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minnesota twins rule 5 draft griffin jax zander wiel sam clay
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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 09:00 PM

Now that you’ve had your Thanksgiving feast and are relaxing after a day of family and festivities, it’s time to prepare for the next logical step…Let’s go shopping! Entering Black Friday, we’ve got as good of an opportunity as ever to take a look at what players teams may snipe from the Twins in the Rule 5 Draft.A 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?

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#2 Seth Stohs

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 09:08 PM

Wander Javier is the one that gets talked about the most... I'd hate to lose him.

 

I am most worried about losing Luis Rijo though... Highest upside pitcher, by far.

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#3 mikelink45

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 09:11 PM

I just cannot see Javier going, who really wants to waste their number 26 roster spot?He is too far off. 

We will lose at least two pitchers - we have a record of this in past Rule V's.

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#4 Shaitan

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 10:42 PM

Maybe the extra roster spot will make a difference, especially for frugal basement dweller teams but...I don't see how anybody can expect much of an MLB contribution from most of these players who have barely touched AA.

 

Even Johann Santana took a few years to develop after the draft. It's asking for a huge investment from the drafting team -- an investment that hasn't given much back in the majority of draft picks.


#5 h2oface

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 11:59 PM

None can stick on a MLB active roster. Even if someone takes them, they willbe back unless the Twins won't take him back.


#6 old nurse

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 06:13 AM

Rijo may have a high enough ceiling for a team to take a flyer on. Too many teams do not have a 5th starter for Jax not to be taken.Is there a dearth of pitching bad enoughfor Clay to be taken as a reliever with the death of the LOGY. Taken, yes. Kept, unlikely

Javier. The only thing a team can be certain of is that he can field. Does a late innings defensive replacement make sense on a rebuilding team?I would doubt it. Is his bat going to develop? IDK Ifa major league team's pipeline lacks a shortstop, he could be taken.My best guess is that other teams have a similar but not equal to Javier player. He might be worth the 50k flyer, he might not be worth the final cost, including salary and benefits.

 

Miami, Baltimore, KC, Detroit all can take a player or two and stash on their roster without doing any damage at all to the likely goal for 2020 hence Javier comes into play, as does Rijo if any team likes his ceiling. Therein lies the unknown. Who likes which players.


#7 sdangus

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 06:18 AM

 

Maybe the extra roster spot will make a difference, especially for frugal basement dweller teams but...I don't see how anybody can expect much of an MLB contribution from most of these players who have barely touched AA.

 

Even Johann Santana took a few years to develop after the draft. It's asking for a huge investment from the drafting team -- an investment that hasn't given much back in the majority of draft picks.

 


#8 sdangus

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 06:21 AM

 

But the Twins would do it all over again. He's the kind of player that the cellar dwellers feast on in the Rule 5, even though they have to basically punt on one roster spot for a season.

 

 

 


#9 ashbury

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 07:24 AM

I'll go with "nobody gets taken", and maybe hedge by adding "and lost permanently". Other teams with good farm systems also have players like these, or probably better. It's not as though the bottom feeders will gang up to try to harvest the Twins' system specifically. And all the players exposed by the Twins represent a struggle to keep them on a roster all year.

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#10 rdehring

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 08:30 AM

Will be interesting with the new 26 man roster if more players are selected in this year's draft.Maybe baseball should have also changed to a 41-man roster.

 

Agree with Seth that there is a real risk to losing both of Javier and Rijo.Agree with those who think there is a good chance Jax is also lost.However, should the total number of picks stay around 15ish, seriously doubt we would lose three.Maybe one or two.


#11 JLease

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 08:49 AM

I think someone takes a flyer on Jax, maybe on Reed as well. So it goes.

 

I could see a team wanting to grab Wander Javier, but I can't see him sticking on a 26-man all year, especially after really struggling at the plate last year.Yes, the tools are all there. Yes, he was a highly rated prospect. Yes, we spent $4M on him. No, he's not capable of being on an MLB team this year. The basic problem is a) you give up a 26-man spot for a player that can't really help you, B) you screw up the kid's development by him not getting the game time he needs. If a team does select him and hold him all year, the next year he has to stay on the 40-man...and go back to A-ball, after having what was probably an completely unproductive time in MLB. Now he's 22 in low-A, behind the development curve and still occupying a 40-man spot with a real challenge to get to the pros. I think Javier stays where he is.


#12 jorgenswest

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 09:16 AM

A contending team can’t give a 40 man roster spot to a player who reasonably won’t be ready to help in the majors the next two seasons. Javier may get picked but it will reduce the odds that he will ever be successful in the majors. He needs to play after missing 2018 and really struggling in low A. If 2020 is lost to a bench role he will need at least the next two years in the minors. After that it 2023 and he will be 24 and almost out of options.

If Rijo had more swing and miss he would have more strikeouts and more walks in low A. Those higher walk rates at the lower levels can be troubling but also a sign that the batters are struggling to put the ball in play and the counts are going deeper. I think Rijo needs two more year before he is ready to be tested at the major league level. I don’t think the Twins would have been wise to start the options clock on him.

A contending team can’t afford to keep Javier, Rijo and Celestino on the 40 man roster. The Twins made a space for one guy who won’t reasonably help next year. I think the picked the right one.
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#13 jorgenswest

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 09:36 AM

I think Hackimer has a better chance of being successful in the majors next year than Jax. AA batters put way too many balls in play against Jax. I can see the control in the stats. Jax throws strikes. Command is different than control. It is ability to execute and locate pitches. It is about being in charge of the strike zone. I don’t think we can see it in a stat line. A pitcher with good command is going to keep a hitter off balance. In AA that should look like swing and misses that will hopefully turn into weak contact from major leaguers. The swings and misses aren’t there yet. It might take a new or improved pitch to keep the hitters off balance. It could happen with more time to develop. Jax just doesn’t have very much minor league experience.

#14 DocBauer

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 09:41 AM

Javier makes so little sense on so many levels. Are you really going to stash him for an entire season just so you can send him back down to A ball in 2021 to continue much needed development for a guy suddenly down 1 option?

Jax makes sense for someone to take. He's probably kept as well as I could see him easily stashed as a long/middle man if he shows you anything at all.

Clay and Reed are in similar boats. There is enough velocity and SO numbers for a non contender to take a flier. Whether either shows enough to stick is a different story.

I would think Wiel is a strong candidate to be picked. His career has not been stellar, but it's been solid and he's probably comjng off his very best year. I understand the argument about 1B/OF/DH types being a dime a dozen. And they probably are. But ones who can actually perform are not. Wiel is relatively young and controllable with power. I would think someone will like that combination.

They won't all's be selected. Anywhere from 0-2 probably. But there are valued arguments for a few tombs targeted.
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#15 nicksaviking

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 09:54 AM

I don't think the Twins will lose Javier and Rijo, but those are the only two I really care if they get taken. If someone wants Jax, Clay or Wiel, good for those players.

 

 

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#16 Dman

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 10:25 AM

I kind of hope someone takes Wiel,He is getting older and is completely blocked in our system.Would be nice for him to get a chance on a team with nothing to lose.I think he could be a good bench bat.Hard to say how he will adjust to MLB pitching but I think he has a good chance to be successful.

 

Not worried about losing Jax as we have enough #5 starters in the system with Dobnack, Poppen, Smeltzer and Thorpe and I think they all currently have better stuff than Jax does.Also other younger pitchers will likely pass him as well in Graterol, Duran, Balazovic, Colina, and maybe even Sands and Vallimont.Don't get me wrong I like Jax but we can certainly live without him as well.

 

Never cared for Clays control or command but he is a lefty and we could use some good lefty reliever in the system. He could get taken but I don't trust him to do well in MLB just yet as control becomes very important when facing elite competition.

 

I thought they would protect Rijo and I bet it was a tough call but I can understand it is tough to start that option clock so soon given he is likely two to three years away.I guess they are hoping other teams see it the same way.Given what I have seen he doesn't look ready for MLB, but a team not competing could grab him anyway.

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#17 DocBauer

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 01:01 PM

I don't think the Twins will lose Javier and Rijo, but those are the only two I really care if they get taken. If someone wants Jax, Clay or Wiel, good for those players.


Agreed. I'd still like to keep Jax if possible. Getting long in the tooth, but that's a result of circumstances and not on him. I really dont know how much upside he has left, and he could easily be passed by this year. But I just have a feeling there is more to come with him. I'd like to fund out.
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#18 Seth Stohs

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 03:23 PM

 

Javier makes so little sense on so many levels. Are you really going to stash him for an entire season just so you can send him back down to A ball in 2021 to continue much needed development for a guy suddenly down 1 option?

 

If it was me running the Tigers or Orioles... absolutely I would. In fact, I might just play him a bunch... I believe in his talent, so absolutely... 


#19 Seth Stohs

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 03:23 PM

 

I don't think the Twins will lose Javier and Rijo, but those are the only two I really care if they get taken. If someone wants Jax, Clay or Wiel, good for those players.

 

Agreed... 


#20 Seth Stohs

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 03:29 PM

The reality is that with the extra year of evaluation, the teams are rarely wrong. And generally even the players lost are guys teams are comfortable with losing. They know who to make sure to put on the roster. The must-adds are added. 

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