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Rule 5 Addition Discussion

The July 31st trade deadline has now passed, but that doesn’t mean that the Twins are necessarily done trading. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are likely to continue racking up minutes on their phones throughout the month.

In November, the front office will have to make some difficult decisions as it relates to the 40-man roster. At the trade deadline, the team added Dietrich Enns, who is already on the 40-man roster. They added Zack Littell and Gabriel Moya who are currently not on the 40-man roster but are certainly candidates. They don’t have to decide yet on Tyler Watson.

In case you missed them, here are the Twins trades:

John Ryan Murphy for Gabriel Moya - Diamondbacks
Jaime Garcia for Ryan Littell and Dietrich Enns - Yankees
Brandon Kintzler for Justin Watson - Nationals
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Stephen Gonsalves)
40-man roster consideration comes into play during the August trade period. So I think it’s a good time to take a first glance at which players in the Twins system would be Rule 5 draft eligible if they are not protected before the Winter Meetings.

I put together the list of players, and then sorted them into three categories.

The Givens: There is no question in my mind that these guys will be added… or lost.
2nd Tier: These guys have to be given strong consideration. For one reason or another, they are not quite givens, but have a decent chance depending on how many players get added.
3rd Tier: The next group probably won’t be added. It’s not that there aren’t some really good baseball players in this group. It’s that you’ll see the number of players who fall into the first two categories. However, the front office will need to have a conversation on several of these players.

So, I often get asked who is eligible for the Rule 5. The following are eligible this offseason for the first time:
  • Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2013 (during the minor league season).
  • Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2014.
  • Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again.
Impending Minor League Free Agents

Before spring training, I wrote about five players who would become free agents after the 2017 World Series if they were not added to the Twins 40-man roster before then. Four of those players remain in the organization.
  • Levi Michael - 2011 first-round pick.
  • Travis Harrison - 2011 supplemental first-round pick.
  • Dereck Rodriguez - 2011 6th round pick.
  • David Hurlbut - 2011 28th-round pick.
Hurlbut is starting for the Red Wings. The other three players are playing for Chattanooga. While the Twins may try to bring back a couple of these players on minor league free agent deals, Rodriguez is the one player the team may consider adding to the 40-man roster before the completion of the World Series.

The Givens
  • Stephen Gonsalves - The lefty is a Top 100 prospect who has had a lot of success this year in AA Chattanooga. Easiest choice of the bunch.
  • Zack Littell - Like Gonsalves, Littell was drafted out of high school in 2013. He has split this season between High-A and AA, and will debut with the Lookouts this week.
  • Jake Reed - Drafted in 2014 out of Oregon, Reed moved up the system very quickly. The last couple of years he’s split between AA and AAA. Like Gonsalves, his season started late due to injury, but he’s back with the Red Wins and should debut this season.
  • John Curtiss - Twins sixth-round pick in 2014 out of Texas, Curtiss was given some time as a starter early in his career, but since moving to the bullpen for the 2016 season, he has taken off and become one of the most dominant relievers in the organization. He was recently promoted to AAA.
  • Lewin Diaz - Signed out of the Dominican in July of 2013, Diaz gradually worked his way up. Last year, he started showing his power at Elizabethton. He’s been a solid performer at Cedar Rapids this year. He’s a top ten prospect (#6, for me).
2nd Tier

The following list is really tough, but as I mentioned above, the Twins are going to have some really difficult decisions, and a couple of these guys will likely be left off the list. I’ll put them in the order I would likely add them, but you can feel free to discuss.

6.) Lewis Thorpe - The left-hander was eligible a year ago, but since he hadn’t pitched in two seasons, he went unselected. He’s been back for a couple of months now, and he’s been solid. He’s getting stronger, and he’s pitching well in Ft. Myers. He’s pretty close to a given.
7.) Aaron Slegers - Slegers was eligible for the Rule 5 draft last year and a lot of people thought there was a good chance he would be taken. He wasn’t, and the team invited him to big league camp. He moved up to Rochester, and he has been good, especially his last eight starts over which he has gone 8-0. Slegers should be promoted soon, even before September.
8.) Kohl Stewart - The strikeouts, I know. However, based on his draft position (1st round, 4th overall, in 2013), there’s a good chance he’s added. He hasn’t put up the numbers that Gonsalves has, particularly lacking in strikeouts, but until his rough start this season, he has always limited baserunners and runs with little hard contact.
9.) Gabriel Moya - He was acquired last week in the trade for John Ryan Murphy. He’s putting up incredible numbers in AA. While he doesn’t throw real hard, the lefty gets strikeouts, has deception and dominates.
10.) Luke Bard - The supplemental 2012 first-round pick has been healthy these last two years. With health, he’s improved his velocity and spin rates, and he has missed a lot of bats this year. Bard should be called up before the end of the season.
11.) Nick Burdi - A year ago, even having missed most of 2016 with the humerus injury, Burdi would have been an easy add. He was off to a great start this year and certainly would be up with the Twins by now. Instead, he had Tommy John surgery and will likely miss at least half of the 2018 season.That’s why he’s a borderline add.
12.) Mason Melotakis - He spent about a season and a half on the 40-man roster, but last month he was removed. His velocity has been down, but he has been very good since his promotion to Rochester. It’s possible he could be added back, though it may make more sense to call him up in late August or September.


3rd Tier

Remember the players in this group have a lot of talent. However, those first two groups of twelve, plus Dereck Rodriguez, are really talented and not all of them will be added.
  • Jhon Alvarez
  • DJ Baxendale
  • Cameron Booser
  • Sam Clay
  • Edgar Corcino
  • Andro Cutura
  • Eduardo Del Rosario
  • Ryan Eades
  • Tanner English
  • Edgar Herrera
  • Zack Jones
  • Randy LeBlanc
  • Jose Martinez
  • Amaurys Minier
  • Nelson Molina
  • Robert Molina
  • Ariel Montesino
  • Emmanuel Morel
  • Alex Muren
  • Max Murphy
  • Brian Navarreto
  • Callan Pearce
  • Johan Quezada
  • Williams Ramirez
  • Rainis Silva
  • Keaton Steele
  • Roni Tapia
  • Todd Van Steensel
  • Michael Theofanopoulos
  • Ryan Walker
  • TJ White
Before I get asked… and since this is right at the end, it probably will be asked (so you can answer it for me). What about Jermaine Palacios and Luis Arraez. Arraez signed in 2013, but not until November, so he won’t be eligible until next season. Palacios signed on September 6th, 2013, just days after the regular season ended. I believe that means that he does not have to be added until after the 2018 season as well.


So, with the above information, who would you add? The Twins have added anywhere from three players to eight players in a year, so it could be anywhere in there.

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88 Comments

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twinstalker
Aug 01 2017 12:50 AM

I don't think this discussion makes as much sense without the context of the number of spots they'll have available.  And you leave a guy like Enns out of the discussion, assuming he'll be a 40.  We've got guys who will not be on the 40 (e.g. Belisle) and we've got guys who could well be dropped (e.g. Vargas).  We've got guys on the 60-day DL who may or may not need to be included.

 

Given all that,  yes, Gonsalves is a lock and Littel is a lock, but Lewis Thorpe has to be next.  His stuff is definitely good enough to stash on an MLB roster for a year and use as a mop up.  On the other hand, who in the world would stash Lewin Diaz?  Roster spots for position players are at a premium these days, and if you aren't a valuable defensive player, you do not get selected in Rule V.

    • glunn, Mike Frasier Law, 70charger and 8 others like this

There are 3 vacant 40-man roster spots and 3 on the 60-day DL to be added?Is Trevor May really not on the 60-day DL?

 

These guys are candidates to be gone:

Colon, Beslisle, Boshers, Giminez, Santiago, Gee, Palka, O'Rourke, Vielma.

That's 9 spots.Recker's spot will be filled with a catcher on the 40-man roster.

 

I would delete Hughes and Perkins.That's 2 more. Gibson will make for interesting conversation as might Turley.

 

I think we all want to add 1 starter and 1 reliever at a minimum so we are back down to 9 spots.

 

My givens are Gonsalves, Littell, Curtis, Thorpe, and Moya (5). I don't know why Bard isn't getting more consideration for promotion, but I would add him and Burdi. Slegers and Stewart do not warrant protection based on their current performance and scouting reports.

 

I still have 2 available roster spots.

 

    • clutterheart, 70charger, milldam and 3 others like this
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SarasotaBill
Aug 01 2017 03:32 AM

Only givens should be brought up in September.

You don't want to have to remove a player from the 40 in the off-season and let another team not have to use their 25 to steal them.

    • beckmt, Oldgoat_MN, KGB and 1 other like this
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Tommygun921
Aug 01 2017 04:56 AM
I'd like to see the rest of what the 40 man looks like to see how many spots are available.
I'd probably bump Bard and Melo to tier 3, even though I think Bard deserves a look. Just seems they're not interested. Reed hasn't been particularly impressive either, he might be more 2nd tier than 1st.

Otherwise, good list!
I'd put Thorpe tier 1, and Slegers/Bard/Melotakis of tier 2 will almost certainly not be added to the roster.

But really good list.
    • Mike Sixel and spycake like this
Burdi is the really interesting one. Might be about all about his medicals.
    • gagu likes this
For spots opening, with the 60-day DL guys included, and Recker excluded, we have 41 rostered guys right now.

5 pending FA:
Belisle
Colon
Gee
Perkins
Santiago

4 possible nontenders in arbitration:
Gibson
Pressly
Gimenez
Grossman

9 potential cuts (not all of these guys will be cut, of course, but some among this group will be):
Boshers
Busenitz
Chargois
Hildenberger
O'Rourke
Randy Rosario
Turley
Palka
Vargas

And of course Hughes as a big wild card.

Then you need to factor in any MLB FA they might sign this winter. Probably at least 3.
    • 70charger, gagu and wsnydes like this
With Slegers, I think Seth's reminder that he wasn't selected in Rule 5 last winter is pretty important. He has had a solid season at AAA, but he was largely the same pitcher for the full season at AA last year. I really doubt teams will change their minds on him.

Rule 5 selections and full season survivors are pretty rare too. Looks like only ~5 guys might survive the season from Rule 5 this year (pending some DL cases), and 3 of them are Padres. Not an excuse to needlessly expose anyone good, of course, but another data point suggesting that Slegers is probably safe.
    • Mike Sixel and markos like this
Bard seems to match the statistical/age profile of a lot of AA relievers who don't get selected, or who get returned fairly quickly. Spin rate is a new X factor, I suppose.
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diehardtwinsfan
Aug 01 2017 06:07 AM

They won't get lucky with Thrope this offseason if they leave him unprotected. He's a given in my mind.

    • Mike Sixel, beckmt, 70charger and 6 others like this
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Cory Engelhardt
Aug 01 2017 06:11 AM

For me, Thorpe, Stewart and Dereck Rodriguez are given to be added, even if it means losing a AA reliever. The Twins need starting pitching, and that is the hardest to find bar none. If any of these guys don't make it as a starter, then you can put them in the bullpen at that point.

    • 70charger and howieramone2 like this
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Tom Froemming
Aug 01 2017 06:13 AM

Great, great stuff. Awesome, super valuable information. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

There will be a lot of tough decisions, but the front office has had a great grasp on the market so far, successfully slipping Park and Melotakis through waivers. I'd love to see some of the guys on the fringe who are in their mid- to late-20s get a look in the bigs before the end of this season. 

    • Cory Engelhardt likes this
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clutterheart
Aug 01 2017 06:18 AM

Lewin Diaz - I don't know if a team would stash him on the 25 man roster for a full season.  If the roster is full, I would expect that he gets left off and the team gambles he is not taken.  

 

Burdi - If taken he has to spend 90 days on the active roster.  The braves, knew about the TJ surgery, and looked at his other medicals and passed.  He is another guy who I might gamble and leave off.  

 

I hope the Twins bring up Moya, Bard, Curtis & Reed this year so we might know their status before the offseason starts.  

 

 

    • markos and bluechipper like this
Gonna be some tough decisions, Seth.

Based on the past, we can expect anywhere from 5-8 adds. Personally, I would add Thorpe and not add Diaz. After that, maybe one or two more from your second group. I will not be surprised if they don't add Stewart. If that happens, would make sense to move him before November.
It seems unlikely Lewin Diaz would get picked.

He is 20, with a .757 OPS in low A. I don't seem how a team hides him on their MLB roster all season. He is a 1B/DH, from a flexibility standpoint he would literally kill their bench all year.
    • beckmt, 70charger, bluechipper and 5 others like this
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nicksaviking
Aug 01 2017 06:52 AM

I would suspect a couple of those guys may be used to acquire better quality MLB pitchers.

 

I'd also hope that Curtis and Reed are givens, but prior to his DFA, I would have guessed Melotakis was above them in the pecking order. Hard to read how the new guys feel about the minor league relievers.

I agree with many others in this thread: Diaz should not be protected. He's the 16th best 20yo-or-younger hitter in the Midwest League right now.

 

But I think Thorpe is a given.

    • 70charger and melshmeister like this

 

With Slegers, I think Seth's reminder that he wasn't selected in Rule 5 last winter is pretty important. He has had a solid season at AAA, but he was largely the same pitcher for the full season at AA last year. I really doubt teams will change their minds on him.

Rule 5 selections and full season survivors are pretty rare too. Looks like only ~5 guys might survive the season from Rule 5 this year (pending some DL cases), and 3 of them are Padres. Not an excuse to needlessly expose anyone good, of course, but another data point suggesting that Slegers is probably safe.

It would be nice to see Slegers brought up in late August or September to see what he can do.

Burdi is a tough one. Could he be added and then put on the 60 day DL?
Also is it possible that the Braves rejected him in part thinking he might be a potential rule 5 pickup thereby essentially adding another player to the trade? A very long shot I know.

I count 10 names that very likely won't be on the 40 man by November: Belisle, Colon, Gee, Perkins, Santiago, Gimenez, Gibson, O'Rourke, Recker, Vargas 

 

Bubble candidates to go off 40 man:

-Buddy Boshers (he's pitched really well but depends on where he's at in the LHRP depth chart; I could see FA wanting to protect Moya over keeping Boshers)

-Engelb Vielma (he hasn't hit at all in AAA and slipped out of MLB's top 30 prospects; Adrianza fits the roll of glove-first utility IF and these guys aren't hard to get off waivers; but there isn't much IF depth on the 40 man)

-Nik Turley (I think we'll see him again this season in the bullpen; has the potential to take over Boshers' spot; I still think he's got potential but if he doesn't perform well this given enough of an opportunity in relief, he's probably gone)

-Phil Hughes (I feel like there's a chance that Hughes and the Twins come to some sort of deal where Hughes retires; not sure how this works)

-(also, I think Vargas will be taken off because he'll be out of options next season and he's had plenty of opportunities and not impressed much; FO has proven they'll make those moves)

 

So I think up to 13 spots could open up (I think one of Turley or Boshers will stay).  Of course this doesn't mean that all 13 could be filled by Rule 5 eligible guys. Twins would need to add another Catcher, clear some things up in the OF by adding a RH bat and maybe subtracting  LH bat (Grossman, Palka, Granite) via trade, and then add a starting pitcher and a reliever. But we don't know when those moves might happen. 

 

With estimating 10 open spots, I would add: Gonsalves, Littell, Reed, Curtiss, Thorpe, Diaz, Stewart, Slegers, Moya, Rodriguez

It would be nice to see Slegers brought up in late August or September to see what he can do.


Problem is, if you bring him up, you can't take him off the 40-man without losing him. It is a lot easier to waiver claim a guy rather than Rule 5 him.
    • Dman likes this

 

I agree with many others in this thread: Diaz should not be protected. He's the 16th best 20yo-or-younger hitter in the Midwest League right now.

 

But I think Thorpe is a given.

 

I'd also agree on Diaz. Digging more into him, just don't see a guy with his performance/profile in Low A getting picked.

 

I think the Twins will be able to fit everyone who needs it and also add a few more players this offseason. Digging through the list, I'm not especially concerned anymore.

    • howieramone2 likes this

 

Problem is, if you bring him up, you can't take him off the 40-man without losing him. It is a lot easier to waiver claim a guy rather than Rule 5 him.

 

Plus, if they had any notion that he could be an effective starter, I suspect he'd have been up by now. He may get a token call up later, but I doubt he factors much in any long term plans.

I don't see why Mason Melotakis is on the 2nd tier.  They already DFA'd him a month ago and he was not picked up for essentially nothing to go to another teams minor league org.  I think if left unprotected its a relatively safe bet he would not be picked and stashed on a MLB roster for season.  

    • Mike Sixel, beckmt, KGB and 1 other like this

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