Potential “Rule 5 Kids”
Yesterday was the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster to protect them from being exposed to the Rule 5 draft that will take place on Dec. 7 at the Winter Meetings. We mentioned earlier who the Mariners added, but here are some players that other teams left exposed that could warrant a selection. Like the amateur (Rule 4) draft in June, the Mariners will have the second selection for the Rule 5. Confused by all of this? Here’s a Rule 5 primer.
Edited (twice) to remove players that aren’t actually available…
TheÂ “Too Good To Be True” Group was, in fact, too good to be true. J at Mariners Minors is the man.
Donald Veal â€” LHP â€” Cubs
The Cubs drafted Veal out of Pima (Ariz.) Community College in the second round of the 2005 draft. With an above-average fastball and a good curve, Veal breezed through his first four levels and ranked as BA’s No. 2 prospect after the 2006 season. In 2007, the Cubs sent Veal to Double A Tennessee, where he struggled for the first time as a professional, slipping to sixth on the Cubs’ prospect list last winter. He repeated the level this year as a 23-year-old, but actually took a little step back. On the bright side, he struck out 123 batters over 145.1 innings, but on the other hand he also walked 81. The walks are a real concern, but there’s enough to like that a team will certainly take a chance on his upside.
Jordan Brown â€” 1B â€” Indians
Brown was a fourth-round selection out of the University of Arizona in 2005. He destroyed Double A pitching last year, hitting .333/.421/.484 over 483 at-bats for the Akron Aeros, earning the No. 7 position on BA’s Indians prospect list. This year, Brown was assigned to Triple A Buffalo and his numbers, while not horrible, came back down to Earth a bit. Over 420 at-bats, the stocky lefty hit .281/.337/.417. More of a gap hitter, he had 30 doubles and seven home runs on the season. Brown was playing winter ball in the Dominican before a foot injury ended his season.
Not that the Mariners are in any real need, but there are a few interesting catchers available…
James Skelton â€” C â€” Tigers
Listed at just 165 pounds, Skelton is small for a catcher. It’s surprising that the Tigers left him exposed, especially when you consider the numbers he put up and the other catchers in their system. At 22-years-old, Skelton reached Double A this year and over his career, he’s a .292/.416/.400 hitter. That’s going to draw some interest.
Bobby Wilson â€” C â€” Angels
This is a weird one. Anyone know what happened to this guy? He hit well this year and even got a cup of coffee, but now he’s no longer on the Angels’ roster and I can’t find a transaction to explain what happened to him. He hit .312/.381/.435 last year in Salt Lake, so if he is indeed available, he could certainly be a useful backup.
Bench Players and Bullpen Arms
Brad Coon â€” OF â€” Angels
Coon is a left-handed hitter that put up a .306/.406/.380 line this season over 337 at-bats in Salt Lake and the numbers aren’t too far off of his career percentages. He can play center field and has 147 stolen bases over his minor-league career, making him an ideal fourth outfielder.
Jeremy Slayden â€” OF â€” Phillies
Slayden was the Phillies’ eight-round pick in 2005 out of Georgia Tech. While he’s always been old for his level, he’s been consistently impressive, posting a career line of .294/.377/.480
Bubba Bell â€” OF â€” Red Sox
Bell is another fourth-outfielder type. He’s already 25 and has only gotten to Double A, but his .309/.388/.497 career line is impressive.
Eduardo Morlan â€” RHP â€” Rays
Morlan was one of the six players exchanged in the Delmon Young for Matt Garza swap last winter. He has a big-time fastball and slider and it’s surprising he wasn’t protected. His strikeout rate wasn’t jaw-dropping like it had been in the lower levels, but he struck out nearly a batter an inning as a 22-year-old in Double A. Every team could find a spot in their bullpen for an arm like Morlan’s.