Tyler Jones is a right-handed reliever in the New York Yankees organization, who pitched last year at the Double-A level for Trenton. The 27-year-old had a great strikeout rate there fanning 67 batters in only 45.2 innings of work, while walking 11 and posting a 2.17 ERA. He was originally an 11th-round pick for the Minnesota Twins, but was released after the 2014 season, and spent the following year with the Braves. He had a solid year for them, with a 2.50 ERA over 49 appearances between High-A and Double-A. But Jones was let go, and signed by the Yankees in January this year. He has improved his K:BB steadily the past two years, so will (of necessity) have a spot in the D-backs bullpen for 2016.
We’ll update this post with more information on any other Arizona picks, as the rest of the draft unfolds. [Thanks to Preston for this info]
- John Fitzsimmons, RHP, from Cleveland AA
- Grant Sides, RHP, from Cleveland AA. Sides was drafted by the Indians in 2011 out of Samford, and has never appeared over AA. He has gone 2-4, 3.48 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 88 AA innings.
- Daniel Lockhart, INF, from Chicago Cubs. Son of Keith Lockhart. 10th round pick of Cubs in 2011. Briefly reached AAA (likely as injury fill-in) but has never regularly appeared over AA, where he has an OPS of .538.
I was surprised to discover that the Rule 5 draft is actually far older than the regular draft, dating back to 1902, more than six decades before the “other” draft. Its purpose hasn’t changed much: it gives teams the chance to take players from other franchises, which would otherwise be languishing in the minors. The structure has changed a bit though: it used to be C-class teams taking from D-teams, B-class from C, and A-class from B. This year, for the first time it’s a bit less structured - gone (presumably as the result of the new CBA, I’m guessing) is the specific Double-A section of the draft, a hangover from that old system. Now it’s all just a major-league and a minor-league section.
The former is really what matters most. Teams get to select any player from another side, not currently protected through being on the 40-man roster, who has accumulated sufficient minor-league service time. The catch is, that player then has to be kept on the 25-man (not 40-man) roster for the entire following season, or be offered back to his original team for half the $100,000 amount [doubled from last season], paid when taken. Given the “top” prospects nearest the majors tend to be protected, that means the selecting team largely has to carry a passenger for the year, in the form of a player not ready for the majors.
The D-backs did not pick anyone last year. They were the first to select a player in December 2014, choosing Oscar Hernandez. He did stick with the team, albeit by spending just enough time off the DL to qualify by season’s end [after the first year, you can return them to the minors, as they’re yours to keep]. Our previous pick, Marcus Mateo, didn’t even make it out of spring training before being returned to the Cubs. You have to go back to 2010 to find another Rule 5 pick for Arizona who lasted the entire season, that being left-handed reliever Joe Paterson. We’ll see what happens this season with Jones.