Colorado Rockies: A Preview of the Upcoming Rule 5 Draft

You will hear a lot of buzz about the upcoming Major League Baseball Rule 5 draft. The big question is this … does it really matter to the Colorado Rockies?

Right now, the Colorado Rockies sit with 39 players assigned to their 40-man roster. That means that there is a slot open and the Rockies could make a pick in the upcoming Rule 5 draft, slated for the morning of December 8. However, here are the main things to know about the draft…

What are the 3 phases to the Rule 5 draft?

  1. The Major League Phase. This is when teams can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of any minor league clubs for a fee of $50,000.
  2. The AAA Phase. This is when AAA affiliates can choose eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs below AAA for $12,000.
  3. The AA Phase. This is when AA affiliates can choose eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs below AA for $4,000.

Who can be picked?

This article on Baseball America has a great breakdown of what the Rule 5 draft is and what it means to teams. As they say, “With a few exceptions, any player who was younger than 19 on June 4 of their signing year is eligible to be picked if they are not on a 40-man roster after their fifth pro year.”

What are some key points to know about a player who is drafted?

  1. At the Major League level, the player has to remain on the Major League 25-man roster for the entire next season.
  2. Even if the player goes on the disabled list, he must be active on the active roster for 90 days.
  3. If the draftee misses a whole season, he must be on the active roster for 90 days the following season.
  4. Players chosen in the minor league part of the draft do not need to return to the original teams for any reason. Their contracts are irrevocable assigned to the drafting team.

Note: Kudos to our Atlanta Braves-watching cousins at Tomahawk Take for such a quick and easy breakdown of the process.

Reading all of that, the Rockies would be taking a big chance to pick someone in the Rule 5 draft, knowing he will be on the roster for the entire 2017 season. That means that player is going to have to be a contributor in a big way immediately.

What could the Rockies do?

The Rockies could take a flyer on someone who will make an immediate impact in the bullpen. Again, it’s a roll of the bones but it’s possible. By the way, that’s the strategy that our cousins at Around the Foghorn think the San Francisco Giants should do.

What did the Rockies do in last year’s Rule 5 draft?

Last December, Colorado made two picks. The first was the fourth overall pick in the Major League phase as they took right-hander Luis Perdomo from the St. Louis Cardinals. Perdomo was shipped to the San Diego Padres via trade. He ended up going 9-10 for the Padres last season with a 5.71 ERA. Incidentally, he went 0-2 with a 6.62 ERA in games against Colorado.

In the Triple-A phase, Colorado had the third overall pick and selected right-hander Luis Niebla from the New York Yankees. He went 2-2 with a 2.66 ERA, spending most of his time with Class A Modesto but also appearing in nine games with Double-A Hartford.

What have the Rockies done to prepare for the Rule 5 draft?

They’ve done their homework on potential picks. They’ve also made sure they have protected the players who they think might be selected. Five pitchers (Yency Almonte, Shane Carle, Rayan Gonzalez, Zach Jemiola and Sam Moll) were added to Colorado’s 40-man roster last week, protecting them from being selected by other teams. You can read our breakdown of each of these players here.

Who might the Rockies lose in the Rule 5 draft?

There are several possibilities, but the one named most frequently is Julian Fernandez, a right-handed pitcher who Baseball America says has “a truly special right arm.” You can read their thoughts on Fernandez here.

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