Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rule 5 - Comments on Indians' losses

OK, so I was 1 for 2.  

Major league phase:  The Indians lost none and gained none.  This draft is probably the most intriguing and puzzling thing in professional baseball.  Why certain players (like left Josh Smoker and Jordan Danks) don't get selected is interesting. 

While the major league phase is intriguing the minor league phases are usually just blah.  However, every once in a while they are head scratching.  Teams have 38 guys they can protect from the minor league portions of this draft.  That, plus the 40 on the major league roster, mean that they have 78 players they can protect...and that is just the players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft!  It would seem that you could and should be able to protect every guy who even has a sniff of making the majors, right?

But every once in a while a guy gets picked in the minor league phase who is a head-scratcher.  I don't know how often this happens as I am not deeply familiar with prospects from other teams but I remember in 2004 when the Indians left Keith Ramsey and Lee Gronkiewicz unprotected and they were taken.  Gronk, who was a very successful minor league reliever, eventually made the majors with his drafting team, Toronto.  Ramsey hasn't gotten there yet but was a very successful minor league starting pitcher when he was lost, and he was left-handed, to boot.  So, I scratched my head when that happened.

Same today with Maty Popham.  Really, after the trades and promotions we didn't have room for him on the AAA reserve list.  Really?  I have trouble believing that and Popham still has some helium in my opinion.  He was not a huge prospect and would have come in at 57 on my top 100 list this winter.  Still, not the kind of guy I like to lose in the MINOR league portion of the Rule 5.

Donnie Webb, on the other hand, is EXACTLY the kind of guy I would expect to lose.  Organizational soldier who has some skills that some team might take a flyer on AND the kind of guy the Indians would leave off the AAA reserve list as he really has little major league upside.

I don't know enough about the other teams and whether any of their minor league phase losses were as good or better than Popham but I know Popham was a surprise to me...and probably an unnecessary loss.  Not a big loss but, in Cleveland, any loss is a loss.

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