The Rule 5 draft will be held in the first week of December at the Winter Meetings, but rosters needed to be finalized to protect players today. The Rule 5 draft is a way to allow organizations to select players from other organization that may be blocked. Among the players selected in the Rule 5 draft include Dan Uggla, Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana, and Royals reliever Joakim Soria.
Today the Royals added Jake Junis, Andrew Edwards, Cam Gallagher, and Samir Duenez to the 40-man roster. Tim Collins and Tony Cruz were taken off the roster and become free agents. The moves put the Royals at the 40-man roster limit, and while they can still make trades and sign free agents, they cannot add any more minor leaguers to be protected.
Who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft? College players drafted in 2013 or earlier and high school and international players signed in 2012 or earlier are eligible to be drafted.
Who are the players the Royals protected?
Jake Junis - He seems likely to be added after posting a 3.25 ERA in A Northwest Arkansas with nearly a strikeout per inning before being promoted to Omaha. The right-hander isn’t a top prospect, but he has a chance to become a mid-rotation starting pitcher, and at age 24 he could contribute as soon as next year.
Andrew Edwards - Edwards was having a nice season until he gave up 11 runs in his last six outings for Omaha, leaving him with an ugly ERA of 5.40. That could allow the 25-year old right-hander to pass through the draft unprotected, however his upper-90s fastball may be reason enough for a team to take a gamble on him. Edwards struggles with command, walking 6.0 per-nine-innings last year, while striking out 10.6.
Samir Duenez - First basemen are much less likely to be selected than pitchers. Duenez seemed like a promising prospect a few years ago, but was underwhelming until this year. Even then, his line of .284/.336/.438 isn’t eye-popping and the 20-year old left-handed hitter is unlikely to be selected, but the Royals decided not to take the chance.
Cam Gallagher - Catchers aren’t often selected, but a team may want to take a flyer on a backup. Gallagher has been lauded for his defense, but hasn’t hit much in his career. He had one of his best offensive seasons last year, but it was still a bit underwhelming at .259/.348/.359 with four home runs in 91 games for AA Northwest Arkansas.
That leaves the following players unprotected for the Rule 5 draft.
Jonathan Dziedzic - Lefty relievers seem to be a popular choice in the Rule 5 draft, so Dziedzic may draw some interest if he is left unprotected. His 4.05 ERA in Omaha is nothing to write home about, but a move to the bullpen could help him bring down his walks and become an effective situational reliever..
Pedro Fernandez - Fernandez seems like the kind of pitcher that could be a surprise pick. The 22-year old has never put up spectacular numbers, but he has held his own at each level despite being one of the younger players in the league. The right-hander was promoted to AA Northwest Arkansas mid-season, posting a 4.03 ERA, but with a poor strikeout-to-walk ratio. A move to the bullpen could benefit him, and a team could be interested in him due to his age.
Daniel Stumpf - Stumpf was selected last year by the Phillies but was returned after allowing six runs in five innings. He put up terrific numbers in a short stint with AA Northwest Arkansas after he rejoined the Royals. He is left-handed which could make him a possibility to be selected again.
Onelki Garcia - The Royals signed Garcia as a minor league free agent a few weeks ago out of the Mexican Leagues, but he is eligible to be drafted in the Rule 5. The Cuban-born left-hander has brief Major League experience and struck out 72 in 56 innings in the upper minors in 2015.
Luke Farrell - Farrell has put up a good ERA in his career, but has underwhelming peripherals. The 25-year old son of Red Sox manager John Farrell has a pretty low ceiling, so he is not a very good bet to be selected.
Zach Lovvorn - The 22-year old right-hander has progressed slowly, and has yet to pitch above A ball so far, making it unlikely he is chosen. He posted a 3.95 ERA as a starter for Wilmington this year with decent, but not great peripherals.
Christian Binford - The 23-year old right-hander has regressed the past two years since being named to the Futures Game in 2014. Binford had a 5.28 ERA in 19 games for AAA Omaha last year with an underwhelming strikeout-to-walk ratio. He seems like a long-shot to get selected, but perhaps a team will see promise in him from his earlier seasons.
Jake Newberry - The right-hander put up his best season this year with a 2.56 ERA out of the bullpen for Low A Lexington and High A Wilmington. He has shown an ability to miss some bats and at age 21, still has some potential. However he would have to make a big jump to the big leagues if he was drafted, and he was sent home from the Arizona Fall League after just two innings, suggesting maybe he got hurt.
Glenn Sparkman - Sparkman’s career got off to a terrific start until injuries sidelined him. He had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and had a 5.22 ERA in 60 1⁄3 innings last year across four levels. He is 24 years old and an injury risk, so he is unlikely to be selected.
Other possibilities: P Bryan Brickhouse, P Andrew Ferguson, P Ashton Goudeau, P Kyle Bartsch, P Sam Selman, P Mark Peterson, 1B Frank Schwindel, 3B Mauricio Ramos, OF Alfredo Escalera