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Hot on the heels of the Winter Meetings, The Rule 5 Draft takes place today, wherein teams can raid their competitors' systems of unprotected players and hope their competitors don't do the same to them. Last year, Toronto took advantage of the Allard Baird regime in Kansas City and swiped Corey Thurman. This year? We'll know by this afternoon what JP's talent hounds can do for an encore. On the minus side, the Blue Jays might lose at least a couple of lower-minors pitchers with impressive 2002 numbers, Matt Ford and Neomar Flores. Cross your fingers and we'll see how it all shakes out.
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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Geoff North - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 11:10 AM EST (#101092) #
Is there a limit to how many players a team can lose? Or take (more unlikely for teams to take many I know, because of the roster hell the team would have)?
_Jordan - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 11:31 AM EST (#101093) #
The major-league portion of the draft is already complete, and our friends in the Blue Jays front office have been busy. They've acquired a remarkable three players and lost one, the afore-mentioned Matt Ford. Here's who they've picked up:

1. Aquilino Lopez, RHP, Seattle
2. Gary Majewski, RHP, ChiSox
3. Jason DuBois, OF, ChiCubs

Marshal MacDougal, the fellow Kent eyeballed as a possible Rule 5 acquisition, was taken by the Rangers from Cleveland three spots before Toronto. But check out who the Reds took with their first-round choice:

1. Luke Prokopec, RHP, LA

What's up with that? I thought the Dodgers had signed the Aussie to a two-year contract? Something odd afoot there.

I'll check in later with some more info on the guys the Blue Jays chose today.
_Jordan - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 11:32 AM EST (#101094) #
Geoff, there are three rounds to the ML draft, but I think that's the only limit on how many guys you can lose. You can keep choosing players until your 40-man is full; teams with full 40-man rosters can't participate.
Coach - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 11:41 AM EST (#101095) #
You know those moments when you're amazed by your own cleverness? Me neither. But it just popped into my head that one of those guys Toronto picked might be off to the west coast for John-Ford Griffin.
Craig B - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:10 PM EST (#101096) #
Coach, while I think that's possible, the A's would lose that player if he were not kept on the ML roster all year, and I doubt they would trade a Rule 5 pick for Griffin.

What probably happened, is that one or more of the players to be traded between Oakland and Toronto is eligible for the Rule 5 draft, either the major leauge or one of the minor league phases. As a result, the Jays and A's decided to make this deal separately, so as not to upset the whole applecart in case some (relatively) unimportant minor leaguer gets chosen in the Rule 5.

Also, remember that minor league rosters are frozen until the Rule 5 is complete. So you can't announce a trade of minor leaguer-for-minor leaguer, since it would have to be a PTBNL for a PTBNL. That would make an awfully funny trade announcement.
Craig B - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:15 PM EST (#101097) #
Also, ESPN is reporting that the Reds picked up Kenneth Prokopec, Luke's younger brother, which would settle that little confusion.
_Jordan - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:28 PM EST (#101098) #
Okay, I sure do like what I'm seeing so far. Here are the stats on the guys the Jays took:

1. Aquilino Lopez, Tacoma (AAA)
4-4, 2.39, 34 G, 11 GS, 5 SV, 109 IP, 89 H, 27 BB, 103 K
So what were the Mariners thinking, leaving this guy unprotected? Probably they were down on him after he aged no fewer than five(!) years during last winter's AgeGate. Instead of coming into this world in July 1980, Lopez entered this mortal coil in April 1975, turning him from a prospect into a suspect. But I see nothing wrong with a 28-year-old with AAA experience and a 4/1 K/BB ratio. He's a whip-thin piece of work, listed as 6'3", 165, and I'm guessing he's not cut out for starting assignments. But he could be a very useful part of the bullpen this year.

2. Gary Majewski, Birmingham (AA)
5-3, 2.65, 57 G, 1 GS, 75 IP, 51 H, 34 BB, 75 K
Unlike Lopez, Majewski is still a prospect at 22. You might recognize his name: he was dealt to the ChiSox by LA as part of the James Baldwin trade a year or so ago -- which was odd, because the Dodgers originally obtained him from the ChiSox in the Antonio Osuna deal. Weird. Anyway, Majewski struggled somewhat at A ball in 2001, but bounced back to assemble the fine season you see above. He's been used as a reliever recently, but he has had success as a minor-league starter, so it's possible he may be tried in that role eventually. I look at this guy and see Corey Thurman v. 2.0

3. Jason Dubois, Daytona (High-A)
351 AB, .321/.422/.562, 20 HR, 85 RBI, 57 BB, 95 K, .352 EqA, .263 MLEqA
Lemme tell you, a .984 OPS, no matter where it's posted, will get my attention in a hurry. And a 6'5", 225 lb. guy who walks 57 times in 351 AB has simply amazing plate discipline with a strike zone that size. A Florida State League All-Star this past season, he had a fine season in the Midwest League in 2001 after missing 2000 with an injury: this was just his second season of pro ball, after being drafted in the 14th round out of Virigina Commonwealth. This guy is big, he hammers the ball and he's exciting. Unlike previous Rule 5 outfielder DeWayne Wise, who was a toolsy guy unable to contribute, I can see Dubois as a useful bench player and 5th, or maybe even 4th outfielder.

It wasn't fun losing Matt Ford, but these three guys more than help make up for it. I don't know if they'll keep all three on the ML roster all year -- Kent's idea about dealing one for Griffin is intriguing -- but I sure would like to see all these guys in Blue Jays uniforms. My initial assessment is a very positive one: nicely done by JP and friends.
Craig B - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:43 PM EST (#101099) #
I don't know if they'll keep all three on the ML roster all year

If they do, this team is in much much worse shape than I thought.

Rule 5 picks are a gamble, only a couple each year actually make it to the end. I could see one of these guys managing to stick all year pretty easily, though. Most Rule 5 players get sent back by the third week of spring training, but sometimes a team works out a deal and trades for the player so he can go to the minors.

I really like the pitcher picks, guys who have been converted to relief and had success there. Lopez and Majewski should both get a fair shot to stick, but I would think only one will make it.
_dp - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:46 PM EST (#101100) #
How old is Dubois? I don't see these 3 sticking all season. Dubois is a corner guy I assume. I'd rather see him get some AB than rot on the bench; if he can play RF than maybe he and Werth share time there with Cruz dealt at some point. The jump to ML ball is huge though; hopefully this won't ruin him like it did to Wise.

Anyone have a prediction for Thurman this year? Is he AAA bound or can he pitch his way onto the team in the spring? I really liked this guy last year, and the Jays were smart to not throw him right into the rotation when arms were falling off around him. JP looks like he knows how to use the Rule V- and Scott Wiggins is still a Jay, correct? Escobar should be in the rotation or off the team by spring.
_Kent - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:49 PM EST (#101101) #
Jordan, thanks for doing the legwork. I lived in Florida long enough to attend hundreds of FSL games, and it's an extreme pitcher's league -- I remember an early-90's, big, grinning young Dunedin catcher very well, and Dubois' numbers are Delgado-esque.

He was third in the league in HR and RBI, not far behind Rangers' uber-prospect Laynce Nix, and fourth in AVG (the Jays' Dominic Rich led the league, while Alexis Rios was fifth.)

Good call on Majewski following in Thurman's footsteps, possibly in the exact same pattern: long man in the AL pen for a year, then a AAA starter once his Rule 5 penance is served, then who knows?

Craig, when you're my age and you get a new idea, you're reluctant to part with it. It may not be announced today, or this week, but I confidently predict Aquilino Lopez, whose stats indicate he won't hurt the A's bullpen, will be "traded" for JFG, in a side deal that actually completes yesterday's transaction, meaning JPR will end up with both guys he wanted for Lopez. Creative and very satisfactory.
_Kent - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:59 PM EST (#101102) #
dp, thanks for pointing out that the Jays didn't lose Scott Wiggins, who remains a possibility to beat out Jason Kershner in the spring for a big-league job, but at worst is decent AAA insurance. I'm almost certain they will let Thurman, Chulk, Smith, the new veterans (Linton, Towers, Thomas) and eventually Arnold show what they can do in a vastly improved and highly competitive Syracuse rotation, and the QEW shuffle won't be an act of desperation any more.

Anyone reading this from upstate NY is advised to get season's tickets and enjoy the Sky Chiefs' IL pennant race. The system's added depth and the great young talent from the 2002 draft will make New Haven and Dunedin fans happy, too.
_Jordan - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 01:01 PM EST (#101103) #
dp, Dubois is indeed a right fielder, and he'll be 24 Opening Day (born March 1979). In 2001, BTW, he went .296-24-92, but posted a 46/120 BB/K ratio -- it's amazing to see him turn those numbers aorund so quickly. Apparently he has a pretty good outfield arm too.

I agree that they won't keep all three, but I like the idea of working out a deal with their parent clubs. I'd like to see all these guys develop further in the Jays' system.
_R Billie - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 01:09 PM EST (#101104) #
Dubois will be 24 years old in March 2003. He's listed at 6'4 200 according to the official Cubs site. If it is only his second pro-season then that's pretty darn good performance at high-A. Though his age mitigates his accomplishment somewhat I'd like to see Toronto keep him somehow and see what he can do.

As for the other two guys, I suspect Lopez could make the team and be for real. Despite his age, he put up his numbers in the hitter oriented PCL...and 109 good innings there with a ton of strikeouts is a good accomplishment.

The guy the Jays really wanted was Buddy Hernandez who was taken third overall by the Padres. Hernandez put up some unreal numbers for the Braves' AA team and is still prospect age. (4-0, 1.22 era, 59 innings, 36 hits, 0 homers, 23 bb, 81 k)

It would be nice if Mejusky made the team's plausible that both could since Thurman and Cassidy may not be on the big league roster this year and Escobar may yet be traded.
Coach - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 01:24 PM EST (#101105) #
When considering age/performance with prospects, shouldn't a college player be given some leeway compared to a kid signed out of high school or from another country? Especially, it seems to me, with pitchers. There are many paths to big-league success, but I'd prefer my son the pitcher, a lefty with a scary curve and slider, to follow the Tom Seaver-Mark Prior route than to play four years of rookie and low-A ball before learning his fastball is three feet short. J.P. & Co. seem to agree, based on their first amateur draft.

Googling Dubois, I discovered he was on the DL and sat out the FSL all-star game, but whatever the injury was, he returned to finish the season strong. And he's a righty batter, so a platoon with Werth is a very possible option after the inevitable Cruz trade.
_Jordan - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 02:40 PM EST (#101106) #
The guy the Jays really wanted was Buddy Hernandez who was taken third overall by the Padres. Hernandez put up some unreal numbers for the Braves' AA team and is still prospect age. (4-0, 1.22 era, 59 innings, 36 hits, 0 homers, 23 bb, 81 k).

That makes this latest news not the least bit surprising, from

Buddy Hernandez, a right-handed pitcher initially selected by San Diego from the Atlanta Braves, was sent to Oakland in return for infielder/outfielder Jose Flores.

There's just no stopping the Beane Macheane. Maybe JP will somehow manage to acquire Griffin and Hernandez later today, for Cruz and A. Lopez....
Coach - Tuesday, December 17 2002 @ 03:36 PM EST (#101107) #
Here's ESPN minor-league expert John Sickels on the top Rule 5 picks.
_Jordan - Tuesday, December 17 2002 @ 04:28 PM EST (#101108) #
Nice to see Sickels is a Lopez fan too. I'm more and more convinced the Jays have two reasonable middle-relief pitchers on their hands. Right now, the bullpen could shape up comme cela:

Escobar (CL, RH)
Politte (S, RH)
Tam (RH)
Bowles (RH)
Lopez (RH)
Majewski (RH)
Creek (LH)
Kershner (LH)

If either of the Rule 5 guys doesn't stick, the team could still rummage around in a bin containing possiblities like Bob File (if recovered), Chad Ricketts (ditto), Mike Smith, Scott Cassidy or Scott Wiggins. You could deal Escobar, save a few million bucks and possibly end up with a better bullpen at a bargain price.

BTW, I love Sickels' take on Prokopec: "Chance to stick: Very good. Chance to do something interesting: Zero."
Coach - Tuesday, December 17 2002 @ 05:35 PM EST (#101109) #
One too many righties in your pen, Jordan. That would be 13 pitchers, which kills the bench. Bowles isn't automatic, as a finalist for fifth starter (Linton, Walker -- what is Pete's status, anyway? -- or Towers) would be a very good choice as a swing man, and unless they do something creative, I'm imagining only one of the Rule 5 pitchers sticks as the long/mopup guy, and the other gets offered back to his former team.
_Jordan - Tuesday, December 17 2002 @ 05:39 PM EST (#101110) #
One too many righties in your pen, Jordan.

Oh, yeah. Well, if it's only going to be one of Lopez or Majewski, the odds have to favour the guy with AAA experience. But spring training may tell the tale.
Coach - Wednesday, December 18 2002 @ 05:37 PM EST (#101111) #
Here's another analysis of the Rule 5 draft, from Joe Dimino at Baseball Primer, who thinks the A's cleaned up and the Blue Jays did well.
Coach - Thursday, December 19 2002 @ 02:28 PM EST (#101112) #
Quick update on new Jay Aquilino Lopez -- he's struck out 51 and walked just 11, with a mere 34 hits in 46 1/3 IP for the Cibao team in the Dominican winter league. Who cares how old he is?
Rule 5 Day | 21 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.