The Cincinnati Reds currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster. And unless they add a player before Thursday morning, they will at least be eligible to select a player in the Rule 5 Draft. Teams don’t have to select a player, and often enough teams don’t do that.

What makes this Rule 5 Draft a little bit different from all of the ones before, though, is that next season rosters will include 26 active players. The big rule of draftees is that they must remain on the Major League roster during the season. When teams had 25 spots on the roster, a majority of Rule 5 picks would be “hidden” – kept on the roster, but rarely used except in very specific scenarios. They would get incredibly limited playing time. But for this reason, teams would also have problems carrying a player all season. It was just tough to have a player on the team who you simply wouldn’t use in most scenarios. With rosters now being larger, teams may be more willing to select someone in order to acquire talent for their organization. Players will be easier than ever to “hide” on the roster.

There’s the idea that contending teams don’t go for Rule 5 draft picks because of that whole “won’t use them often” thing. But it’s not always true. Some Rule 5 players are more than useful. And of course, just because you select someone doesn’t mean that they have to make the team. If at the end of the spring they aren’t going to make sense, you can choose to put them on waivers.

Baseball America’s got a nice list going of potential Rule 5 options around Major League Baseball. Two pitchers stood out to me a little more than the others, but for different reasons.

The first player was Dauris Valdez. He’s a 6′ 8″ right-handed pitcher who can throw triple-digits. Last season in Double-A Amarillo with the Padres he posted a 4.23 ERA in 55.1 innings with 28 walks and 68 strikeouts. His control isn’t great, but his breaking ball is solid and can flash better. An arm like that is something I’d be interested in seeing what Derek Johnson and Caleb Cotham can work with over six weeks in spring training.

The other player was Anthony Gose. If you look at his season totals, the walk rate is going to jump out at you. He walked 29 batters in 29.0 innings. His career as a pitcher, which started in 2017, hasn’t exactly been one where he’s shown much control. But the last two seasons, in limited action, he also hasn’t allowed many runs. Or hits. Or hard contact. A former big league outfielder, he played in parts of five seasons in the Majors from 2012-2016 with Toronto and Detroit. He’s now a reliever who can throw up to 98 MPH from the left side, albeit with some control concerns. He walked 13 batters in 4.0 innings in a 2-week stretch from mid-June through July 2nd. But after that he walked just five batters in the final 12 appearances of the season in Double-A Akron.

That, however, is only a small part of the reason he could be interesting. As noted, he is a former outfielder. And as an outfielder, he was actually a well regarded defensive center fielder. In two different seasons in the minor leagues he stole 70 bases. He’s got a legit arm, but it’s still raw. With expanded rosters you could use him less as a pitcher, while still getting plenty of work with the pitching coaches, but may also be able to use him to pinch run or play defense late in games – giving him some extra value as the final player on the roster.

Your mileage may vary, and it’s probably going to. But those were the two guys from the current list at Baseball America that stood out as more interesting to me than the others. Go check it out. See if anyone sticks out to you that could be interesting. We’ll take a look at the position player options tomorrow.

26 Responses

  1. Jim

    That 26th spot on the roster might be a good place to stash a rule 5 pick.
    Doug do you see us losing a few? I don’t see any sticking with a club tho.

    • MK

      There can only be 13 pitchers in the 26 which is the number they typically have with 25 man rosters so it would be difficult to stash a pitcher.

    • Bill

      There were no Red’s farmhands on Baseball America’s list last I checked–site is currently down. Doug has previously stated that the Reds exposing Friedl to this draft was a “mistake”.

    • Doug Gray

      I will still be surprised if Friedl doesn’t get picked.

  2. Hoyce

    A reliever that can throw 98mph and play a good defensive CF…. hmmmm. Sounds familiar

  3. James K

    Although the roster can include 26, only 13 can be pitchers, right? So they can’t “hide” a pitcher next year any more easily than before.

    • IndyRedsFan

      That raises and interesting question….can you draft Gose as an “outfielder”…and use him as both a P and an OF as long as he appears in more games as an OF? This would allow you to, in effect, carry an extra pitcher for use in blow-outs, etc. while still getting the benefit of using him as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement.

      • Doug Gray

        No, you can’t. There are rules against position players pitching moving forward.

    • Bill

      You raise a good point. Last year, the Reds elected to go with an 8-man bullpen for most of the year. Occasionally, carrying as few as 7 or as many as 9. If the bullpen and the starting rotation are strong, there may be only limited opportunities for the #8 pitcher in the pen. For a competitive team to “hide” a Rule 5 pitcher, they would have to believe their pitching staff is strong enough that they simply won’t need him often. The fact that teams will always have an extra position player on their roster does mean they can always carry an 8-man bullpen. It’s a small difference, but at least some teams will attempt to exploit the new possibility.

      • Colorado Red

        Also, with the new 3 batter rule, the loogy is not needed,so you can do with a 7 man BP.

  4. AirborneJayJay

    Look at the organizations with deep minor leagues. They cannot protect every player.
    I think I would look at Atlanta pitching. They have their #16 prospect unprotected, LHP Thomas Burrows. Had a little hiccup in 2019 at AAA but a good minor league career. Almost ML ready. Maybe by next spring he is ready. He just turned 25. There is a need for some LHP.

    • Bill

      Burrows stood out to me, too. Gose is an interesting idea, but this is probably not the year unless he fills a position player spot on the roster.

      I think the Reds will be looking for someone that can help I 2020–someone they like that another team didn’t protect (Burrows could be that player). Trying to gain a big arm that’s not big league ready will take up a roster spot that could be occupied by Bowman, Romano, or Kuhnel–all three should be ready to contribute right out of spring training. If you want to be competitive, that’s what you go with.

    • MK

      To me Burrows is the type player that gets selected. I do believe it is easier to hide this type player on a pitching staff. It might be tougher though with the three hitter limit. I would take a shot on him.

  5. Pokey Reese's Red Hot Bat

    Big fan of the idea of a pitcher of Gose but he sounds perfect for Milwaukee….

    Shame we let Zach Weiss go as a choice between a Gose, Weiss and a (Jonathan) India PA would be mouth watering.

  6. Stock

    I don’t think the Reds have room for a pitcher via the Rule 5 draft unless they do as IndyRedsFan suggests and draft Gose as an OF as a means to get around the rules.

    Unless a trade happens 12 players are good options to be in Cincinnati on opening day:

    SP: Castillo, Gray, Bauer, DeSclafani and Mahle
    RP: Iglesias, Lorenzen, Stephenson, Garrett, Reed, Shafer and DeLeon

    The 13th best option for the Reds comes down to Sims and Bowman. Romano needs a great spring to pass these two.

    I don’t see either of these two as being a sure upgrade to Bowman, Sims, Romano, Kuhnel or Alaniz. In fact I think the may have to send DeLeon or Shafer down to start the season in order to keep Bowman and Sims with the Reds. And I personally think DeLeon and Shafer are assets to this pitching staff.

    • Oldtimer

      Reed remains to be seen. Presumably injured in 2019 but shown nothing lately in MLB.

      • Norwood Nate

        2018-2019 (lately) Cody Reed pitched in 20 games, with 49.1 IP posted a 3.65 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 117 ERA+, 8.9 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 with the Reds. I’d say that’s a lot better than nothing.

      • Stock

        I will take my chances with Reed. He is out of options so must stick this year. I save a spot for him if I am the Reds. The last 2 years his ERA as a RP is 2.00 with a 1.11 WHIP. His BB/9 is 2.00 and his K/9 is 8.5 His GB% last year for the Reds last year was 77% (only 70% in Louisville). Last year two pitchers had a GB% of at least 66%. Zack Britton had an ERA of 1.91. Aaron Bummer had an ERA of 2.13.

        The underlying stats back the ERA. Reed may very well be the best RP the Reds have. I would without a doubt place him in the top 7.

      • MK

        Stock, I agree. He showed enough last year that he should easily take Peralta’s spot as a #2 lefty in the pen.

      • Oldtimer

        He pitched 3 games in MLB and very few in MiLB in 2019 due to injury.

  7. Optimist

    IIRC Bowman had a strange injury which hampered his numbers for a year and a half. He should be a lock for the roster, and productive as well. To some extent the same with Reed – enough proven talent and numbers, and a non-arm injury.

    DFA Alaniz indicates they plan a Rule 5 pick, AND a trade or signing which needs at least a 40-man spot; OR they expect an opportunity and want to have a spot available. Still, interesting in a promising sense.

      • Andrew

        My thoughts exactly. No reason to make the move without something on the horizon

      • Pokey Reese's Red Hot Bat

        Because they can get him past waivers and clear a 40 spot.

        With teams looking to clear spots to create 40 spots to protect players before the Rule 5 draft this is a good time to try and slip someone through.

  8. Wes

    Reds still need short stops. Take wander Javier from twins and leave him on your roster til you are certain he’s not a good fit. 20 year old form top prospect who can stick at short. He has the highest ceiling by a mile