Diamondbacks win some, lose some in Rule 5 draft

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

The Diamondbacks lost two players in the major league section of the Rule 5 draft, but also added the Cubs' reliever, Marcos Mateo.

This morning's activities in Florida - what do you mean, you were "sleeping"? - didn't take long to impact the D-backs, with the Houston Astros selecting Patrick Schuster from the Diamondbacks with the very first pick of the 2013 Rule 5 draft. Schuster was ranked as our #41 prospect by John B in September; the left-handed pitcher, who turned 23 in October, had a dominant season out of the bullpen for High-A Visalia, allowing nine earned runs in 55 appearances, for a 1.83 ERA and striking out fractionally more than a batter per inning.

In a curious twist, the Astros then turned round and dropped Schuster on the Padres, as the player to be named later in the Anthony Bass trade, consummated yesterday. Still, it will be a big jump to the major leagues for Patrick, since he has not pitched above the A+ level. The Padres now have to keep Schuster on the 25-man roster for the entire 2014 season, or offer him back to Arizona, for half of the $50,000 signing fee paid. Probably with a better chance of sticking with their new team is Kevin Munson, who was selected by the Phillies from Arizona, with the fourth pick of the draft.

Munson was a 4th-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2010, and spent 2013 between Mobile and Reno. He did better at the former, with a 3.41 ERA in 31.2 innings, with a 39:15 K:BB rate. Ranked #25 by Mr. Baragona, Kevin did struggle a bit after his promotion to Reno, with a 5.09 ERA though struck out 27 batters in only 23 innings, so the peripherals weren't bad.

Half the teams ahead of the 15th-placed Diamondbacks didn't make a selection, but Arizona did extend their run of choosing players in the draft (as noted yesterday), picking reliever Marcos Mateo from the Cubs. He's definitely one of the older prospects and will turn 30 (!) in April. However, he does have major league experience already, having appeared in 44 games with Chicago during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He had a 5.04 ERA but struck out 51 in only 44.2 innings. The problem appears to be health: he missed all of 2012 and didn't pitch in 2013 until late June, after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

However, his recovery from that seems to have gone smoothy, Mateo putting up a 1.74 ERA across three levels as he rehabbed, and striking out 30 in 31 innings. He has been pitching in winter ball where Baseball America described his stuff as "electric". He has an ERA below one there, pitching for Estrellas de Oriente, allowing only 11 hits in 19 innings with a K:BB ratio of 22:7. It certainly seems that he could help the Diamondbacks this season, and if he doesn't... Well, he'll only have cost the team $25,000. Expect him to get a long look in spring training, for the back of our bullpen.

In the Triple-A section of the draft which followed, the Diamondbacks selected two further pitchers, RHP Mike Lee from the Braves, and leftie Hector Hernandez from the Cardinals. These don't have to be kept on the major-league roster, as Mateo does. Lee was mostly at Double-A with Atlanta last year, and had a 3.71 ERA in 25 games (20 starts) for them there, and showed good control, walking only 1.3 batters per nine innings, though his K-rate of 5.5 was also pretty low. Hernandez was a 10th-round St. Louis pick in 2009, and is still only 22. Between A and A+ ball last season, he had a 3.55 ERA in 22 games (21 starts).

With the draft out of the way, we will probably hear soon about the various players to be named later, in the Bell and Trumbo trades. According to Kevin Towers, none of those three were selected, so we should be good to go. The pick will also score points for anyone in our contest who selected the Cubs as a partner for the D-backs this year [I'm drawing the line at the minor-league portion, so Cardinals and Braves don't count!]. Probably more by luck than good judgement, as I suspect you were all thinking Samardzija rather than Mateo!

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