Updated: Nov 16
As we showed in the Off-Season Outline the teams in the MLB must set a 40-man roster they want for the 2023 season on 11/15. These players will be protected from the Rule 5 draft.
So what IS the Rule 5 draft and why is it important?
Held each December, the Rule 5 Draft allows clubs without a full 40-man roster to select certain non-40-man roster players from other clubs. Clubs draft in reverse order of the standings from the previous season. Players signed at age 18 or younger need to be added to their club's 40-Man roster within five seasons or they become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Players who signed at age 19 or older need to be protected within four seasons.
Not every club will make a selection, but those that do pick a player must pay $100,000 to the club from which said player was selected. Rule 5 Draft picks are assigned directly to the drafting club's 26-man roster and must be placed on outright waivers in order to be removed from the 26-man roster in the subsequent season. Should the player clear waivers, he must be offered back to his previous team for $50,000 and can be outrighted to the Minors only if his original club does not wish to reacquire him. A Rule 5 Draft pick can be placed on the Major League injured list, but he must be active for a minimum of 90 days to avoid being subject to the aforementioned roster restrictions in the next campaign.
Clubs may trade a player selected in the Rule 5 Draft, but the same restrictions apply to the player's new organization. However, a club may also work out a trade with the Rule 5 pick's original club to acquire his full rights, thereby allowing him to be optioned to the Minors under traditional circumstances.
Ok that's what it is but why is it important? Today is the day that teams set their official 40-man roster list of players that are PROTECTED from this Rule 5 draft. If a team signs another player between now and 12/8 (draft day), they must add that player to the 40-man roster. If the roster is full they must DFA a player and that player would be exposed to the normal waiver process where there is no compensation.
Also, Marwin Gonzalez was taken in the Rule 5 draft in 2011 by Boston and the new Houston GM Jeff Luhnow traded for him almost immediately. Gonzalez was the very first player Luhnow acquired for the Astros. Such diamonds in the rough can be rare. Joe Record and Seth Martinez came to the Astros in the AAA portion of the Rule 5 draft in December of 2020.
The Rule 5 draft was canceled last year due to the lockout. IF the draft had occurred Yainer Diaz was left unprotected and would have been drafted. He would have never been an Astros player. The cancelled draft last year means there are nearly twice as many players that teams might consider to on the bubble of Rule 5 draftees. It could be crazy this year.
I have taken the Fangraphs.com Roster Resource page for the Astros and developed a few lists. If a player is not on any of these lists he is not eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
Here is the results that were announced today. Instead of taking 3 players off (Taylor, Blanco, Paredes) and adding 5, the Astros chose to ONLY add 1- JP France
This means these 4 who I thought that the Astros would add, they didn't. These 4 I think are most at risk for the Rule 5 draft on 12/8.
This group are also possible to be taken.
This is the remainder of what I originally wrote.
First the 26-man active roster plus one injured player (there is no IL exemption for this). This is the assumed roster if the Astros were to play today. I might tweak a couple but for this purpose it is irrelevant.
This list has 27 players so we can add 13 more or leave ourselves with a couple of extra slots to draft players from other teams.
Who else should we add to protect from the draft?
Here is my list of players I THINK should be protected.
In the ranking columns I included the
I will admit I am NOT the prospect expert. I intend to use this article to get feedback and see what others say. This list will likely change right up to the deadline as I learn more.
So that takes us to 37. Here is the group I consider to be on the bubble and these players I would LEAVE OFF.
There are some big prospect names here. IF this list was left for the draft some of these would be selected. A few of these players have been in the MLB already. If this were implemented I would be taking off Taylor, Paredes, and Blanco. This is really hard. If they keep these guys, others in the red list need to not be added.
Many times in the week or two before the Rule 5 draft a team will trade players they know have value that they don't think they want to protect to a team that can use that player. In these deals they will seek a younger prospect that does not need to be added to the 40 man roster.
All of these players are likely to be part of trade discussions but without a real GM, I am not sure the Astros have a capacity to make this kind of deal. Do they have the needed scouting staff to know what prospects to get? I assume so but are those people engaged or are they upset with how their boss was treated?
I added the baseballtradevalues.com trade values for each of the players on the second two lists. You can go to that site if trades happen or if you want to imagine some trades on your own.
Let me know who you think I have wrong. Who should come off the blue list or the red list? Who should be added from the green list? If you want to add a green list player who are you taking off to add them?
Let me give you two more lists- one for position players and one for pitchers. This is the full list of the Rule 5 eligible players that I don't think will be protected. The green list bubble players are on these lists.
For those of accessing the site via mobile device, you may have a better experience now and also on the "Spaces by Wix" app. Let me know if this helps!
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