Thursday is the final day of the Winter Meetings, which concludes with the Rule 5 draft.
Happy final day of the Winter Meetings, San Diego Padres fans. The Major League Baseball Rule 5 draft has become fairly prominent with many fans across the baseball world, especially as the obsession with prospects and minor league baseball increases. There aren’t any cameras or tv time for Thursday’s draft, however, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this draft could be a career-changing moment for at least one current minor league ballplayer.
Andrew Simon of MLB.com provided a great read on the history of the Rule 5 draft, including the few yet impactful success stories over the years (Odubel Herrera, R.A. Dickey, etc) and the team over at MLB Pipeline released their list of 30 intriguing names available in today’s draft, so we won’t go into who is available or discuss any sort of ranking, seeing as the Padres won’t be active.
Since the Padres currently have a full 40-man roster, San Diego will not have a selection in this year’s major league phase of the draft. However, the team could make selections in the minor league phase of the draft, held immediately after the major league phase.
The Rule 5 draft begins at 9 am PST.
What today’s draft could mean for San Diego Padres fan is that one or two current minor league players find homes with new teams. General manager AJ Preller worked his magic to protect seven top Padres prospect from the draft (Chris Paddack, Anderson Espinoza, Ty France, Edward Olivares, Austin Allen, Pedro Avila, and Gerardo Reyes) but with a farm system as deep as the Padres’, you can’t protect everyone.
The most intriguing San Diego Padres players left unprotected.
Who is at risk for being selected? The top choice is likely outfielder Michael Gettys. Gettys is currently playing in the Australian Baseball League, leading the way with six home runs, a .778 slugging percentage, and a 1.186 OPS.
Over the past two seasons with High-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio, Gettys has 32 home runs and 39 stolen bases, highlighting the power and speed combo he possesses. There are red flags with his bat, including a .230 average and .290 OBP in AA and strikeout rates of 37% and 34% in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Teams looking for higher upside players they can possibly select and stash include Hansel Rodriguez and his fastball/slider combo and Emmanuel Ramirez who struck out 136 in 115 innings across four minor league levels. Rodriguez had a solid 2017 campaign in the Midwest League, limiting hitters to a .224 average and posting a 1.19 WHIP across 90 innings. He also converted 10 of his 12 save opportunities.
Another intriguing player that has been left unprotected is 6’8″ RHP Trevor Megill who struck out 32 and walked just one in 19 innings with A+ Lake Elsinore. His repertoire is highlighted by a big curveball and upper-90s fastball.
Lastly, 25-year-old LHP Travis Radke could draw the eye of a franchise. Across four levels of the minors, Radke pitched to a 1.94 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 78 innings. Opponents hit just .196 against him and he converted 16 of 19 save opportunities. Radke continued his big season with a dominant performance in the Arizona Fall League this fall. He surrendered five earned runs on 15 hits across 16 innings, striking out 17 along the way.
Recently acquired Jason Vosler is also a name to keep an eye on. Vosler was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for relief pitcher Rowan Wick as the Padres made space for the seven prospects they added to the 40-man roster a few weeks ago. The left-handed infielder seems to have tapped into his power, hitting 44 in the past two years.