That said, the outfield option might appear to be a bit duller with the acquisition of L.J. Hoes. Hoes crowds up the 40 man roster with fourth outfielder types in Paredes and Flaherty again, but also Nolan Reimold, David Lough, Dariel Alvarez, and maybe you can squint on the others. Again though, none of these players looks particularly exceptional enough to ensure them logging innings in the outfield and having some competition in Spring Training or carrying a player during the season might well be more useful. In this part, we will address five of the available outfielders we find most interesting.
Mitch Haniger, OF
|AA (2 seasons)||Minors||475||20||11||38||77||.269||.336||.405|
Haniger's path has been derailed a bit with a blown out knee. However, he still shows the tools that elevated him to the first round of the 2012 draft. He can play all three outfield positions who has a plus arm while his fringe center speed can work with proper placement and route running. At the plate, his power is increasingly showing up in games and his contact rate improved last season. However, contact is a concern at the MLB level and he is not particularly adept on the basepaths. I would think someone will pick him up simply because it is difficult to find someone who can reasonably handle center. It would be risky, but one source suggests that he is the one available outfielder in the Rule 5 who could start for a second division club. That is likely a unique view of Haniger, but his available in the Rule 5 draft was a slight surprise for a club who has space to burn on their 40 man roster.
Luigi Rodriguez, OF
|A+ (3 seasons)||Minors||926||46||18||92||206||.274||.347||.428|
Rodriguez is another interesting player who appears destined at some point to reach the majors. His standing in the Rule 5 would appear to be depressed as he was only in HiA ball last season. His game at the MLB level would be focused on his use of in-game speed and that he is plus defensive centerfielder. Always a big doubles and triples hitter, balls started leaving the field last year, which may have introduced a side of Rodriguez that may be out to play now. Certainly a stretch, but one of the few available players who might have a higher ceiling than most.
Victor Roache, LF
Roache was an underslot pick in first round of the 2012 draft due to a broken wrist that put into doubt his only loud tool, his power. After rehabbing the rest of 2012, the Brewers found that Roache still had his power and that he has expressed that power in a relatively reliable way throughout the minors. He basically puts together a 245/320/440 line with about 150 strikeouts no matter what level he finds himself. So, the power is real, plays in-game, and he has developed accordingly.
However, that low contact rate sure seems like it would be a problem in the Majors with more advanced pitching throwing breaking balls at the corners. Additionally, his defensive capabilities are limited by poor range, which firmly keeps him in the corner outfield and threatens a designated hitter role. Without a bump up in his contact rate or another advance in his power display, he is unlikely to stick with a club.
Tyler Goeddel, UTL
Tampa Bay Rays
Goeddel is athletic, but the hands are a little dodgy. The Rays gave up making him a 3B last year after a solid two years at the hot corner. Goeddel was simply not showing much improvement with his first steps, gets his hands in position, advancing, or making strong, accurate throws. That said, if you are accustomed to seeing Jimmy Parades man second or third for a game or two, you would not bat an eye at Goeddel's difficulties. Anyway, he is capable of playing all three outfield positions, but is not well experienced with his route running. His defense, to say the least, is a work in progress.
His hitting is a bit more interesting. The table above hides his yearly triple total of around 10 and that he swipes about 30 bases a year. Beyond showing good power gap to gap, he also doubled his home run production last year and may be showing some ability to launch 15-20 home runs eventually. My guess is that Goeddel is the first outfielder selected. He could be special-ish.
Dwight Smith, OF
Toronto Blue Jays
After a breakout 2014 campaign, the Blue Jays tried to find ways to diversify Smith's abilities to get move his bat forward. His work at 2B was limited largely to the practice fields and a couple appearances in the Arizona Fall League. At AA, Smith's emergence did not continue, which is likely why he finds himself unprotected this December in the Rule 5.
He is a decent outfielder and capable to play all three positions. Smith has good speed, but that speed does not show up on the base paths. He has an advanced approach at the plate, but it turns often into weak contact. For me, this is promising, but he will need reps in hope to generate more meaningful contact. Power-wise, he has some gap to gap capabilities. Although he does not look all that special (if he did look special, then he would be protected), he does a have a track record at AA that is somewhat respectable and some versatility in the outfield with a bit of awareness for perhaps a few innings of play at 2B.