The 2017 MLB Rule 5 Draft summary
1. Detroit Tigers select Victor Reyes, OF, Arizona
Slashed .292/.332/.399 at AA. Has good speed and can play all 3 OF positions. Profiles as a 4th OF. Has good bat to ball skills but low BB rate could hurt him against advanced pitching. 35 grade power should limit his fantasy appeal.
2. San Francisco Giants select Julian Fernandez, RHP, Colorado
Threw 58 IP in A ball, striking out 57 and walking 18. Has an electric fastball that hits triple digits. Needs to develop better feel for his offspeed pitches and refine his mechanics to succeed against big league hitters. With that being said, Giants bullpen is a mess and Fernandez could use his 80 grade fastball to earn work in high leverage situations.
3. Philadelphia Phillies select Nick Burdi, RHP, Minnesota
Phillies traded Burdi to Pittsburgh. Coming off Tommy John, Burdi probably wont be ready until mid season. Pirates can be patient with him and use the 60 day DL slot to roster him while he rehabs his elbow. When healthy, Burdi possess a 70 grade fastball and slider. His command was spotty before he was injured, so beware. With TJ, command is the last piece of a pitcher’s arsenal to return. Despite that, Burdi is worth a roster spot in dynasty leagues that use Holds with a look to 2019 for premium bullpen production.
4. Chicago White Sox select Carlos Tocci, OF, Philadelphia
Chicago traded Tocci to Texas. Slashed .294/.346/.381 at AA/AAA. Possesses a below average hit tool and power. 60 grade speed and throw make him a candidate to stick with the Rangers in a 4th or 5th OF role. Low OBP skills will limit his ability to provide adequate SB to roster in fantasy.
5. Cincinnati Reds select Brad Keller, RHP, Arizona
Traded to Kansas City. Posted a 4.68 ERA in 130.2 IP at AA with 7.65 K/9 and 3.93 BB/9. Could be used in KC as a long reliever or swing man. Provides no fantasy value.
6. New York Mets select Burch Smith, RHP, Tampa Bay
Traded to Kansas City. Returned this season from Tommy John and threw 56 IP striking out 56. Was even better in the Arizona Fall League, pitching 20.1 innings while striking out 29 batters. His 29 K’s were second to Max Fried‘s 32. Like most guys coming back from TJ, Smith struggled with his command. The Royals could use him as a 5th starter or in the bullpen to replace the loss of Mike Minor and Peter Moylan. He is worth a roster spot in deep 20+ team fantasy leagues.
7. Atlanta Braves select Anyelo Gomez, RHP, NY Yankees
The first of New York’s talented pitchers to go, Gomez pitched across 3 levels, tallying 70 IP, 1.97 ERA, and a 87 K’s. His stuff plays in MLB bullpens and should stick in Atlanta throughout the season. He has the talent to work his way into a 7th or 8th inning role and could be a valuable source of Holds.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates select Jordan Milbrath, RHP, Cleveland
Milbrath struck out 63 batters in 57 IP between stops in A and AA. Has seen his K rate improve since being moved to the bullpen but his command is an issue, walking 25 guys in those 57 IP. Could be a useful fantasy piece in leagues that use Holds IF he can sort out his command.
9. Baltimore Orioles select Nestor Cortes, LHP, NY Yankees
Cortes pitched in 39 games, making 13 starts, covering 105 IP. Despite possessing a FB that doesn’t touch 90 mph, Cortes uses superb command and pitchability to the tune of a .190 avg against in AA and .219 in AAA. Simply put, guys just don’t seem to square him up. Has only 17 HR in 324 career IP. He is worth a flyer in deep fantasy leagues.
10. Miami Marlins select Elieser Hernandez, RHP, Houston
73 strikeouts in 63 IP in A ball. The Marlins will be playing for the number 1 pick in the draft as they subject fans to another rebuild. Hernandez could be a useful bullpen piece. Showed good improvement in command from 2016 to 17.
11. Seattle Mariners select Mike Ford, 1B, NY Yankees
Good under the radar bat that should provide Seattle with some lefty pop off the bench. Hit 20 HR between AA/AAA with 7 HR coming in 25 AAA games. Has above average OBP skills, walking more than he strikesout. Is worth a flier in deep leagues. If he gets regular playing time, could be worth an add in leagues that use OBP instead of average.
12. Los Angeles Angels select Luke Bard, RHP, Minnesota
Boasts elite strike out potential and fits well in an Angels bullpen that is desperate for high octane gas. Bard struck out 99 hitters in 65 IP. Definitely is a must add if you’re league uses Holds. The fact that he is going to a team that used Bud Norris is the closer is a good sign that Bard could get used in high leverage situations.
13. Minnesota Twins select Tyler Kinley, RHP, Miami
This pick is a bit of a head scratcher. Minnesota left Bard and Burdi unprotected and chose Kinley, who can hit triple digits but doesn’t have the secondary pitches that Bard and Burdi possess. Struck out 72 in 53 IP at A/AA.
14. Arizona Diamondbacks select Albert Suarez, RHP, San Francisco
Pitched in 31 innings for the big league club in 2017 striking out 34. Stuff plays up in the pen but has the ability to be a 5th starter. Commands 4 pitches with his FB sitting at 93 mph. Could be used similar to how the DBacks used Randall Delgado in 2016. Worth a streamer if he gets a chance to start.
15. Houston Astros select Anthony Gose, LHP, Detroit
The converted OF, who played over 1,000 games at the MLB level, has hit 98 with his fastball but lacks the command to challenge big league hitters. Only threw 11 innings in 2017 in High A. Houston could be looking to catch lightning in a bottle. Worth keeping an eye on.
Baltimore Orioles select Pedro Araujo, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Posted 11.55 K/9 in 65 IP in High A. Should stick in the Baltimore pen and could earn a shot in high leverage situations due to his ability to throw strikes.
Miami Marlins select Brett Graves, RHP, Oakland
56 IP between A/AA making 10 starts. Stuff should play up in a bullpen role.
Baltimore Orioles select Jose Mesa, Jr. RHP, NY Yankees
Pitched at A/AA in the Yankees loaded system. Posted a stellar 1.93 ERA with 101 K’s in 84 IP. Started 5 of 8 games after promotion to AA. High octane arm with a FB that sits in the mid 90’s.
Jason Woodell has written about prospects for numerous sites. He got his start with Prospects1500 and has provided reports on prospects for Baseball Prospectus, 2080 Baseball, and Pinstriped Prospects. Jason is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and former model in Jordan. He lives in Tampa, likes dogs, craft beer, and his wife…not necessarily in that order.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonAtTheGame.
Jason, what’s your take on Luke Tendler? I see the Red Sox selected him in the AAA Phase Round 2. I’m also a little intrigued with the White Sox selection of C Yermin Mercedes 2nd in AAA Phase Round 1. Thoughts on him too? He was a decent hitting catcher in the Baltimore organization and had a pretty decent MILB power ranking based on his 2016 numbers.