Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rondon and other Rule 5 thoughts

 Last fall I predicted before the Rule 5 draft that Hector Rondon would be the first selection in the ML portion of the Rule 5 draft and that he would stick with whatever club drafted him, be a more than just useful bullpen arm for them and not be returned to the Indians.

Well, I was wrong.  He was the SECOND player drafted!

However, he will stick with the Cubs, as predicted. 

Not that this prediction was a difficult one.  Rondon was trending towards being a good bullpen arm.

Will he have continued major league success?  Who knows.

But my prediction is, if he stays healthy, that by the end of the year he will be closing games for the Cubs.

He was too good of an arm to let go for nothing, especially with the way he was pitching at the time the 40-man rosters were set last fall.

Plus, I don't understand why he was not on the radar of the rule 5 'experts'.  He certainly fit everything teams seem to look for in a pitcher: useful bullpen arm trending towards success right before the Rule 5 draft with some upside as a starter.  Seemed a perfect fit to me but not to the national experts on the subject.

The other player the Indians lost in the ML portion of the Rule 5, TJ McFarland (Orioles) will probably be coming back to the Indians.  I had predicted that there was a 25% chance he would get drafted and close to no chance he would stick with the team that drafted him.  The Orioles took a shot that they might be able to keep him as a loogy given his good left-on-left splits.   However, his spring was uneven and, as could be predicted by his minor league track record, he will need at least two tries at every level before he can have success there.  I hope the Indians can get him back because, if properly groomed, he can be a cheap and effective lefty for years to come.

The player the Indians drafted, Chris McGuinness, was not ready for the big leagues and the Indians may have to return him to Texas or work out a deal.  Typical of most Rule 5 picks, McGuinness doesn't have the experience to be ready for big league pitching yet and, in his case, he may just end up as a AAAA player.  Clearly by what has historically worked in the Rule 5, not a good gamble. 

Don't be surprised if David Huff or Ezequiel Carrera are traded to keep McGuinness.  That type of move would only add to the head scratching over drafting McGuinness in the first place after getting McDade and then bringing in a couple of ML 1B/DH types on top of having Santana playing there to rest his legs from catching. 

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