  This largely means relief pitchers and on rare occasions you have a utility player.  The only time you find a bonafide plus player in the Rule 5 now is if he is a reformed drug addict who had not played meaningful ball in four years.

However, I will provide a list of a few players who might be of interest to the Orioles.  This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, but one that is merely a bit targeted.  I expect Baseball America will produce something more thorough in the next week or two.

Cody Satterwhite, RHRP
25 years old
Detroit Tigers
Rookie 10 IP, 9 k/9, 1.8 b/9, 45.2% GB, 60% contact, 3.08 SIERA

Satterwhite was a second round selection of the Tigers in 2008.  He was a reliever with a mid 90s fastball, a sharp slider, and control issues.  He was struck with a torn labrum, which is a death knell for most pitchers.  He missed all of 2010 and was limited to 10 innings for the rookie GCL Tigers team.  I do not have any notes on him from this summer, but he might be someone to take a flyer on.

Johan Yan, RHRP
23 years old
Texas Rangers
A+/AA 68 IP, 8.74 k/9, 2.9 b/9, 66% GB, 66% contact, 2.86 SIERA

Yan came into the Rangers organizations as a 16 year old signee with a plus arm.  He was considered a promising shortstop.  However, he had no ability to use a bat and was flipped to the mound after four difficult seasons.  After switch to a side arm release, he has had a great deal of success in the low minors.  His fastball sits in the high 80s and it is reported that his slider is about average.  He also showed particular aptitude to getting out right handed batters.  In AA, his stuff was a bit more hittable, but he still managed to induce a lot of poor contact.  A team could hide potentially hide a righty specialist in the pen.

Cesar Cabral, LHRP
22 years old
Boston Red Sox
A+/AA 53 IP, 11.4 k/9, 3.6 b/9, 52% GB, 56% Contact, 2.89 SIERA

In last year's Rule 5 draft, the Tampa Bay Rays selected Cesar Cabral.  He was placed on waivers, then claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays, and then reclaimed by the Rays.  The Rays tried and failed to work out a deal with Boston and was then returned to the Red Sox.  Based on the reports that I have, Cabral worth with a fastball around 90 mph, a slurve, and a changeup.

Terry Doyle, RHSP
26 years old
Chicago White Sox
A+/AA 173 IP, 6.4 k/9, 1.7 b/9, 48% GB, 76% contact, 3.85 SIERA

Doyle is your more typical player that mainstream press notices.  He is a minor league inning eater who gets by with solid control of the strike zone.  It is one of those things where performance does not exactly relate well to performance against higher caliber players.  This off season Doyle has been pitching in the Arizona Fall League and has permitted every team to get a good look-see on him.  As a starter, he sits in the upper 80s and sometimes gets it up to 91 or 92 mph.  According to Kevin Goldstein, he survives off a cutter and keeps pace with an average curveball and change up.  I could see someone taking a chance on him as a fastball/cutter/curve middle reliever who could rack up innings.

The players above fit pretty much the expected archetypes.  You have the once promising pitcher who has had severe injuries issues.  There is the young international signing who was switched from the field to the mound.  A lefty who has shown promise in the low minors, but lacks stuff.  You also have the low ceiling inning eating righty who is showing off his wares in the AFL.  On the batting side you have players like Jordan Danks who is a very athletic outfielder who has improved with his hitting from when he was drafted, but is likely at best a fourth outfielder.  If the Orioles lacked Matt Angle or Kyle Hudson, I could see Danks as a potential selection there.  I do think he has more upside than either.  There are also strong bats like Kody Hinze who is about a year away from being considered as potentially a useful backup player.


Greg said...

Good stuff. The Nats' Brad Meyers is similar to Doyle except he's already pitched with success at AAA. I'd rather see the O's add a pitcher like that, who has great control, than a younger pitcher who is wild. The team already has too many wild pitchers.

Ryan S. Kelley said...

Nice post. Satterwhite might be worth a flyer-- same with Cabral and Yan. My money, I'd take James if I was a rebuilding club with time and space. Otherwise I like Bryce Stowell, Caleb Brewer, TJ McFarland, Brett Lorin and Mark Hallberg.

For the Orioles, they gotta lose either Pelzer, Miclat, McCurry or Lebron...

For a long list of everyone that has a chance of getting draft-- plus short scouting reports on the top 25 check out : http://baseballnewshound.com/?p=1908