2018 Rule 5 Preview Part 4: Starting Pitching Doug Gray November 7, 2017 19 Comments After skipping last week due to the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 prospect list, we’re back to look at the Rule 5 draft. In this series we are looking at the different groups of players who would be eligible for the draft if left unprotected. You can see the entire list of eligible players here. Then you can check out the break down of the infielders, and the outfielders. Teams can be all over the place when it comes to selecting pitchers. Left handed pitchers, particularly relievers, are always at a premium. They are easy to “hide” in the bullpen, but used as a LOOGY, they can still be useful. Relievers in general can be grabbed and hidden, or brought along slowly. With starters, things get interesting. Proven upper minor league guys who don’t have stuff are often overlooked. But, teams are willing to take risks on big time arms that seem far away. It’s always interesting to see which kinds of pitchers are taken – sometimes it’s starters who don’t seem to have great stuff, but get pushed to the bullpen and everything plays up. Let’s take a look at which starting pitchers from the above linked list that I believe could be selected. There are three guys that I believe warrant a real conversation. Jose Lopez Why he would be selected: The right hander dominated in both Advanced-A and Double-A last season. His ERA was 2.43 in Pensacola in the second half, after posting a 2.84 ERA in the first half with Daytona. He misses bats and he throws strikes. While he doesn’t have elite stuff, he’s got quality offerings and he knows how to use them. Why he would go unpicked: It’s tough to make an argument here because I believe he’d go quickly if left unprotected. As I noted above, he doesn’t have elite stuff, which may work against him with some teams. Still, he’s got big league stuff working for him. Jesus Reyes Why he would be selected: Much like Lopez, he split his time between Daytona and Pensacola, and performed better in Double-A. He posted a 3.78 ERA for the Tortugas, but lowered it to 3.31 with the Blue Wahoos. The right hander is an extreme ground ball pitcher and he’s got a big time fastball, reaching the upper 90’s at times. Why he would go unpicked: This is another one where it’s tough to make an argument as I think he’d quickly be taken. But, if you had to find something, he hasn’t missed a high rate of bats in his career. I don’t believe that would sway teams as he’d likely move right into the bullpen where his stuff would play up. Wyatt Strahan Why he would be selected: His fastball and curveball combination could play quite well out of the bullpen if a team wanted to make that move today. As a starter in 2017 he threw in the low 90’s, but was able to touch higher than that at times. In the bullpen that could play up. He also shows a good ability to throw lots of strikes. Why he would go unpicked: He returned from Tommy John surgery in 2017 and made 14 starts in Advanced-A ball. His lack of upper minors experience hurts here. The non-elite stuff also plays against him. Who to protect from this group As the 40-man roster sits today, the Cincinnati Reds have seven spots open to protect players if they so choose. Among this group I would choose to protect both Jose Lopez and Jesus Reyes. I believe that they would be selected by other teams. I also believe that both have a chance to help the big league club in the second half of 2018 (likely as relievers) if the team does need them. They could also provide starting pitching depth, with a chance that Jose Lopez begins the year in Triple-A. Wyatt Strahan is an interesting case. He’s returning from Tommy John surgery, which could put off some teams. He flashed some real interesting stuff at times during the year once he came back, though. It’s not elite stuff, but there was enough there to see two big league offerings with ease. His lack of upper minor league experience, though, leaves me thinking that he would go unselected. I’d take the chance that he would go unpicked right now. 19 Responses Billy November 7, 2017 Do you think the Reds will be looking to pick anyone up in the Rule V this year? If so, any thoughts on what they’re likely to be targeting? Doug Gray November 7, 2017 I think they are at least considering it. Given the roster, a shortstop would be an ideal place to look, even if it’s just a backup option. Brad November 7, 2017 Overall, a very strong Rule 5 class to protect for the Redlegs. System is strong. Hope they dont suffer same fate as Astros, Rangers, Yankees, etc and lose guys 41-45 in any given year. pattymac November 7, 2017 let’s say an especially juicy prospect is left unprotected that all or most teams would want, how is the order of picking teams decided? reverse standings? Matthew O'Neal November 7, 2017 It goes in the same order as the coming draft in June. So yes! Reverse standings of the season that just concluded. Colorado Red November 7, 2017 A couple of things 1. you must have free spots on the 40 man roster. So, if the roster is full, Reds will not draft at all. After that, it is the same order as the next draft (5th). 2. Once you pass in a round you are done, once your 40 man roster is full, you are done. Matthew O'Neal November 7, 2017 I like Lopez to get protected. As far as Reyes goes, I think he could go either way, for the reasons you listed. It all depends on what develops in the FA/trade market in the next week and a half before the deadline to protect. Stock November 7, 2017 I would protect all three of the above, along with Siri, Long and Blandino. If the they don’t have a target in the draft protect Longhi or Weiss. LaValley would be a distant 3rd option to these two. A team could play with the system and keep Longhi on the DL list most of the year (complications from TJ surgery). Bernardino has performed well in AZ but would choose Weiss over him. I just don’t see other teams being as deep as the Reds. I would rather lose someone in the draft though than via DFA. I keep one spot open for this reason. The Reds will sign a SS at some point be it a starter or backup and he will need a spot on the 40 man. Maybe one will be available in the Rule 5 draft. I would protect Lopez, Reyes, Strahan, Siri, Long and Blandino. I would leave one spot open. Biggest risks left available are Weiss and Longhi. LaValley and Bernardino are risks too be taken too. Norwood Nate November 7, 2017 With seven spots open, I think both Lopez and Reyes are easy adds. Those two along with Long, Blandino, Siri, and Weiss would be the six I would protect. I’d leave a spot open for the Rule V and target a LHP to use in relief or SS. As for Strahan, I’m a fan and I hope he stays in the organization. I’d like to see what he’ll do at AA an offseason further out from his injury. MK November 7, 2017 I know he is also a T.J recoverer but doesn’t TeeJay Antone fall into this category also? Doug Gray November 8, 2017 He is eligible. Can’t see anyone taking him given the TJ though. Reds4ever November 7, 2017 How is Reyes rule 5 eligible? He’s only been playing since 2015. Doug Gray November 8, 2017 Because he signed the last day of the 2014 season as a 22-year-old. So the 2014 season counts against him. I confirmed this with the organization. Shamrock November 8, 2017 We do have one of the deeper systems in MLB….but we also pick #5 in this draft, where guys like Josh Hamilton get snatched up……..any chance we leave two spots open?? Doug Gray November 8, 2017 I’d be very surprised if they took two guys. The Duke November 8, 2017 The Reds currently have 33 guys on the 40 man roster. So protect 6 and take 1 in the rule 5? I also see us taking a middle infielder in the AAA portion of the rule 5 (steal Vincej back from the Mariners maybe?). Clammy November 8, 2017 On a Rule V related not, the Yankees added Jake Cave to their 40 man. The Reds had selected him a couple years back but he didn’t stick. Doug Gray November 8, 2017 Guys…. It is the Rule 5. It is NOT the Rule V. The Duke November 8, 2017 V is the roman numeral for 5.