2019 Rule 5 Draft Recap

Jonathan Arauz - photo credit Greg Bessette on Flickr

Draft Day has come and gone! Sorry, Rule 5 Draft Day… didn’t mean to oversell it. While it’s not quite as exciting as the MLB Draft, the Rule 5 Draft does give us some player movement with immediate meaning. Obviously, we’re not talking about top tier prospects here, but we are looking at players that MLB teams believe can spend the entire 2020 season on their MLB roster. For more info on how the draft works and which players are eligible, here’s a link to MLB’s glossary.


Names to Know from the MLB Phase:

1st Round:
1. Tigers: RHP Rony Garcia (Yankees)
Garcia is 22-years-old and spent the majority of 2019 at AA Trenton. He was effective but not outstanding, striking out a batter per inning with a 4.44 ERA in 105 ⅓ innings. What makes him interesting is that his stuff is said to have ticked up, the fastball touching 95 while sitting 91-94 with good spin, per FanGraphs.

With a plus fastball and curve, Garcia has a chance to remain a starter if he can develop a 3rd pitch (currently a 40 FV). It will be interesting to see if Detroit throws him into the flames right away in their rotation or if they decide to ease him in from the bullpen since Garcia has yet to throw a pitch above AA in his career. He’s worth a flier at the end of your roster if you’re rebuilding.

2. Orioles: RHP Brandon Bailey (Astros)
At 5’10”, 175 lbs, Bailey doesn’t have the prototypical starter frame, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in spin rate. The former 6th round pick (2016) trained at Driveline in college and received the Houston pitcher development treatment. It’s not surprising that the Orioles, with former Astros in the front office, would target a Houston player here. He features a low 90s fastball that touches 96, plus change and an average slider/cutter. 

Bailey repeated AA in 2019 and was quite good (3.30 ERA, 26.7% K%), but is also 24 years old. FanGraphs views his most likely outcome as a multi-inning pen guy, so it’s probably best to take a wait and see approach from a fantasy standpoint.

Bailey ranked 38th in our Astros Midseason Top 50.

3. Marlins: RHP Sterling Sharp (Nationals)
Sensing a trend yet? Sharp is long, lean, and athletic. You may remember him as an Arizona Fall League Player of the Week a couple of times this fall. Sharp is more of a ground and pound kind of pitcher (63% GB rate) than strikeout artist (21% K%) due to his low 90s velocity and good sink. You’re hoping for a back of the rotation innings eater with decent ratios here, but we should know by the end of 2020 considering Miami doesn’t have many other MLB options.

Sharp ranked 8th in our Nationals Midseason Top 50.


From this point on, most guys simply aren’t that interesting from a fantasy standpoint.  After all, they aren’t on 40-man rosters after 4-5 years of pro ball.

4. Royals: RHP Stephen Woods Jr. (Rays)
Woods Jr. has good stuff but walks the yard a bit (11.8% career BB%) and lost velo after missing 2018 with labrum surgery. Given that he only struck out 22.1% of batters as a 24-year-old in A+ ball, it’s safe to leave Woods Jr. on your watch list and not your roster.

6. Mariners: RHP Yohan Ramirez (Astros)
Ramirez is 6’4” and started touching 99 this summer, per FanGraphs, while K’ing guys up at a 31.3% clip. But, and there’s a huge but, he walked 18.3% of batters. It’s hard to see that playing at the major league level. Watch from a distance. It doesn’t matter how many guys you strike out if you walk in 3 runs in the meantime. 

12. Reds: OF Mark Payton (Athletics)
A 28-year-old, 5’8” outfielder who suddenly unlocked power this year. The odds that he cracks Cincinnati’s lineup are pretty slim, so the upside here is that he gets a chance during due to injury and catches lightning in a bottle for a short time. Maybe worth a bench spot for a competing team in a super deep league with a heavy Reds OF investment? Look I’m trying, okay? 

13. Giants: RHP Dany Jimenez (Blue Jays)
Jimenez is a 25-year-old hard-throwing reliever. The 34.3% K-rate is enticing. Maybe he’ll work his way into regular usage.

15. Phillies (traded to Athletics): SS Vimael Machin (Cubs)
Machin just turned 26 and posted a .109 ISO in AA this year with a .294 AVG and 8 SBs. Not fantasy relevant.

16. Cubs: RHP Trevor Megill (Padres)
A large (6’8”, 235), 26-year old right-handed reliever. Good K-rate (32.3% at AAA), but just topped more than 37 innings for the first time in his pro career.

17. Red Sox: SS Jonathan Arauz (Astros)
Arauz could actually be interesting. Probably grades better as a real player rather than fantasy due to his above-average glove, but he’s a young (21) switch-hitting middle infielder with potential for an above-average hit tool. Given his 97 wRC+ at AA this summer, it’s unlikely he makes an impact for the Sox in 2020, if he’s even able to stick with the team. Unless he grows into more power than expected, Arauz is probably an empty batting average guy who hits at the top of a lineup at his peak.

Arauz ranked 26th in our Astros Midseason Top 50.

2nd Round:
2. Orioles: RHP Michael Rucker (Cubs)
Middle relief prospect, who will turn 26 in April, who was selected in the 2nd round of the Rule 5 draft. I’m going to let you do the math on this one.

There might be a couple prospect names who stand out from the Triple-A Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, but we’re digging a lot deeper here.

1st Round

3. C Julian Leon – Marlins (from Angels)
11. SS Michael De Leon – Reds (from Rangers)
14. RHP Brock Stewart – Cubs (from Blue Jays)
15. RHP Raynel Espinal – Red Sox (from Yankees)

3rd Round
38. OF Vance Vizcaino – Cubs (from Rockies, a former Yard Goat!)

Joe Drake covers the Oakland A's and Eastern League for Prospects1500. During the day, he can be found working in grant accounting at Dartmouth College. Joe is a lifelong baseball fan and avid fantasy baseball player of 15+ years. While he enjoys all formats, he believes that nothing beats a good dynasty league. Despite being a born and raised Mainer, Joe is a diehard Cardinals fan, but, the Red Sox are his AL team.

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