Who gets protected from the Rule 5 Draft?

Rosters must be set by tomorrow (I don’t know if they need to be set by tonight at 11:59pm or by some point during Tuesday) to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft. The draft will take place December 6th and a team can select an eligible, unprotected player for the sum of $50,000 and must keep them on the 25 man roster all season or return the player to their original team along with $25,000. It is a rather cheap way to add talent, but it is also often a very risky thing as you are selecting guys who have some talent, but have enough questions about them that the team who has been molding their talents didn’t think they warranted even being on the 40 man roster at this point in time. The two biggest names to come in the modern version of the Rule 5 draft was when the Reds paid the Cubs to draft Josh Hamilton for them and when the Twins snatched up Johan Santana from the Astros.

The guys who are eligible for the Reds this year if left unprotected would be anyone who signed at age 19 and has been a professional for 4 or more years or anyone who signed at 18 or younger and has been a professional for 5 or more years. That means from the drafted players any college player selected in 2009 or earlier or a high school player selected in 2008 or earlier.

Here is the list of guys who are eligible and I believe have even an ounce of a chance of being selected:

Player POS Quick Scouting Report
Brian Pearl RHP RP with low 90s FB, big GB guy, AA was a hurdle this year.
Carlos Contreras
RHP RP with big fastball, plus change up.
Curtis Partch RHP RP with big fastball, mid 80′s slider. Strong results as RP in 2012.
Daniel Corcino RHP SP with quality FB, SL and CH.
Ismael Guillon LHP SP with 2 above-average pitches and a 3rd workable one.
Josh Fellhauer OF Good defender, good hit tool, perhaps platoon guy though.
Josh Ravin RHP RP with triple digit FB, solid curve. Control can be an issue at times.
Juan Duran OF Some of the best raw power in the minor leagues.
Justin Freeman RHP RP with average FB velo, strong control, slider and change.
Mark Serrano RHP RP with average FB velo, above-average SL, solid control.
Nick Christiani RHP RP with low 90s FB, GB guy, struggled to miss bats at AAA level.
Theo Bowe OF One of the fastest runners in baseball, good defense.
Tim Crabbe RHP Likely a RP with solid FB, cutter/slider, curve and change.
Travis Mattair 3B Good athlete with power, good defensive tools.
Yorman Rodriguez OF Best package of tools in the Reds system.

Who should be protected?

That is a tough question. Right now, the Reds 40 man roster sits at 33 players. That leaves 7 spots open, but I doubt the Reds will protect 7 players as it leaves them no room at all in free agency. Though I would think they still have a guy or two that they could remove without fear of losing (Negron, particularly coming off of an ACL injury or Denis Phipps who hit .221 in AAA). To me, there is one absolute LOCK on the list. Daniel Corcino will be protected, without an ounce of doubt. After that, it gets interesting.

Yorman Rodriguez has a huge signing bonus and still has tools that no one can match. Despite merely an ok performance during 2012 with Dayton, I believe he will be protected even though I don’t think anyone would select him. Ismael Guillon is only eligible because he had his original contract voided and signed a second contract, thus meaning he has been eligible since he began playing. I would protect him, though I am still unsure if the Reds will. He fits the profile of a guy who gets picked each year: A very good left handed arm from the low minors who you could easily put in your bullpen and use once a week in order to simply acquire his talent. Josh Ravin has had his struggles with control since he signed, but he also goes stretches of time where he controls the zone, showing that he could turn that corner. He had a strong AFL showing and his fastball sits 97-100 MPH. I would protect him and if somehow he goes unprotected, I can’t imagine a team not selecting him. Curtis Partch is another big fastball guy, as he averaged 97 MPH in the AFL this year. As a starter he struggled in 2012, but he was rather dominant out of the bullpen once the move was made to pitch him there. I would protect him as well. Josh Fellhauer is the last guy I would truly consider protecting. He brings good defense to the table in the corners and can play center field if you need him to do so and while he may be limited to being a platoon type of guy, he is a left hander which means he could provide you production on most days. I would protect him, but I could see a scenario where he goes unprotected and also undrafted because his tools don’t really “wow” anyone and for whatever reason solid guys without “wow” tools go unselected while raw tools guys in Low-A get picked left and right (Jeremy Horst is a big example here as he went unselected twice despite outstanding upper minor numbers and finally has been given a chance over the last 14 months in the Majors and now has a 1.74 ERA in 46.2 innings out of the bullpen for the Phillies).

I would protect those six players, which would only leave room for one free agent without exposing someone else to waivers. But, I would worry about that situation if and when it shows up. Who would you protect? Who would you leave unprotected?

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