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.
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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