Rule 5 Draft Preview

Wednesday, December 07 2005 @ 08:00 PM EST

Contributed by: Pistol

The Rule 5 draft will be held on Thursday, December 8th.

Each draftee costs $50,000. If the draftee does not stay on the drafting team's major league roster all season, they must be offered back to their original team at half-price. A good summary of the Rule 5 draft can be found here. Last year there were just twelve selections made, most notably Andy Sisco who pitched well for the Royals.

While Rule 5 draftees generally don't have a great impact on a team there's a few that fall between the cracks occasionally. Roberto Clemente was a Rule 5 pick and is the sole Rule 5'er to make the Hall of Fame. Four other player made at least one All Star appearance - Mike Morgan, Johan Santana and two Blue Jays, George Bell and Kelly Gruber. But even if you find a serviceable player it's more than a worthwhile investment.

In Baseball America's preview the only Blue Jay listed among 35 players that may be selected was Jamie Vermilyea who struggled in his first go around in AAA.

A few other possibilities come from the Syracuse and NH bullpens as Lee 'Lights Out' Gronkiewicz, Steve Andrade and Justin Miller all put up strong seasons and may be able to fill a bullpen role at the major league level.

Will the Jays select a pitcher in the Rule 5 draft? I highly doubt it, mostly because there's no room on the roster - both in terms of 40 man roster spots and bullpen spots. It's not like a few years ago where the Jays could take Corey Thurman and have him be a contributing member of the bullpen.

However, consider this scenario:

If the Jays could select a pitcher in the Rule 5 draft who will turn 23 in spring training and had a 3.35 ERA in 150 innings in the International League this season with 113 Ks and 35 BBs wouldn't you think they would take him?

Well, they wouldn't. Because that player is Chad Gaudin who the Jays took off their 40 man roster on Friday.

So if the Jays were to select a pitcher you'd think the threshold would have to be at least higher than that. And from what I've seen there isn't a pitcher that good available.

While I'd be surprised if the Jays took a pitcher there are a couple of right handed first basemen who I think could contribute, at least, as a DH or 1B against lefties.

The first is Ryan Mulhern, a 1B in the Indian organization. Mulhern played for South Alabama in college (and was a teammate of Adam Lind) and had an OBP and SLG over .400 and .600 respectively each year. He struggled a bit in his first full pro season in the Sally League, but crushed the ball this year, first in High A and then in AA in the Eastern League. The 6'2", 215 pound right hander recently turned 25.

Year	Team Name	Level	AB	Avg	Obp	Slg
2001	S Alabama	NCAA	212	0.349	0.416	0.613
2002	S Alabama	NCAA	225	0.351	0.410	0.667
2003	S Alabama	NCAA	230	0.335	0.400	0.713
2003	Mahoning Valley	A	229	0.279	0.340	0.463
2004	Lake County	A	372	0.255	0.319	0.392
2005	Kinston	        A	159	0.321	0.395	0.711
2005	Akron	        AA	244	0.311	0.386	0.594
Seeing that his 2005 numbers are in line with his college numbers makes me think this season wasn't a fluke.

Here's what BA had to say:

Breakout year in 2005 and is showing big power in the Dominican this winter, but doesn't command the zone well.

The second hitter I like is Brandon Sing, a 1B in the Cub organization. He started off slow, but picked it up the last two seasons taking home the FSL MVP in 2004 and following it up with another impressive season in AA. The right handed Sing is 6'5" and 215 pounds and will turn 25 in spring training.

Year	Team Name	Level	AB	Avg	Obp	Slg
2002	Daytona	        A	440	0.248	0.348	0.434
2003	Daytona	        A	136	0.235	0.318	0.368
2003	W Tennessee	AA	139	0.209	0.256	0.367
2004	Daytona	        A	408	0.270	0.399	0.571
2005	W Tennessee	AA	409	0.276	0.404	0.538
And again, here's what BA said:
Sing has big-time power but is a below-average defender limited to first base.

Of course, to be able to select a player in the Rule 5 draft you have to have a spot on the 40 man roster, so unless the Jays select free up some room between now and then it'll be a quiet event for the Jays.

Frequent Bauxite poster Marc took a look at players available from every team in a two part series. The AL version can be found here and the NL version can be found here.