Last week we saw 40-man rosters become finalized in advance of the annual Rule 5 draft. For a refresher, we'll go over what exactly that is, which current D-backs farmhand(s) might be selected, and who might the Diamondbacks target with the 1st overall selection.
Rule 5 Draft Summary
The Rule 5 draft is for players that have been in the minors for four or five years. Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years.
Drafted players immediately are placed on the selecting teams 40-man roster and must be kept on the Major League 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season. The selected player must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days.
A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $50,000 to the team from which he was selected and if the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team from which he was selected for $25,000. Players can be traded after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft, but are still under the same rules as mentioned before.
Possible Diamondbacks Losses
Really the only potential loss could be Zach Borenstein, one of the players acquired for Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana last season. Across four separate minor-league teams for the Angels and Diamondbacks in 2014, he slashed .258/.320/.432 and is left-handed, so he could be stashed as a 5th outfielder/pinch hitter for a team in search of an inexpensive LH bat.
Patrick Schuster is also available again, but after a disappointing season overall could go unclaimed. He was once again excellent against lefties (.632 OPS in Triple-A), so a team could potentially use him in that fashion while limiting his appearances against righties.
Possible Diamondbacks Targets
Not only do the D-backs get the 1st overall selection in the June Rule 4 Draft, but also in today's Rule 5 Draft. Go us! Thankfully the Diamondbacks have already been telling teams some of their plans:
Rule 5 rumblings that @Dbacks might take @Astros C Robert Pena w/top pick. VG defensive C w/questionable bat.— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) December 10, 2014
But hold up now, according to Baseball America Tampa Bay Rays catcher Oscar Hernandez is expected to be the first player selected. John Sickels had this to say when he ranked him as the Rays 18th prospect in 2014:
Oscar Hernandez, C, Grade C+: Age 21, hit .249/.301/.401 with nine homers, 25 walks, 78 strikeouts in 362 at-bats for Bowling Green, threw out 41% of runners. Defense very promising if in need of a bit more refinement, has power but needs tighter zone.
Outside of those two catchers is without question the most talented player in the draft, Delino DeShields Jr.. Baseball America does a great job of telling us what makes him so great:
Delino DeShields Jr., 2nd/OF, Astros: Some teams will be turned off by his well-documented problems with not always showing his best effort—he’s been pulled from multiple games over the years for not running out balls. But other teams may be intrigued by some of the best tools in the Rule 5 draft. The minors’ only 10-100 man ever (12 home runs, 101 steals in 2012), DeShields plays an adequate center field, can also play second base, has more pop than most speedsters and has shown excellent on-base skills.
Adding to the effort problems, he was arrested and charged with a DUI as an 18-year old. If the D-backs think they can fix DDJ's apparent problems, they will undoubtedly get a very intriguing talent to compete with Aaron Hill at 2nd base.
Unless we see another member of the 40-man roster get traded between today and the draft, the D-backs will only have room to add 1 player in the Rule 5 draft. But with how things are going in San Diego, we may have more room than we expect. To find out if and/or when we select anyone, be sure to come back during draft time at 10 a.m. MST.