The final day of the winter meetings Thursday means it’s time for all 30 teams to partake in the annual Major League Baseball Rule 5 draft, though clubs are under no obligation to make a selection.
For those new to the process or just in need of a reminder, per MLB.com, the Rule 5 draft involves players not currently on a 40-man roster who have been in professional baseball for at least five years, if they signed at 18 years old, and four years, if they signed at 19 years old.
Like the amateur draft in June, the selection order is determined by the reverse order of records from the previous season. Teams can pick or pass when their turn comes up, but if they pass, they forfeit the right to make a selection in subsequent rounds.
Players selected must remain on their new team’s 25-man MLB roster for the entire season or they are offered back to their original team for a minuscule financial payment.
With that out of the way, here are the players whose names were called during the 2016 MLB Rule 5 draft, per MLB.com.
|Selection (Overall Pick)||Team||Player (Original Team)|
|1||Minnesota Twins (Traded to San Diego Padres)||Miguel Diaz, RHP (Milwaukee Brewers)|
|2||Cincinnati Reds (Traded to San Diego Padres)||Luis Torrens, C (New York Yankees)|
|3||San Diego Padres||Allen Cordoba, SS (St. Louis Cardinals)|
|4||Tampa Bay Rays||Kevin Gadea, RHP (Seattle Mariners)|
|5||Atlanta Braves||Armando Rivero, RHP (Chicago Cubs)|
|6 (7)||Arizona Diamondbacks||Tyler Jones, RHP (New York Yankees)|
|7 (9)||Milwaukee Brewers||Caleb Smith, LHP (New York Yankees)|
|8 (10)||Los Angeles Angels (Traded to Minnesota Twns)||Justin Haley, RHP (Boston Red Sox)|
|9 (12)||Chicago White Sox||Dylan Covey, RHP (Oakland Athletics)|
|10 (13)||Pittsburgh Pirates||Tyler Webb, LHP (New York Yankees)|
|11 (20)||Detroit Tigers||Daniel Stumpf, LHP (Kansas City Royals)|
|12 (23)||Baltimore Orioles||Aneury Tavarez, 2B (Boston Red Sox)|
|13 (24)||Toronto Blue Jays||Glenn Sparkman, RHP (Kansas City Royals)|
|14 (26)||Boston Red Sox||Josh Rutledge, INF (Colorado Rockies)|
|15 (27)||Cleveland Indians||Holby Milner, LHP (Philadelphia Phillies)|
|16 (29)||Texas Rangers||Michael Hauschild, RHP (Houston Astros)|
|17 (32)||Cincinnati Reds||Stuart Turner, C (Minnesota Twins)|
|18 (53)||Baltimore Orioles||Anthony Santander, OF (Cleveland Indians)|
Miguel Diaz to Minnesota Twins (Traded to San Diego Padres)
Matt York/Associated Press
The San Diego Padres took a gamble on the upside of oft-injured, hard-throwing right-hander Miguel Diaz by making a trade with the Minnesota Twins, who took him with the first overall pick.
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reported the deal between the Padres and Twins for Diaz. J.J. Cooper of Baseball America reported San Diego also appeared to be making a deal for catcher Luis Torrens, who was taken second by the Cincinnati Reds.
Diaz was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic. He made his professional debut the following season, but he has been unable to stay on the field for any length of time prior to 2016.
He suffered a fractured elbow in 2015 that required surgery, keeping him to just 20.1 innings all season.
Last year, Diaz did set career highs in games (26), starts (15), innings pitched (94.2) and strikeouts (91) in the Midwest League (Low-A). The Padres also have an affiliate in that league, so their scouts certainly got a look at him in 2016.
There is plenty of talent for the Twins to work with, as Diaz’s scouting report on MLB.com suggests:
When healthy, Diaz’s lightning-quick arm generates a fastball in the mid-90s with late movement from a high three-quarters slot. His slider, thrown in the 75-77 mph range with good lateral action, has the chance to be an out pitch if he can throw it for strikes. His changeup lags behind his two other offerings, but club officials believe it will become an effective third pitch for him once he creates better velocity separation relative to his heater.
The problem is Diaz has had so little time to develop in games because of his injuries, so despite being 22 years old, he’s only thrown 236 innings in five seasons.
The Padres have gone all-in on rebuilding their roster, so taking a chance on a promising young arm who throws hard out of the bullpen is hardly a bad strategy for them to take.
That’s asking a lot of a player who has never pitched beyond Low-A, though at least the Padres can see where Diaz is at during spring training to make a final determination.
Anthony Santander to Baltimore Orioles
The last pick of the MLB Rule 5 draft is one of its most intriguing. Anthony Santander has not been lauded during his time in the Cleveland Indians system but has posted solid offensive numbers over the past two seasons.
Though he only played 72 games due to injuries in an abbreviated 2015 season, Santander played in a career high 128 games last season and posted a .290/.368/.494 slash line with High-A Lynchburg.
Tony Lastoria of Indians Baseball Insider noted some similarities between Santander’s swing and a former Cleveland All-Star:
He shows above average power with the potential to be more as he continues to mature and add strength to his frame and also refines his approach so he can get to his power more consistently. He attacks the baseball from both sides of the plate well with some quick wrists and good bat speed, but is also a well-rounded hitter who shows a feel for hitting and the ability to control the bat through the zone. He has an advanced, fundamental swing that is clean and well developed for his age, and has a load and leg kick that is similar to former Indian Victor Martinez.
This isn’t to suggest Santander will become Martinez at the plate, because Martinez has been one of MLB’s best hitters over the past decade, but there are raw tools for the Baltimore Orioles to work with.
In this current era of the Rule 5 draft, where everything is so watered down to the point it’s virtually impossible to turn these picks into anything meaningful, Santander is the perfect pick because he’s a quality hitter with power who might give a team something, even if it’s just as a fourth outfielder.
Justin Haley to Los Angeles Angels (Traded to Twins)
The Twins stocked up on intriguing pitchers in this draft, making a trade with the Los Angeles Angels to acquire right-handed starter Justin Haley.
Per Bernie Pleskoff of Today’s Knuckleball, the Twins are expected to send cash back to the Angels in the deal.
Haley spent significant time at Triple-A last season for the Boston Red Sox. He pitched 85.1 innings over 14 starts at that level with a 3.59 ERA. He didn’t overpower opposing hitters, with 67 strikeouts at Pawtucket, but he only allowed 70 hits.
Per Cooper, Haley is able to succeed on a combination of command and quality off-speed pitches:
As a starter, Haley’s velocity ticked up as the season warmed up. Late in the season he was sitting 90-92, but his fastball plays up because he locates it well. He also has an above-average slider as well as a useable curveball and changeup. He was dominant in Double-A this year and solid in Triple-A as a starter.
Haley fits the old Twins model of starting pitching that featured the likes of Carl Pavano, Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn: throw a lot of strikes and rack up innings.
Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press heard another comp for Haley:
Justin Haley has some Chris Young to him, I’m told. Tall guy with some deception and good downhill plane. #mntwins
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) December 8, 2016
It's not a glamorous profile, but the Twins are coming off a 103-loss season and just need to find starters who are capable of giving them innings to ease pressure on the bullpen.
Among the players selected during the draft, Haley is one of the few who actually has a strong chance to stick in the big leagues with his new team in 2017.