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Who would the Arizona Diamondbacks protect in an expansion draft?

If MLB was to expand further, the new teams would get to select from the existing ones. But they wouldn’t be able to pick anyone...

Pittsburgh Pirates v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been involved in an expansion draft before, of course. On November 18, 1997, in the Phoenix Civic Center, they and the (then) Tampa Bay Devil Rays were the recipients of the players, in a 35-round event. Among the players selected by the D-backs that day, were key components of our subsequent World Series run, including Brian Anderson, David Dellucci and Damian Miller. But if MLB were to expand further now - most likely, adding two teams and going to a 4x4 division structure in each league - the Diamondbacks would form part of the talent pool.

We brushed against this topic a little while ago, when we discussed the Rule 29 “disaster draft”, that would take place in the event of something like the Chapecoense plane crash, involving an MLB team. But I was emailed recently by Will, a high school senior who is doing a simulated MLB expansion draft. He wanted the SnakePit’s help: “The problem I ran into was in creating protected lists and serving as an expansion GM, as I couldn't really make these without compromising the integrity of the project by unconsciously favoring either the existing teams or the expansion ones”. So, he wants us to come up with the protected list for the D-backs.

Given the following guidelines, which players would you protect if you ran your team?

  • I’m presuming the structure would be similar to that 1997 draft, adjusted slightly for there now being 30 existing teams rather than 28. So, there would be three rounds. In the first two rounds, each of the two expansion teams would get 15 picks, but no more than one from each club. In the third round, each would get five picks, again no more than one from each club, for a total roster of 35. 10 of the existing teams would lose three players, the other 20 losing two apiece.
  • All players with no trade clauses must be protected - for the D-Backs, that’s only Zack Greinke.
  • 15 players, including Greinke, are protected for the first round.
  • Before the second and third round, four more can be protected by each team.
  • Any player drafted before 2015 or signed internationally before 2014 is eligible. Notable D-Backs exempt prospects would include J Chisholm, T Clarke, J Duplantier, A Grier, A Young, and C Taylor.

Who would I protect?

Obviously, I concentrated on players who are likely long-term pieces for the D-backs. With that value an important consideration, I largely abandoned relief pitchers - sorry, bullpen guys - due to their volatility and relatively low impact. Also not on my list: Yasmany Tomas. I think his deal makes him an unlikely pick, since he’s still currently only playing at replacement level. If Greinke wasn’t auto-protected, I’d be inclined to leave him off as well: the $34 million freed up by someone taking him would likely be a bigger benefit to the team than the problem of replacing him. Here are my lists, each in alphabetical order.

Round 1
  • Nick Ahmed
  • Anthony Banda
  • Archie Bradley
  • Socrates Brito
  • Patrick Corbin
  • Brandon Drury
  • Paul Goldschmidt
  • Zack Greinke
  • Jake Lamb
  • Chris Owings
  • David Peralta
  • A.J. Pollock
  • Robbie Ray
  • Braden Shipley
  • Taijuan Walker
Round 2
  • Domingo Leyba
  • Dawel Lugo
  • Ketel Marte
  • Cody Reed
Round 3
  • Zack Godley
  • Victor Reyes
  • Ildemaro Vargas
  • Marcus Wilson

Please offer your selections in the comments below, along with any appropriate explanations of choices and/or omissions.