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Twins Lose Multiple Prospects in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft


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The highlight of the Winter Meeting’s final day is the Rule 5 draft. The Rule 5 draft works very closely with the 40-man roster rules. Teams must add players to their 40-man roster to avoid exposure in the Rule 5 draft where players could be lost to another organization. Will the Twins select any players? What players could the Twins lose?Check back to this article through the morning for updates as the Rule 5 draft occurs.

 

Minnesota’s current 40-man roster sits with 35 active players which includes 18 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and seven outfielders. At the end of last month, the Twins added three players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. These players were catcher Ben Rortvedt and right-handed pitchers Jordan Balazovic and Bailey Ober. Another player to consider is Fernando Romero who spent the entire season on the restricted list due to visa issues and he is not currently on the 40-man roster.

 

With payrolls expected to decrease next year because of the pandemic, inexpensive talent will be at a premium, so we could see more Rule 5 Draft activity than usual this offseason. As you may know, it costs $100,000 to make a Rule 5 selection. Then that player must remain on the draft team's active roster all year or be offered back to the original team for $50,000. Trades can be worked out as well.

 

Who are some members of the Twins organization that have a chance to be selected? Here’s a quick list:

 

OF Akil Baddoo: Baddoo was the Twins second-round pick back in 2016 out of high school. He played all of 2019 as a 20-year old at Fort Myers, but he was limited to 29 games after undergoing Tommy John surgery. His power and speed could be a valuable asset, especially since he can play centerfield. Would a team be willing to use him as a back-up outfielder for the season?

 

SS Wander Javier: Javier has been one of the team’s top prospects since he was signed, but he missed the entire 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery. The Twins left him unprotected last year and he went unclaimed. He has all the tools and that’s one of the reasons the Twins were high on him when he signed with the club. After another missed season, it seems unlikely for a team to claim him, but the talent is there.

 

RHP Luis Rijo: Like Javier, Rijo was left unprotected last winter and he went unclaimed. Back in 2019, he pitched the entire season at Low-A where he posted a 2.86 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 107 innings as a starter. He has three pitches and can hit the mid-90s with his fastball, which could definitely be intriguing to a rebuilding club. Would a team be able to stash him in their bullpen for the year and help him develop?

 

3B Jose Miranda: Minnesota selected Miranda in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Since that time, he was worked his way through the system as he played nearly all of 2019 at High-A. He’s hit double-digit home runs in two of the last three seasons and he has topped 25 doubles for two consecutive years. His ability to play multiple defensive positions could allow a team to keep him on their bench in a utility role.

 

Other Twins players that could potential be selected include: RHP Griffin Jax, 2B Yunior Severino, OF Gabriel Maciel, LHP Charlie Barnes, LHP Jovani Moran, RHP Tyler Wells, LHP Bryan Sammons, 1B/OF Trey Cabbage, 1B Zander Wiel.

 

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Outfielder Akil Baddoo was selected with the third overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft. He will join the Tigers organization after missing nearly two full seasons of competitive play. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019, but he is expected to be healthy for 2021.

 

Right-handed pitcher Tyler Wells was selected in the second round of the Rule 5 Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Like Baddoo, Wells underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019. Before the injury, he had a 2.49 ERA and a 121 to 31 strikeout to walk ratio in 119 1/3 innings between High- and Double-A.

 

Right-handed pitcher Ricky Ramirez was lost to the Orioles in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. He was the team’s 15th round pick back in 2017. During the 2019 season, posted a 3.80 ERA with a 50 to 18 strikeout to walk ratio in 42 2/3 innings. He has never pitched higher than the Florida State League.

 

Right-handed pitcher Joe Record was selected by the Astros in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. He only made 35 appearances in the Twins organization after being selected in the 28th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Record, a hard thrower, had a 5.07 ERA and a 68 to 16 strikeout to walk ratio over 55 innings back in 2019.

 

In the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, the Twins selected right-handed pitcher Jhonleider Salinas from the Tampa Bay organization. At 6-foot-7, the 25-year old Venezuelan can be an opposing presence on the mound. He split 2019 between High- and Double-A where he had a 3.27 ERA and a 68 to 33 strikeout to walk ratio in 66 innings.

 

Minnesota also picked left-handed pitcher Josh Mitchell from the Royals organization in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. He was a 22nd round pick back in 2017 from the University of Pittsburgh. He pitched all of 2019 at High-A where he had a 3.30 ERA and a 47 to 13 strikeout to walk ratio in 43 2/3 innings.

 

Outfielder Jacob Pearson was picked up by the Atlanta Braves from the Twins organization. Originally, Pearson came to the Twins from the Angles organization for international bonus pool money that was used for signing Shohei Ohtani. During the 2019 season, Pearson hit .233/.303/.338 with 30 extra-base hits in 117 games.

 

Feel free to discuss the Rule 5 draft here as it happens or rumors before and after. The article will be updated after the MLB portion of the Rule 5 and after the Minor League portion of the Rule 5.

 

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Just my opinion, but I'm not certain drafting inexpensive talent will be at a premium. The loss of a full milb season leaves a lot of question marks in regard to development. Further, we aren't sure if rosters will be at 26, 27 or 28 for 2021.

 

There will be non contending teams who will be willing to take a flier here and there. Why Not? But most of them will be looking at the glut of FA offerings to augment their rosters. Why not look at ML options on the cheap, possibly on a 1 + 1 vs drafting a rule 5. Still blown away by the Royals signing Santana to a 2yr deal. He's really going to help push them over the top or going to be a trade piece?

 

Unless someone is just infatuated with a Twins prospect and willing to bet on an expanded roster to keep someone, Jax and Wiel are the only prospects to maybe be selected.

 

NO 2020 milb season, a team COULD see potential in selecting those two based on age and production and ride them.

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I will be surprised if the Twins take a player, but I'll never have a problem with any Twins team (winner or in rebuild mode) taking a shot on a Rule 5 pick. There are plenty of examples that worked out, and if it doesn't, they get sent back. Low risk, normally pretty minimal reward, but every once in awhile, a valuable role player. 

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Honestly I don't see any position players being taken in the Rule V.  If there were a catcher there maybe but none of guys scream take me.  if I was a down on my luck team I would have to say I might be interested in Rijo.  He has a good to great secondary pitch so might be able to make MLB bullpen.  Probably worth a try for some team but I guess we will have to wait and see.  

 

The rest of what the Twins have other teams have so I don't think those players will be worth a Rule V move.  If I am the Twins I would skip grabbing someone in Rule V.  There will be good players on the FA market likely for cheap and they are more proven players and we are at a point where proven players are better than wild cards.

 

I guess we will find out soon enough if we lose Rijo or not.

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I think Baddoo and Miranda legitimately could be taken due to their talent and upside, but missing the full year (and in Baddoo's case, nearly two full years) will make it tough for them to stick.

 

I think pitchers are more likely to be lost. I think Griffin Jax remains a possibility. Tyler Wells is more ready to pitch now than a year ago that soon after Tommy John. And I agree that Rijo is the guy I would hate to see them lose. 

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I think Baddoo and Miranda legitimately could be taken due to their talent and upside, but missing the full year (and in Baddoo's case, nearly two full years) will make it tough for them to stick.

 

I think pitchers are more likely to be lost. I think Griffin Jax remains a possibility. Tyler Wells is more ready to pitch now than a year ago that soon after Tommy John. And I agree that Rijo is the guy I would hate to see them lose. 

I think you are probably right about Badoo he has the speed for center and good power for a center fielder his eye appeared to be good as well. The issue though was his arm is suspect and he had contact issues even at the lower levels.  Most teams have good outfield prospects so given his time off and the fact he may may never hit enough I see him as a long shot at this point.

 

I think Wells would be a tough pick as well since he never had elite velocity and hasn't pitched much in the last two plus years.  I would think there would be better candidates out there with more defined track records or upside.

 

While Jax could be taken again he appears pretty easy to replace and his K9 is not that great. Maybe a move to the pen changes some of that but he seems like a long shot to me.

 

Rijo is the one that worries me and Maybe I am overestimating his ability as I only have second hand reports and have never seen him pitch but he is young with a good enough fastball and a potentially elite secondary pitch.  What's not to like about grabbing a guy like that in the Rule V a guy that looks like he has the upside to be an elite relief arm if not a back end starter.  I think there is a pretty decent chance he gets taken but the scouts know best and we will see how he stacks up to what is out there.

 

 

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One question that may figure into team's thinking regarding the Rule 5 is whether next year's roster will be 25, 26, or 28. Are you aware if this decision has been made?

 

Like many above, will be anxious about possibly losing Rijo. Yet, he was available and not taken last year. Will be shocked if someone take Javier after not taking him last year and his not playing ball last summer. Still shaking my head when I think about his being the biggest signing bonus the Twins ever paid to any International Player. That is correct, isn't it?

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The Orioles took Rickey Ramirez, RHP (Twins) in round one of the AAA minor league Rule 5 draft. I believe he was an A ball player.

 

Houston took Joe Record, RHP (Twins) in round 1 of the AAA minor league rule 5 draft.

 

The Twins took Jhonleider Salinas, RHP (Rays) in round 1 of the AAA minor league rule 5 draft.

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Yeah bummer on Baddoo.  There's a lot of things to like there and if the Tigers need a backup center fielder he could be gone for good.  I still think with the arm issues he ends up in left field but we will see.  I guess they will check out that hit tool first hand and see if he is worth carrying for a whole season.  He would have to contribute to make it worth it.

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Baddoo went 3rd overall, huh? Color me surprised. He hasn't hit much in the low minors, so I don't like his chances of sticking with the Tigers for an entire season. I thought if any of the toolsy young prospects went, it'd be Javier over Baddoo.

 

Losing Wells stinks. If he can stay healthy, I think he'll be a pretty good reliever. It's probably good they held onto Ober so they didn't lose him as well, as I'd put those two in similar categories.

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Shades of Nick Burdi. Two players that the choosing team may be able to disable for most of next year, just needing to find the allocated time to keep them on the major league roster before optioning them to the minors.

 

All players lost are probably behind other players in the organization, and because of a lost 2020 we really don't know...do we?

 

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Josh Mitchell: Lefty, he'll be 26 and not pitched above A+. Minor League ERA of 5.65 and 1.53 WHIP. He must have magic stashed away in his arm they hope to tap into.

Players taken in the AAA phase don't have the roster restrictions on them that the first phase has. It's roster shuffling and nothing more.

 

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Doesn't lessen the wonderment of his acquisition vs the pitchers we lost.

I was reacting mainly to your comment about some kind of hidden magic in an arm. But there's no "versus" when looking at who is coming and who is leaving.

 

The major league phase is based on 40 protected players (plus all the players not yet eligible); there's some possible talent to be had there. The AAA phase comes after a great many additional players are then protected. Every player taken by every team in the AAA phase is viewed as organization filler.

 

The AAA phase isn't some 3-dimension chess match between opposing GMs and their armies of scouts and analytics types. It's just filling in empty spots. We lost a couple of arms during the major-league phase - filling in this way is perhaps more convenient than signing someone to a minor league contract.

 

Again, maybe your comment about "magic" wasn't to be taken too seriously.

 

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After seeing the players who were taken in this years Rule 5 Draft by other teams, I'm pretty sure that the 3 Twins players added to the 40 man, Ober, Balazovic, and Rortvedt would have been taken. Some people were surprised with Rortvedt being added to the 40 man, but there were 7 catchers taken total in AAA, so there were teams looking for catching help. Ober and Balzovic would definitely been taken by some team. I'm very glad that all 3 of these players are very high on the Twin's list of top prospects. 

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"Outfielder Akil Baddoo was selected with the third overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft. He will join the Tigers organization after missing nearly two full seasons of competitive play. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019, but he is expected to be healthy for 2021."

 

Good. Now I can stop reading about a prospect going into his 22 year old season that has never played higher than 29 games in high A and coming off TJ that can never hit that much being a top prospect team prospect. Looks like Falvey didn't think so either, as we only had a 35 roster spots taken going into the draft. I guess the Tigers are hoping he can now miraculously make the show for a complete year. Good luck. You never know, I guess. 

 

And look at the bright side - there is still Javier to write about. He can't hit either, but oh those tools! 

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The use of the disabled list to limit the time players need to stay on the 40 man roster should be a highly frowned upon practice, if it is not legitimate. These 2 Twins prospects have already missed the last 2 seasons of their careers, so being stashed on a roster or heaven forbid bogged down on a disabled list will be crippling to their careers. 

 

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I think Baddoo and Miranda legitimately could be taken due to their talent and upside, but missing the full year (and in Baddoo's case, nearly two full years) will make it tough for them to stick.

 

I think pitchers are more likely to be lost. I think Griffin Jax remains a possibility. Tyler Wells is more ready to pitch now than a year ago that soon after Tommy John. And I agree that Rijo is the guy I would hate to see them lose. 

 

So I guess you were right and I was way wrong on this one.  Baddoo was a highly rated prospect and one my favorites from that draft class but he seems like he might end up a left fielder and is that something most teams need to invest in Rule V picks?  Left field is a position you can run almost anyone out with a decent bat and have them play there.  If he truly is a quality center fielder then this pick makes more sense as there is not as much pressure on the bat he has good plate discipline so could be valuable if he stays there.  The thing is for the Twins is that we already have a ton of quality outfield prospects with more on the way.  Certainly cannot keep them all.  I guess Baddoo is one that will no longer be around unless the Tigers give him back.

 

Wells had a good year a couple of years ago but can you tell me why a team would pick him over a lot of other guys that looked to have better potential.  He was not even a top 30 prospect.  I haven't seen him pitch since he came back but is he really that good or do the O's just want to see him up close?  If he is that good he has a great chance to get to MLB with the O's so happy for him. I just didn't see it coming though, but I guess you have a much better handle on who would be targeted than I do.

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