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Royals lose four pitchers in the minor league Rule 5 draft

Grant Gavin is one of four arms the Royals lose.

Minda Haas Kuhlmann

The Royals lost four pitchers in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, held on Wednesday. The San Diego Padres selected right-hander Grant Gavin, the Boston Red Sox selected left-hander Austin Lambright, the Miami Marlins selected left-hander Robert Garcia, and the Atlanta Braves selected left-hander Luis De Avila.

The 26-year old Gavin posted a 4.36 ERA with 92 strikeouts and 35 walks in 74 13 innings for Triple-A Omaha last year. He attended St. Pius X High School in Kansas City, then the University of Central Missouri. The Royals made him a 29th-round pick in the 2016 draft, and he has steadily risen through the system with good numbers at each level. He has a 3.02 ERA in 295 minor league innings, and had a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings in the Arizona Fall League in 2018. He throws in the low-90s with a breaking ball.

Lambright was originally a tenth-round pick in the 2018 draft out of the University of Central Oklahoma, where he missed a year following Tommy John surgery. He struggled with walks in his first season of pro ball, but struck out 74 in 47 13 innings in 2019 in Low-A and High-A combined with a 2.85 ERA. The 27-year old did not pitch at all last year due to injury.

Garcia was a 15th round pick in 2017 out of the University of California-Davis. He was rocked in the Pioneer League in his first season but rebounded with a 1.94 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 46 13 innings in 2018. Last year he posted a 5.63 ERA with 60 strikeouts and 23 walks in 48 innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Garcia throws in the low-90s with a slider and change up.

De Avila was signed out of Colombia, but did not get into an affiliated game stateside until this year. He pitched in 27 games for Low-A Columbia with a 4.99 ERA and 64 strikeouts and 24 walks in 57 23 innings.

The minor league Rule 5 draft is different than the MLB Rule 5 draft, which was postponed until the lockout is over. In the minor league Rule 5 draft, any player that is eligible for the MLB Rule 5 draft and is not on the Triple-A 38-man roster can be selected. Any team that selects a player must pay $24,500 to the original team, but unlike the MLB Rule 5 draft, the selected player is not required to stay on any particular roster all season. Very few players from the minor league Rule 5 draft ever make the big leagues, but a few have had an impact such as Justin Bour, Omar Narvaez, Alejandro De Aza, and Tyler Gilbert.

The Royals had a full Triple-A roster, and were not able to make a selection. Former Royals minor league outfielder Michael Gigliotti was selected by the Giants from the Rays organization. A few former big leaguers were selected in this year’s minor league Rule 5 draft such as first baseman John Nogowski, second baseman Andrew Young, outfielder Ronnie Dawson, and pitchers Jon Duplantier and Carson Fulmer. You can see a complete list of selections here.