So here is my fanpost for last year's Rule 5 draft, where I neglect to mention Steve Johnson at all. Johnson is Rule 5 eligible again this year, but he did not make my top 25 prospect list. There are 2 prospects from last year's class who make this year's top 20. I also called Mike McBryde "very good"...not sure how I can defend that.
Anyway, the Rule 5 draft is different, in terms of drafting philosophy, than the Rule 4 amateur draft (which happens in June) in that in the amateur draft teams never draft for need, because those players are most likely 3-4 years away and it doesn't make sense to assume that far ahead. In the Rule 5 draft though, teams are expecting players to compete for specific roles and possibly make the team.
So with that being said, this top 20 list isn't the best 20 Rule 5 prospects-it's the best prospects that could help the 2011, defending World Champion, San Francisco Giants.
All stats are courtesy of Baseball Reference.
Edit: So the Giants signed Miguel Tejada and none of these SS's qualify as "slick fielding". So now, basically I want the Giants to somehow get Horst, though I wouldn't be shocked if we don't make a pick at all. Anyway now I'd edit this list to where Friday gets pushed down to 7th, Josh Horton gets dropped from the list, and Ryan Adams gets pushed up. Also, Wynn Pelzer who is eligible was traded for Tejada last year, so it would be kinda weird if we got him. Though with his prospect pedigree I think he gets taken before we get to pick. Anyway, Now our 40 man roster is at 39, I believe and we don't have a starting LF-so I doubt we make a pick.
So before I get into the top 20 list, I'll talk about possible Giants who could get selected. I really only see 2 possible players who could leave the organization in the major league Rule 5 draft-Joe Paterson and Brock Bond . Of the two, I think Paterson is more likely. I could see a team that is in need of rebuilding their bullpen taking a flier on him as a LOOGY. I wouldn't be shocked to see Tampa Bay select him as a possible replacement for Randy Choate.
Bond on the other hand is somewhat less likely. He is, of course, the 2B who does a great job of getting on base, but every other tool is fringy. That said, with a fairly weak 2B and 3B market, I wouldn't be surprised to see some team take a shot with him. San Diego, actually makes some sense, due to David Eckstein being a FA-Bond could be a cheap back up plan if they can't sign someone like Orlando Hudson.
I don't see any other players being considered. though Tyler Graham could intrigue a few teams. Anyway on to the list!
1-Brian Friday-SS-Pittsburgh Pirates
2010 Stats (Between GCL, A+, AAA): .261/.354/.383
Career Stats: .272/.360/.387
Friday is a high floor, low ceiling SS out of the Pirates organization who ranks #1 on this list because he has always gotten on base at a decent clip, and could represent a decent emergency option if the Giants aren't able to sign a FA SS or trade for one.
2-Brad Emaus-2B/3B-Toronto Blue Jays
2010 Stats (Between AA/AAA): .298/.395/.495
Career Stats: .276/.364/.426
Emaus represents one of the more ML ready prospects in this draft. The upswing in his 2010 stats probably represent the help he received from playing in Las Vegas. Still he could be a good utility guy, and I don't think he's available when the Giants pick. I actually think Seattle grabs him at #2 and has him hold down the fort at 2B until Dustin Ackley is ready to take over, then Emaus shifts into a utility role.
2010 Stats: (Between A+, AA, AAA): 2.62 ERA, 72 IP, 9.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9
Career Stats: 3.12 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
So I've probably been annoying the hell out of twitter followers with my tweets about Horst. But I looked at his BR page and couldn't look away. He started walking almost a batter less per 9 IP, and striking out almost 1 more batter per 9 IP, and voila he shot up 3 levels. In AA, where Horst spent the majority of his season (46 IP) he had a K:BB of 5.11. If I was doing this list based solely on best prospects, Horst would pretty easily be #1. I can't see anyway Horst makes it past the DBacks, given their need for bullpen help-though I think the Pirates (who have the 1st pick) should probably take him.
4-Ed Lucas-SS-Atlanta Braves.
2010 Stats (AAA): .307/.398/.480
Career Stats: .286/.362/.400
Lucas is an odd candidate for the Rule 5 draft. He was actually recently signed by the Atlanta Braves (after coming from the Royals) but since he was signed to a minor league deal and was a 6 year FA he is still Rule V eligible. His 2010 was probably helped in large part by the PCL parks, but he, like Friday, is a good emergency plan at SS. I like Friday more, mainly because he is younger.
5-Marquez Smith-3B-Chicago Cubs
2010 Stats (Between AA and AAA): .297/.371/.556
Career Stats: .283/.358/.481
Smith has put up consistently solid numbers through his minor league career, including a big year at AAA (probably PCL aided too). I think he could be an interesting pick for the Giants if they want to challenge Pablo Sandoval to take hold of his starting job, while protecting themselves from the fact that Mark DeRosa's wrist could be jelly.
6-Adam Ottavino-RHP-St. Louis Cardinals
2010 Stats (AAA): 3.97 ERA, 47.2 IP, 8.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9
Career Stats: 4.14 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 4.2 BB/9
Ottavino was a first round pick in 2006, who really struggled with the transition to the upper minors. This year his peripherals improved (though it was in only 47.2 IP, which would probably be roughly 2 months?) so the sample is small. Still if he has turned a corner and we can stash him in our bullpen-either as a power arm out of the back end of the bullpen or a long reliever-he could be a steal.
7-Matt Lawson-2B-Seattle Mariners
2010 Stats (AA): .293/.372/.440
Career Stats: .283/.352/.407
So Matt Lawson always reminds me of former Twins OF Matt Lawton, who according to BR isn't as good as I remember him being. Lawson was the last piece of the Cliff Lee trade. He will probably be a utility infielder in the majors, but I find him intriguing because he improved as a hitter after moving up to AA from the Cal League-which rarely happens. He could be worth a flier if he has turned a corner in his swing.
8-Zach Simons-RHP-Detroit Tigers
2010 Stats (Between AA and AAA): 2.70 ERA, 70 IP, 9.3 K/9, 3.6 BB/9
Career Stats: 3.97 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 3.7 BB/9
Simons was initially drafted by the Rockies before being traded to the Tigers for Pitcher Jason Grilli (who was a former Giants 1st round pick). Simons is interesting because this year he kept walking the same amount of guys, but striking out 2 more batters per 9 IP.
9-Nick Hill-LHP-Seattle Mariners
2010 Stats (AA): 4.22 ERA, 42.2 IP, 7.8 K/9, 3.8 BB/9
Career Stats: 3.62 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 2.9 BB/9
So, 2010 was a bad year for Nick Hill as all his stats got worse in his second year at AA. His low inning count, however could mean he was bothered by an injury all year and was never right. If you believe that this year was just a result of a nagging injury he could be worth taking a flier on because power lefties are always valuable.
10-Jason Rice-RHP-Boston Red Sox
2010 Stats (AA): 2.85 ERA, 60 IP, 10.6 K/9, 4.5 BB/9
Career Stats: 3.95 ERA, 9.8 K/9, 5.3 BB/9
So 2010 was something of a breakout year for Rice. He improved his K/9 and BB/9 as much as Jeremy Horst did. That said he is still walking too many guys, which is the reason he is being left unprotected for the 2nd year in a row. Given the Giants affinity for power relievers with questionable control (Bautista, Casilla, Runzler, Affeldt etc) I would not be surprised if they took a chance on Rice.
11-Mark Hamburger-RHP-Texas Rangers
2010 Stats (Between A+ and AA): 2.20 ERA, 65.1 IP, 9.5 K/9, 3.6 BB/9
Career Stats: 3.41 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9
Hamburger not only has the most delicious name, he also has an interesting story. In 2008 he was
released by the Twins traded for Eddie Guardado (thanks to LionsRoar10 in the comments) despite putting up decent numbers. The Rangers took a chance and he stuck with them. He's another guy who's K/9 increased while his ERA decreased (Correlation possibly = causation, in this scenario?)
12-Ryan Adams-2B-Baltimore Orioles
2010 Stats (AA): .298/.365/.464
Career Stats: .287/.354/.426
Adams is actually a pretty good comp for the Giants Charlie Culberson-Both were SS's drafted out of HS in the South (Adams in Louisiana, Culberson in Georgia) who had to move to 2nd for defensive purposes and are shaky even there. Adams, however is probably a worse fielder than Culberson. But Adams, like Matt Lawson saw his hitting increase after a move to AA. Adams was also rated the #8 prospect in the Orioles system by Baseball America.
13-Jonathan Joseph-RHP-Oakland A's
2010 Stats (Between SS and A-) : 3.05 ERA, 94.1 IP, 8.6 K/9, 3.8 BB/9
Career Stats: 4.30 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 3.8 BB/9
Joseph is a more typical Rule 5 selection-a live arm who is a long ways away, that teams try to hide on their roster for the whole season. I have Joseph here mainly because I have a feeling (no idea why) that he'll be better than the other raw arms (namely, the Yankees Jairo Heredia).
14-Scott Diamond-LHP-Atlanta Braves
2010 Stats (AA and AAA): 3.46 ERA, 158.2 IP, 7.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9
Career Stats: 3.28 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Diamond is more of a finesse lefty than a power arm. He profiles as a back end starter or middle reliever, but I've always been interested in him (again, I'm not sure why). One concern about selecting him-when he was promoted to AAA his K/9 decreased by 2.6.
15-Wynn Pelzer-RHP-Baltimore Orioles
2010 Stats (AA): 4.25 ERA, 114.1 IP, 8.1 K/9, 5.0 BB/9
Career Stats: 3.86 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 3.6 BB/9
Pelzer was the pitcher the Padres sent to the Orioles for Miguel Tejada. He had a tough year adjusting to AA and his BB/9 rose by 1.4. He was still rated in the Orioles top 10 by BA, coming in at #6-which probably says a lot about the state of the O's system if 2 of their top 10 prospects are Rule 5 eligible.
16-Craig Heyer-RHP-New York Yankees.
2010 Stats (A+) : 3.52 ERA, 92 IP, 6.5 K/9, 0.6 BB/9
Career Stats : 2.96 ERA, 5.1 K/9, 1.3 BB/9
So Craig Heyer proved it is possible to lower a 1.3 BB/9. He's not a power arm but he literally doesn't walk anybody. In 2010 he walked 6 people, and had a K:BB of 11. I think he was destined to get picked by the Twins-I mean is there a more perfect fit?
17-Josh Horton-SS-Oakland A's
2010 Stats (Between A+ and AA): .286/.353/.364
Career Stats: .278/.358/.362
Josh Horton was the SS on the North Carolina teams that featured the prominent pitching duo of Andrew Miller and Daniel Bard. He has shown good patience with the bat (shocking from an A's player, I know) but the reason he rates so far below Lucas and Friday is because A): He doesn't have experience at AAA-so not quite as ML ready and B): He is supposed to be pretty bad defensively.
18-George Kontos-RHP-New York Yankees
2010 Stats (Between A+, AA, AAA): 3.60 ERA, 45 IP, 7.6 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Career Stats: 3.47 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9
This was Kontos' first year removed from TJ surgery and the noticeable difference is his drop in K/9. He was thught of as a fairly good prospect before his surgery, and usually TJ recoverees get their stuff back. Kontos is worth a gamble if you think his stuff and K's will return.
19-Pedro Beato-RHP-Baltimore Orioles.
2010 Stats (AA): 2.11 ERA, 59.2 IP, 7.5 K/9, 2.9 BB/9
Career Stats: 4.21 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 3.2 BB/9
Beato was a 1st round pick from the Orioles in 2006 who has been a major disappointment. He only posted a K/9 over 7 twice-In SS ball in 2006 and in 2010 in his second year in AA. He is still only 23 so there is potential, but he has shown he has had problems missing bats.
20-Paulo Orlando-OF-Kansas City Royals
2010 Stats (AA): .305/.366/.480
Career Stats: .268/.316/.406
Orlando was signed by the White Sox out of Brazil-a country not known for its baseball exports. He was mainly a track and field guy who had to learn to play baseball. He was shipped to KC for Horacio Ramirez Orlando finally hit this year in AA. He's not ready to hit in the majors, but he could be a 5th OF/PR right now.
5 Others to watch
1-Koby Clemens-1B-Houston Astros. Has good patience, but probably not enough power for a 1B.
3-Aneury Rodriguez-RHP-Tampa Bay Rays. He's getting mentioned a lot in Rule 5 talk but IMO he either needs to improve his K/9 (7.3) or lower his BB/9 (3.7). Props for symmetry though.
4-Jairo Heredia-RHP-New York Yankees. Good command for a raw arm (BB/9 under 3).
5-Adam Loewen-OF-Toronto Blue Jays. Converted LHP taking the anti Rick Ankiel approach to hitting-Loewen has good patience, but not enough power for a corner OF spot.