Teams Can Shop Through Solid Twins Rule 5 Additions
Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsA week ago, Seth did a great job outlining players that the Minnesota Twins needed to add to the 40-man roster. With five of them being handed promotions to the 40- man, a handful of players are left open to the possibility of selection through the Rule 5 process. Although a well-positioned contender like the Twins aren’t an ideal candidate to make a selection, they are a team that could get pulled from.
When taking a player through the Rule 5 Draft process a major league team must keep the player on their active 26-man (New for 2020) roster throughout the full season or offer him back to the original team. That caveat makes low-level prospects a bit of a reach to select, and the most often targeted are pitchers that can immediately slot into a relief role.
Although Wander Javier is the headliner of the bunch that went unprotected, he is just 20 years old (soon to be 21) and struggled in his first exposure to full-season ball. The ceiling on Javier remains high but asking him to contribute at the big-league level right now seems like a massive leap.
That leads us to the question of who is likely to get selected from the organization. Here’s some names that make sense:
RHP Griffin Jax
Jax recently turned 25 and the third-round pick in the 2016 draft is as close to the big leagues as he’s ever been. Having pitched initially intermittently due to a military commitment, he was as advertised in 2019. Throwing 127 innings, he combined to post a 2.90 ERA at AA/AAA with a 6.6 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. The ceiling isn’t much here as he’s more finesse than velocity, but Jax has command and control down and that should help him at the next level. There’s no reason a non-contender couldn’t find a place for him at the back end of their rotation.
LHP Sam Clay
Pitching is generally the easiest commodity to control through Rule 5 stipulations, and a high-strikeout lefty can be plenty enticing. Clay was selected by the Twins in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. He’ll be 27 in 2020 but owned a 9.3 K/9 across 69.1 IP at AA/AAA in 2019. In the 22 innings at Triple-A, the 10.3 H/9 is pretty concerning. However, Clay didn’t give up a single home run last year and surrendered just one in 2018. Across 405 minor league innings he’s allowed six balls to leave the yard. In a game that’s now power rich, it’s a skill set that any manager would love to employ in their pen.
1B/OF Zander Wiel
The former Vanderbilt star was a 12th-round pick in the 2015 draft. Wiel started slowly in his professional career but turned in his best season as a 26-year-old for Rochester last season. He posted an .834 OPS that was buoyed by 40 doubles and 24 dingers. He’s not a huge on-base guy and driving up his plate discipline could lead to a longer big-league leash. With the Twins he’s blocked at both first and corner outfield so he became expendable, but there could be a nice bat to be had here for someone looking to take a flier on their bench.
RHP Jake Reed
Appearing in columns like this for the past couple of years, Reed finds himself here once again. Originally expected to blitz the system as a fifth-round pick in 2014, being passed over at the end of 2018 seemed to be the book closing on potential with the Twins. His 1.89 ERA a year ago was watered down by a 4.0 BB/9. In 2019 he posted an ugly 5.76 ERA but pushed his strikeout rate to a career best 11.0. Minnesota changed up his arm action a significant amount last season, and there were stretches of productivity, but he was often done in as evidenced by the career worst 1.467 WHIP. As a high-velocity arm, it’s more than arguable that a sink or swim moment at the big-league level should come from some organization.
Do you think the Twins lose anyone during the Rule 5 Draft, and if so, who are you most certain gets taken?
- nclahammer likes this