Today's average baseball fan pays little attention to what goes on during the off season. Yes they might send out an occasional tweet or post on Facebook when a major deal happens, but not much focus is given to the minutia going on between the lines. One of the most mysterious happenings in the postseason world of baseball is the Rule 5 Draft. Just the mention of the phrase gives most people a cross-eyed look followed by a "what did you say?" In actuality the Rule 5 Draft is a facinating thing that has provided a lot of talent along with a second chance for many minor leaguers. My goal for this post is to not only briefly cover how the draft works but to also review the 2015 draft and select my "All Star Team" to follow during the 2016 season. This is baseball nerd stuff that I am hoping to make hip and cool for the average baseball fan.
First let's address this stupid name. It is named after the place in which it is found in the Major League Rules, not to be mistaken for the Rule 4 Draft that has come to be know as "The Draft" (the selection of first year players). VERY CREATIVE RIGHT?! I much prefer #winterdraft or possibly moving to more of an #internationaldraft. More people might pay attention to baseball and the post-season if we interjected a little creativity in the day-to-day operations. Oh well!
The Rule 5 Draft occurs every offseason in the winter. The goal of the draft is to prevent teams from stock piling young talent in the minors. If a team refuses to protect that prospect on their 40 man roster, then that player is eligible to be drafted by any team participating in the Rule 5 Draft. The draft happens just like the main "Draft", but if a team does not have an open spot on their 40 man roster then they cannot participate. When selected, a AAA player would cost $50,000 and the price then decreases the lower you go into the minors. The drafted player must be on that team's 25 man roster for the entire season and active for at least 90 days. You can't just put them on the disabled list all year. If at any point the drafted player is not on that roster, the player will be offered back to the team he was drafted from for half the price. I love it! It's a such a cool thing for baseball. A struggling team gets the opportunity to be improved by unused talent from another team. That team is reimbursed for that talent and can even get that player back with a profit if they are not used at their new club.
Let's take a look at a few names that have come from the Rule 5 Draft. I am sure you have all watched or heard of these all stars: Jose Bautista, George Bell, Bobby Bonilla, and Roberto Clemente to name a few. Or how about Hector Rondon, Randy Wells, or Wei-Chung Wang (a rookie leaguer that was Rule 5 drafted). One that you may not have known about was Russell Wilson. That's right, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. Snagged by the Texas Rangers in what some claimed to be a publicity stunt, has proven to be a good pick to not only for the game but to ballpark attendance as well.
With the 1st pick in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft, the Phillies selected Tyler Goeddel. He is a promising outfielder that should see a fair amount of time this year in their roster. Other notable picks are outfielders Jake Cave and Jabari Blash. Jake will fill the much needed role left by the trade of Marlon Byrd and Jabari's power could easily get him a starting role in the outfield for the Padres. You should also pay attention to anyone drafted by the Braves, Brewers or A's this year. With their struggling squads, a #rulefiver can find a long-term home. I really think the one to watch this season will be Luis Perdomo. We got to watch him this past season during our visit to the Peoria Chiefs. He has a fastball that tops out in the upper 90's and a pretty good slider to follow. He has a very good chance of making it into the Padres rotation.
Without further adeu, I would like to introduce my 2016 All Rule 5 Draft Team! These guys have talent and hope that their future with their new club is long and profitable. I hope to resist this post at the end of the season to see how many players actually accomplished their childhood dreams of playing in the BIGS! See you in the batter's box⚾️.