The season is over, but the off-season transactions haven’t really begun yet, so it is a bit of a dead time here at Royals Review. I did have an interesting email the other day from a baseball fan named H.W. Linwood that got my baseball-nerd senses tingling. What if there was an expansion draft this off-season? Say MLB was expanding to two more franchises this winter (they’re probably overdue for expansion, this is the longest period without teams being added since expansion began, despite a more international talent pool).
He set forth the following guidelines, which mirror the expansion draft protection guidelines from the 1997 expansion draft when the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks were added.
The guidelines are as follows:
-Each existing MLB team protects 15 players in Round 1. All players with full or partial no trade clauses must be among these 15.
-One player from each organization is then selected by the expansion teams.
-Each existing team then protects three more players.
-Another round of expansion picks, one from each team.
-Each existing team protects three more players before the third and final round of the draft.
-Both major and minor league players are eligible for the draft unless exempt. Minor league players are exempt (and need not be placed on protected lists) if they are a college draftee from 2017 or 2018, a high school draftee from 2016, 2017, or 2018, or an international amateur signing from 2016, 2017, or 2018. If a player is on the MLB roster (i.e. Ohtani) these exemptions do not apply.
-Pending free agents need not be protected.
Keeping this in mind, who would you protect from the Royals?
Alex Gordon has 10/5 rights (players with 10 years of service time and the last 5 with one team can block any trade) so he MUST be protected. Here are the other players on the 40-man roster who would be eligible to be drafted:
Catchers: Cam Gallagher, Salvador Perez, Meibrys Viloria
Infielders: Cheslor Cuthbert, Hunter Dozier, Samir Duenez, Kelvin Gutierrez, Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Ryan O’Hearn, Ramon Torres
Outfielders: Jorge Bonifacio, Brian Goodwin, Rosell Herrera, Paulo Orlando, Brett Phillips, Jorge Soler, Bubba Starling
Pitchers: Jason Adam, Scott Barlow, Danny Duffy, Heath Fillmyer, Brian Flynn, Jesse Hahn, Jason Hammel, Tim Hill, Jakob Junis, Nate Karns, Brad Keller, Ian Kennedy, Ben Lively, Jorge Lopez, Andres Machado, Brandon Maurer, Kevin McCarthy, Jake Newberry, Trevor Oaks, Wily Peralta, Eric Skoglund, Burch Smith, Glenn Sparkman, Jerry Vasto
Here are the top minor leaguers who would be eligible:
Catchers: Xavier Fernandez, Chase Vallot
Infielders: Ricky Aracena, D.J. Burt, Gabriel Cancel, Jecksson Flores, Travis Jones, Nicky Lopez, Emmanuel Rivera, Frank Schwindel
Outfielders: Nick Heath, Rudy Martin, Erick Mejia, Anderson Miller, Blake Perkins, Kort Peterson
Pitchers: Scott Blewett, Bryan Brickhouse, Cristian Castillo, Garrett Davila, Gerson Garabito, Grant Gavin, Ofreidy Gomez, Foster Griffin, Arnaldo Hernandez, Carter Hope, Josh Kalish, Zach Lovvorn, Richard Lovelady, Yunior Marte, Emilio Ogando, Sam Selman, Walker Sheller, Josh Staumont, Jace Vines, Nolan Watson
Players with no big league experience are less likely to be taken, but are you going to risk that the new franchise won’t take Nicky Lopez or Richard Lovelady? Do you gamble and leave Danny Duffy off thinking a new team won’t want his contract or do you protect him?
Give me your 15 that you would initially protect, then your top four that you would add after round one (in case one of them is selected). If you want, you can even list four more additions for round two, and four more for round three.
Who do you think would be most likely to be selected by our hypothetical franchises? I’ll take your input, create our expansion protection roster, then Linwood will take protected rosters from all teams and conduct an expansion draft. I’ll point you to the results when it is completed.