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Giants lose Conner Menez, five others in MiLB Rule 5 Draft

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The Giants also added a player, outfielder Michael Gigliotti.

San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals - Game Two Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants lost six prospects in Wednesday’s Minor League Rule 5 Draft, and added one. Most notable of the losses is left-handed pitcher Conner Menez, who was the fifth selection in the draft (which ultimately went 51 players deep).

Menez, who was taken by the Chicago Cubs, spent time on the Giants Major League roster in each of the last three seasons, accruing a 4.04 ERA and 5.01 FIP, with 45 strikeouts to 20 walks in 42.1 innings. He was designated for assignment in August when the Giants activated Tommy La Stella off of the Injured List, but he cleared waivers and returned to AAA Sacramento.

With the No. 12 pick, the Giants lost right-handed pitcher Matt Seelinger to the Philadelphia Phillies. Seelinger was the player to be named later when the Giants sent backup catcher Erik Kratz to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019, and had a 3.07 ERA and 4.56 FIP this year in AA, with 64 strikeouts to 31 walks in 41 innings.

With the No. 15 pick, the defending champion Atlanta Braves selected first baseman John Nogowski, whom the Giants signed to a two-year MiLB deal towards the very end of the 2021 season. I didn’t even know that was a thing and, with Nogowski being plucked in the Rule 5 Draft, it doesn’t seem like it’s a very important thing. The 28 year old only played in eight games in the Giants organization, and is a career .233/.299/.308 hitter in 53 MLB games.

Next up on the loss chart was outfielder Vince Fernandez, who went across the bay with the No. 33 pick. A 26-year old left-handed hitter, Fernandez had a decent year in AA, hitting .229/.331/.470, good for a 115 wRC+. He was one of the Giants selections in last year’s Minor League Rule 5 Draft, so he’s clearly getting used to this dance.

With the 40th pick, the Pittsburgh Pirates grabbed infielder Jacob Gonzalez, a 23-year old power bat who struggled with both injuries and performance in 2021, hitting just .174/.252/.250 in 103 plate appearances in High-A.

Finally, the Giants lost right-handed pitcher Jon Duplantier to the Los Angeles Dodgers with pick No. 46. The Giants had signed Duplantier just five days ago, so remember his name, because someone who spends less than a week on the team, in the Minors, during the offseason (of a lockout!) is an excellent bit of trivia to store in that part of your brain reserved for useless crap.

It wasn’t all losses, of course. With the No. 25 pick, the Giants did the sensible thing and dipped into the Tampa Bay Rays reserve, snagging outfielder Michael Gigliotti. A former fourth-round pick by the Kansas City Royals, Gigliotti is a 25-year old left-handed hitting (and fielding) outfielder with lots of speed. His bat is lagging behind his legs, arm, and glove, as he hit just .203/.311/.391 last year in High-A, albeit in just 74 plate appearances.

For those wondering how the Minor League Rule 5 Draft works, it’s not quite as restrictive as the Major League portion. It’s the same crop of players who are Rule 5 eligible, except in the Minor League portion of the draft players can be protected by either being on the 40-man Major League roster, or the 38-player AAA roster.

Teams pay $24,500 to the team they are drafting from, and have to assign the drafted player to AAA. The player can then be reassigned to any level in the Minors, but there has to be initial room on the 38-player AAA roster to accommodate them.

It is perhaps a sign of growth in the farm that the Giants lost six players this year, and only drafted one. It was a different story last year, when they chose three players (Fernandez, right-handed pitcher Ronnie Williams, and second baseman Mitchell Tolman), while only losing one (second baseman Jalen Miller).

With the league currently in a lockout, the Major League Rule 5 Draft cannot take place. It’s a little funny to have the Minor League portion take place while the Major League portion is on hold, but it will presumably still happen when the lockout ends.