Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rule 5 Preview - The day before total headscratching!

OK, now that we are hours away from the Rule 5 draft, let’s talk generalities and specifics.  From years of following this draft here is what I think you should expect tomorrow:

1.      There will be at least 2-3 guys selected that are complete surprises.   
2.      There will be a bunch of guys NOT selected that all the experts were convinced would be.
3.      There will be at least one trade where a team drafts a guy and trades him
4.      There will be at least one guy drafted from the Indians in the ML phase.   
5.      There will be at least one AAAA player-in-waiting drafted, maybe from the Indians
6.      No ‘expert’ top 10 list of Rule 5 draft targets will end up with all those players drafted.

We should all be aware at this point that NO ONE is an ‘expert’ on who will be picked in the Rule 5 draft.  Predicting what is going on in the heads of 3 organizations is almost impossible, let alone predicting what is going on in the heads of 30 organizations, all of whom have their own feelings on the Rule 5, the holes in their rosters and their own feelings on the strengths and weaknesses in their organization and outside to fill those holes.

So, no one really knows what is going to happen.

Knowing all this, let’s talk about the Indians who have a chance to be picked.  This is an update of my previous article Link before the 40 man rosters were finalized.

Elvis Araujo (LHSP/LOOGY) – This guy is a top 10 prospect for the Indians.(currently #5 on my list) Why would a team not take a chance on this guy of this prospect magnitude and gamble on hm functioning as a 25th man LOOGY this year?

Chances of getting picked: 60%
Chances of sticking in the majors all year: 30%
Rob Bryson (RHRP)
The Rule 5 is all very often about ‘what have you done for me lately’ and, lately, Bryson has been hurt or performed badly.

Chances of getting picked: 20%
Chances of sticking: 0%

Matt Langwell (Right-handed pitcher)
 While Langwell may look attractive on paper if you are an Indians’ fan, but he has no real outstanding tool that would separate him from 5 guys in each organization who might, with work, become ML middle relievers next year or the year after.  He looks like a fringe ML reliever at best now and those are NOT the middle relievers who usually get picked.

Chances of getting picked: 30%
Chances of sticking: 30%

T.J. McFarland (LHSP/LOOGY)
Following up on the ‘what have you done lately’ theme, McFarland is attractive.  I have not been able to find his minor league splits on lefty vs lefty but, if they are good, he has a good chance to be selected.  With a fastball that tops out at 88-90 (despite published reports to the contrary), he would have to be stashed as a LOOGY/mop-up guy for year.

Chances of being picked: 50%
Chances of sticking: 30%

Alexander Perez (RHSP)
 I see him as a possibility to be picked.  A team could stash him on their 60-dayy DL all year and then hold him until next year.  However, it depends on how he is pitching lately and teams haven’t had much of a chance to scout him so it would all depend on his health (records have to be provided before the draft on guys not protected). 

Chances of getting picked: 50%
Chances of sticking: 20%

Roberto Perez (Catcher)
Historically, backup catchers grow on trees.  Teams normally want a veteran presence at that position, even low level teams who have no realistic chance to compete.  Plus, Perez has enough holes in his game (particularly batting average) that he will most likely not be picked.  However, if a team picks him it is likely he will perform at the level they predict and so they are more likely to keep him.

Chances of getting picked: 20%
Chances of sticking: 40%
Bryan Price (RHRP)
See Matt Langwell

Bryce Stowell (RHRP)
Stowell is THE prototkype for a Rule 5 selection.  Guys who throw 100 mph are always given multiple chances.   If the medical records are good (the wild card that none of us are privy to) he is likely to get picked.  However, his control issues, not command, but control, mind you, make it unlikely he could perform this spring at a level that teams would be comfortable giving him a bullpen spot this season.

Chances of getting picked: 60%
Chances of sticking: 5%

Paolo Espino (RHRP/SP)
Espino gets no respect in this organization as a short righthander without an overwhelming fastball… but that does not mean he gets no respect outside of this organization.  His fall numbers don’t scream “PICK ME”.  However, he has a realistic chance of getting picked due to the versatility and resiliency in bouncing between relief and starting this year and his one start in the AAA playoffs on HUGE rest, meaning he probably wasn’t at his sharpest.

Chances of getting picked: 30%
Chances of sticking: 50%

Trevor Crowe (OF)
Teams may actually take a chance on Crowe who has some present value and some, but not a lot, of projectability.  Every year it seems that one team takes a chance on a guy like this, a guy who is one step away from being a AAAA player.

Chances of being picked: 30%
Chances of sticking: 50%

The Rest
Remember, the Indians have about 38 guys they can protect from the minor league portion of the draft.  Guys like Eric Berger, Steven Wright, Tim Fedroff, Bo Greenwell, Kyle Landis, Argenis Martinez, Beau Mills, Carlos Moncrief, Marty Popham, Francisco Jimenez,and Karoxen Sanchez will CLEARLY be protected on the AAA reserve list.  Also, these guys have enough warts in their games, are too far away from the majors or have skills that are so mundane in both quality and to what is looked for in positions normally drafted in the Rule 5, that they are not likely at all to get picked in the ML portion or, if picked, not likely at all to stick with the team that drafted them, meaning that they are likely to remain with the Indians. .

However, as big as the AAA reserve list is, you can’t or don’t necessarily want to protect all your Rule 5-eligible guys on it and so some will be exposed to the minor league portions where guys who are selected don’t have to be returned to the Indians.  Here is a list, without comment, of guys who the Indians might lose in the Rule 5 minor league phase. Not that they WILL lose anyone but, if they did, it is likely to be one or more of these guys.
Adam Abraham (3B/1B):  
 Delvi Cid (OF)  
Joey Mahalic (RHP
Doug Pickens (C)
Jeremie Tice (1B)
Donnie Webb (OF)

To end this article the same way I ended the previous one:

(a) This is the hardest draft to predict
(b) I am right more than most who predict this stuff but wrong A LOT more than I am right.  That is, I, along with everyone else that does is, am the antithesis of an ‘expert’ on what will happen in this or any Rule 5 draft.

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