Rule 5 Draft Preview: Diamond Hunting
When MLB instituted the Rule 5 Draft, the purpose was to keep teams from stockpiling MLB ready talent in their organization. This draft gives players that are ready the opportunity to sink or swim at the big league level. If a player has been with a team for an allotted amount of time and hasn't been added to the 40-man roster, he is exposed to the Rule 5 Draft.
Rule 5 players must stay with their new big league club or be offered back to their old team. This means a club can’t pick up a Rule 5 player and stash him away in the minor leagues. The order of the draft is based on the win-loss record of the team's from the previous season. For the Twins, this means the club has the fourth pick after having the second pick last season.
Here is a look at the Twins last five Rule 5 drafts:
None of the above listed Rule 5 picks were strong enough to stay on the 25-man roster for the entire season. Scott Diamond has been the only player in the last half decade to make an impact on the Twins from their Rule 5 selections. Even he had to be sent to the minors for a little more seasonin, which meant the Twins needed to work out a trade with his previous team, that Atlanta Braves. The Rule 5 Draft can be full of disappointments but there can be some "Diamonds" in the rough.
One of the sticking points for the Twins at this point is they have no space available on their 40-man roster. For the team to use their fourth pick in the Rule 5 Draft, they would need to clear room on the roster. The organization just added eight players to the 40-man so there is a chance the team might not be looking to making any additions at this point.
There are a few names left off of other team's 40-man rosters and this could be good news for the Twins. The club is in desperate need of adding some pitching and the Rule 5 Draft could help in this search. Below you will find three names of pitchers that could be available for the Twins to select with their fourth pick but they still need to make room on the 40-man roster.
Josh Fields, RHP, Red Sox (Age 27)
Fields is a former first round pick that has spent the last two seasons bouncing between Double-A and Triple-A with the Red Sox and the Mariners. He has been used entirely as a relief pitcher but he has posted good ERA marks on his way up the ladder. He can strike batters out with a SO/9 of 12 last year and he doesn't walk a lot of batters. Fields is a flyball pitcher but he does a good job of keeping the ball in the park and this would suit him well at Target Field. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and he has a very good curveball. Fields seems like a player that could slide into a bullpen role with the Twins next year.
Kyle Kaminska, RHP, Pirates (Age 24)
The Twins love control pitchers and Kaminska might fit their profile. He worked his way up to Triple-A last season in a primary relief role. His low walk rate of 1.2 BB/9 sure sounds like it is right up the Twins alley. His fastball sits right around 90 mph and his breaking pitch isn't anything to write home about. Kaminska could fit into the middle of a bullpen and eat up some innings for a club. The Twins seem to need starting pitching at this point so Kaminska might be overlooked for a pitcher with more experience in that role.
JC Sulbaran, RHP, Royals (Age 23)
Sulbaran is a new member of the Royals organization as he was just traded to the team last season. This still didn't mean they wanted to protect him on their 40-man roster. At 23 years old, he is still young and there is plenty of potential in his right arm. His control has been an issue during his time in the minors and this might make the Twins look the other direction. He averaged 5.2 BB/9 last year but he had 9.3 SO/9. Sulbaran has a low-90s fastball and a decent breaking pitch that could make him useful in the future. If the Twins want to take a flyer on a player, he could turn into a back of the rotation starter.