Brewers make two selections in Rule 5 draft

The Brewers selected Oakland second basebman Colin Walsh with the fifth overall pick in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday.

Frank Longobardo

The Milwaukee Brewers selected two players in Thursday’s Major League Baseball Rule 5 draft, second baseman Colin Walsh and pitcher Zach Jones. Just 11 teams made picks in the Rule 5 draft and the Brewers were one of five clubs to pick two players.

Teams pay $50,000 to select players in the Rule 5 draft and must keep them on their major-league roster all season or else offer the player back to the organization from which they were selected for $25,000.

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Milwaukee had the fifth selection in the draft, with each of the four teams above them selecting a player, and tabbed Walsh, a switch-hitting second baseman from the Oakland A’s organization.

Walsh batted .302 with a .447 on-base percentage and .470 slugging percentage for Double-A Midland in 2015. He split time between Single-A Stockton, Midland and Triple-A Sacramento in 2014, with a combined slash line of .290/.375/.371. Walsh has primarily played second base in the minors, playing 344 games at that position, but he’s also seen time in the outfield and third base, as well as pitched in two games in relief. Walsh turned 26 on Sept. 26, meaning his is roughly eight months older than Brewers returning starting second baseman Scooter Gennett.

While Walsh has shown some pop in the minors — he hit 13 homers last season and 16 with Single-A Quad Cities in 2012 — his biggest attribute appears to be his ability to get on base as he owns a career .395 on-base percentage in the minors. Only four players on the Brewers had an on-base percentage above .350 last season and two — Adam Lind and Gerardo Parra — are no longer on the club. Jason Rogers (.369 in limited at bats) and Ryan Braun (.356) were the others.

Last season Walsh stole 17 bases, but that was his career high and owns just 51 steals in 564 games.

Milwaukee had the third pick of the second round and selected the right-handed Jones out of the Minnesota Twins organization.

Jones, who turned 25 on Dec. 4, was a fourth-round pick of the Twins in 2012 and was named Minnesota’s No. 25 overall prospect in 2014 by Baseball America. Jones split his time in 2015 with Single-A Fort Myers and Double-A Chattanooga. He posted a 2.19 ERA and 0.973 WHIP while walking 3.6/9 innings and striking out 13.9/9 in 24 2/3 innings for Fort Myers. With Chattanooga, Jones had a 6.00 ERA and 1.556 WHIP while walking 6.0/9 and striking out 10.0/9 in 27 innings.

In four minor-league seasons, Jones owns a 2.83 ERA and 1.197 WHIP while striking out 12.9 batters per nine innings.

The Brewers also made two selections in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft, taking left-handed pitcher Mitch Lambson from the Atlanta Braves organization and right-handed pitcher Kender Villegas from the St. Louis Cardinals.