The Rule 5 Draft has arrived to the MLB offseason, and five prospects were added to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 40-man roster on Friday.
Players who signed at the age of 18 or younger must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other MLB organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons.
Arizona made some tough decisions on who to add to its 40-man roster, and below is a list of prospects who earned a spot.
Geraldo Perdomo: Age: 21 Position: Shortstop
Dominican Republic shortstop Geraldo Perdomo is the headline prospect added to the 40-man roster. Perdomo ranks No. 79 overall on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects List.
Perdomo has showcased advanced defensive skills to stick at shortstop long term. He has tremendous range and instincts to play the ball from the dirt. Each motion is fluid and there were very little hiccups to how he adjusted to the pros defensively. His smooth glove-to-hand transfers, arm strength and speed bode well to his bevy of athletic tools at his disposal.
While Perdomo’s defensive prowess has taken center stage, his offensive improvements shouldn’t be disregarded. He batted .275/.397/.364 between Single-A Kane County and High-A Visalia in 2019. A switch hitter, Perdomo has a quick bat and advanced approach for his age that has posted a career .411 on-base percentage. He waits for his pitch and attacks with a well-balanced swing that makes solid contact.
Perdomo hasn’t hit for double-digit home run power at any level, and that will limit his offensive ceiling. But his improvements to make more consistent contact and draw a high amount of walks makes him a pest on the basepaths. His speed and quickness translated to 26 stolen bases in 2019.
The Diamondbacks have taken their time to harness Perdomo’s well-rounded strengths, and it’s paid off to this point. Injuries kept him out of the D-backs’ instructional league matchups this season. He will likely start the year in Double-A or Triple-A given the state of Minor League Baseball next season, but it won’t take long for Perdomo to make his MLB debut in the near future.
Luis Frías: Age: 22 Position: Pitcher
Frías made huge strides in 2019 with short-season Hilsboro and Single-A Kane County, posting a 2.83 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 101 strikeouts in just 16 starts. The right-hander showcased electric velocity and glimpses of refined mechanics since signing with the Diamondbacks out of the Dominican Republic in 2015.
With the absence of Minor League Baseball last season, Frías didn’t generate much chatter at the team’s alternate training site or instructional league due to injury. A full healthy season can truly help him shine on the mound with his fastball and power breaking ball.
Frías continues to develop his changeup as a third pitch, which could ultimately unlock his role as a starter or reliever. He is a name to keep an eye on for next season, and it will be interesting to see where he begins the year.
Stuart Fairchild: Age: 24 Position: Outfielder
Stuart Fairchild was one of the players Arizona acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for closer Archie Bradley at the trade deadline this year. He played 109 games over two levels with High-A Daytona and Double-A Chattanooga last season.
A second round pick by the Reds out of Wake Forest in 2017, Fairchild was ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 11 Reds prospect. He now ranks as the D-backs No. 14 prospect in their system.
Fairchild has a disciplined approach at the plate. He finished 2019 with a .352 on-base percentage and drew 44 walks to 83 strikeouts. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, he has yet to tap into much power that clears the fences, but hit a career-high 12 homers and 29 doubles in 2019.
Despite his lack of home run power, Fairchild has solid tools across the board that can translate to the big leagues. He is a consistent hitter with a track record of getting on base, and his solid speed can fill in at all three outfield spots defensively.
Fairchild was a late addition to Arizona’s farm system, but his speed and hit tool can push him towards his MLB debut sooner than later.
J.B. Bukauskas- Age: 23 Position: Pitcher
J.B. Bukauskas was one one of four prospects involved in the 2019 Zack Grienke deal at the trade deadline. The right-hander was added to Arizona’s 60-player pool this season after posting a 5.44 ERA and 109 strikeouts over 92.2 innings with Double-A Corpus Christi and Double-A Jackson.
Houston selected Bukauskas No. 15 overall out of North Carolina in 2017, and his stuff has developed over the past three seasons. When at his best, he comes equipped with a four-pitch mix which includes a mid-90s fastball and a deceptive low-80s changeup against lefties. But he’s struggled with control and dips in velocity during the intrasquad scrimmages this season.
Bukauskas may be more suited for the bullpen given his command struggles and consistency concerns, but optimism remains he can refine his arsenal for a backend starter role.
Matt Peacock- Age: 26 Position: Pitcher
The Diamondback added another right-hander to their 40-man roster with Matt Peacock. He posted a 8-4 record and 2.97 ERA over 115.1 innings with Double-A Jackson in 2019.
A 23rd round pick out of Southern Alabama, Peacock lacks eye-popping stuff. But his consistent mechanics and command have helped his rise up the system. He throws a good amount of strikes and doesn’t leave many hangers in the zone.
Peacock likely fits the reliever role, and he could make his MLB debut with the Diamondbacks by next season. Arizona’s depleted bullpen could offer opportunities for young right-handers like Bukauskas and Peacock.
The D-backs 40-man roster had been at 37 before the moves. So to make room for the new arrivals on the 40-man roster, the Diamondbacks designated RHP Junior Guerra and RHP Joel Payamps for assignment. The former comes as a bit of a surprise, as he was among the most-used pitchers by Arizona this year; his 25 appearances was surpassed only by Stefan Crichton (26). Guerra’s option had been declined shortly after the World Series. He had a 3.04 ERA, though his FIP was more than a run higher, so it will be interesting to see if he makes it through waivers. Payamps appeared in two games, allowing one run over three innings.
In another roster move, infielder Domingo Leyba cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Reno. Taking his spot is a right-handed pitcher with an equally cool name, Rogelio Armenteros. He didn’t pitch this year due to elbow surgery, but made four starts for the Astros in 2019, putting up a 4.00 ERA over 18 innings. He’ll need to show he’s healthy first, but could potentially be in the mix for a rotation spot with Arizona next season.