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Rule 5 Draft Season

By Ed Botti

November 27, 2022

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It’s that time of the year again, Rule 5 Draft season. For us Baseball Junkies, its one step closer to next year!


Each year I always get a little anxious and nervous at the same time, wondering who will be exposed to the draft and if the Yankees will lose a quality player.


We read about the prospects, we may even have seen a couple play during the prior summer in the minors, and in doing so, we arrive at our own anticipated projections for each.


What exactly is the Rule 5 Draft?


In simply terms it is a draft that provides an opportunity for teams across the league to fill out their 40-man rosters by selecting prospects from other teams that are not part of their current team’s 40-man rosters.


For some players stuck in the minors it is a welcome day, they just may get a shot in the show.


Just like the Rule 4 Draft (amateur draft), the selection order of the teams is established by each team's won-loss record from the prior regular season. Teams may decide not to select a player with their pick, passing to the next team in the queue.


The clock is ticking as teams have to decide who will be on their 40-man rosters. Prospects that do not make the cut will be eligible to be taken by the other 29 teams.


Who is eligible?


Players that were signed at age 18 or younger will need to be added to their team’s 40-Man roster within five seasons or they will become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.


Players who signed at age 19 or older need to be protected within four seasons.”


“Protected” basically means that a player is added to their team’s 40-man roster, which removes them from the Rule 5 Draft pool of eligible players.


If a player is selected in the Rule 5 draft, he must be kept on the selecting team's 26-man major league roster for the entire season that follows the draft. He cannot be optioned to the minors at all.


The selecting team may, at any time, waive the player. If a Rule 5 draftee clears waivers by not signing with a new team, he must be offered back to the original team.


If a Rule 5 drafted player sticks with his new team for the entire season, his status reverts to “normal” and he than can be optioned or designated for assignment.


Roster management is a tricky game. Many moves are made with the intent of creating roster space.


This year, the Yankees only have one open spot on the 40-man roster, as of today.


As it is every year, all 30 teams had challenging decisions to make about who to protect, and each have at least one interesting option the other 29 teams might want to consider when the Draft starts.


The Rule 5 Draft is set for December 7 at the 2022 MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego. The first time the draft will be held in person since 2019.


The Yankees’ 40-man roster is currently set at 39 players.


The Yankees left a number of interesting Rule 5-eligible prospects unprotected. The unprotected list includes catchers Josh Breaux and Anthony Seigler, pitchers Matt Sauer and Zach Green and infielders Andres Chaparro and Jesus Bastidas.


Earlier this month the Yankees added righties Jhony Brito, Matt Krook and Jimmy Cordero to the 40-man roster to prevent them from becoming minor-league free agents. Brito and Krook were also Rule 5-eligible.


Those moves were followed up by the Yankees adding righty Randy Vasquez to the 40-man roster.


If history is any indication, Pitchers are a more common Rule 5 Draft target.


There probably are others that the Yankee brain trust might protect that aren’t on this list, and the Yankees can also make roster moves to provide roster space for these prospects and others.


At the same time, The Yankees can also look to raid another team, and select a player from their system.


It really can be a crap shot, but there have been some great players left unprotected that ended up being signed by other teams.


Below are some exceptional players that were selected in the Rule 5 Draft in previous years.


Photo: The Sporting News


· Roberto Clemente, 1954 Hard to believe the Dodgers let him get away.

· George Bell, 1980 Picked by the Blue Jays, from the Phillies

· Josh Hamilton, 2006 Picked by the Cubs from the Devil Rays.

· Johan Santana, 1999 Picked by the Marlins, from the Astros

· Jose Bautista, 2003 Picked by the Orioles, from the Pirates

· Paul Blair, 1962 Picked by the Orioles from the Mets

· Jeff Nelson, 1986 Picked by the Mariners from the Dodgers

· Darrell Evans, 1968 Picked by the Braves from the A’s.


As you can see, some gems can be found and lost in this draft.


It will be interesting to see what Mr. Cashman decides to do in the next week.


Let the anxiety begin….

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