There are many little-known rules and intricacies surrounding the Rule 5 Draft. At the core though, these are [mostly young] players whom have been uprooted from a normal developmental curve, and then thrown into a situation where they will be forced into a roster slot at the highest level in baseball, or dangling with their career path in limbo as multiple teams try and find a way to get them back in the minors where they belong.
With any hitter taken in the Rule 5, there most likely has to be a present contact-hitting skill, speed or defense in some combination in order for there to be any likelihood of that player sticking around on the big league bench for any significant stretch of time. Because that’s what these players are right now, bench players who really could use more minor league seasoning. Also the whole “power potential with whiff tendencies” doesn’t tend to play up in short spurts after an unnaturally accelerated path to the big leagues. With all this in mind…
Josh Rutledge, INF (drafted by Red Sox from Rockies)
Rutledge is not like the other names on this list because he is already 27, has been around the block at the MLB level, and he hasn’t shown up on prospect lists since 2011. Plus, he has the weird stigma of having played around the infield for Boston last season, then outrighted after the season, choosing Free Agency, signing a minor league deal with Colorado only to return to Boston through the Rule 5 Draft. So Boston knows what they have here, he is a viable MLB bench piece, and if any of Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, or Pablo Sandoval get hurt for any period of time, the streaky-hitting Rutledge stands to see substantial fill-in duty. This was definitely an interesting pick.
Chances of making …Spring Training: 85% …Opening Day: 65% …2016 Fantasy Impact: 15%
Stuart Turner, C (drafted by Reds from Twins)
A former third round pick by the Minnesota Twins, Turner will now be given a chance to compete for backup catching duties, which he should be defensively capable of. The problem is that the Reds already have a backup who can field the position and swing the bat (something Turner has yet to show he can do ably) in Tucker Barnhart. The Reds could trade Barnhart (unlikely) or be forced to start the year with starter Devin Mesoraco on the DL (more likely) but they will probably end up sending Turner back to Minnesota, or work out a trade so he can split time in AAA with recently acquired Juan Graterol.
Chances of making …Spring Training: 75% …Opening Day: 30% …2016 Fantasy Impact: 5%
Aneury Tavarez, OF (drafted by Orioles from Red Sox)
Tavarez checks all the boxes as a potential 5th outfield type for a major league club: footspeed, decent glovework, improving strikeout rates and a respectable OBP up the ladder. Currently the Orioles only have Hyun Soo Kim and Joey Rickard to man the corners in the outfield, although one could definitely see the competing Orioles signing a veteran with more experience to push Tavarez down the depth chart. But they have had success with other Rule 5 picks Ryan Flaherty and the aforementioned Rickard in bench roles, so the door is open for a player like Tavarez to seize an opportunity here.
Chances of making …Spring Training: 90% …Opening Day: 55% …2016 Fantasy Impact: 25%
Anthony Santander, OF (drafted by Orioles from Indians)
Santander is most definitely a better prospect than Tavarez, but less likely to stick on a major league roster this year. Santander is a year and a half younger, was mostly relegated to left field last season, has yet to play at the AA level, and struck out at a 21.3% rate last year compared to Tavarez’ 15.6%. It is extremely doubtful that the Orioles would carry both of these players on the roster, and Santander is naturally the one they would much rather try and find a way to sneak into the minors for much-needed further development time.
Chances of making …Spring Training: 85% …Opening Day: 15% …2016 Fantasy Impact: 10%
Last week in Part One I covered the top two hitters taken in this year’s Rule 5: C Luis Torrens and INF Allen Cordoba, both of whom ended up on the Padres. Tomorrow I will finish up the series with Part Three, where I comment on the chances of all the remaining pitchers whom weren’t covered in Part One. I do apologize for the delay but I have been busy putting on my own Rule 5 Draft in the ultra-deep dynasty league I run in [all of] my spare time. If any of you are interested in seeing what it is all about, comment below. We should be in touch.