This year’s annual Rule 5 Draft is scheduled to take place tomorrow morning, 8 December, during the Winter Meetings in National Harbor, Maryland. There are a few changes to the draft this year, as the AA phase of the minor league portion of the draft has been eliminated and the cost for a pick in the MLB phase of the draft has now doubled to $100,000 under the new CBA. Here is a refresher on how a player becomes eligible to be selected in the MLB portion of the draft:
- Players who signed when 18 or younger are eligible for the draft after five years.
- Players who signed when 19 or older are eligible after four years.
- Player is not on the 40 man roster.
- In order for a team to retain a drafted player’s rights, that player must stick on the 25 man roster or the MLB disabled list for the entire season.
The Milwaukee Brewers made two selections in last year’s draft: infielder Colin Walsh and right-handed reliever Zack Jones. Walsh made the big league team out of spring training but struggled to an .085/.317/.106 slash in 63 plate appearances (though he did walk at a 23.8% rate) before being returned to Oakland and Jones came down with a shoulder injury in spring and never threw a pitch for the Brewers before being sent back to Minnesota.
This year, the Brewers have one spot available on the 40 man roster to make a selection in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft and hold the ninth overall pick. According to the top Rule 5 eligible prospect lists from Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, this winter’s class is stronger in arms than it is in position players, which generally fits our local nine’s current roster needs. Most of Milwaukee’s starting lineup and bench spots are pretty well spoken for at this time, but after the departures of Blaine Boyer via free agency and Tyler Thornburg via trade, the Slingin’ Stearns is shopping for help in the bullpen. With that being said, here are five players that Milwaukee could have interest in tomorrow if they are still available when the #9 choice comes up:
RHP Yimmi Brasoban (Padres)
Brasoban, 22, was signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic by the Padres back in 2011. He owns a career 3.90 ERA in 360.1 minor league innings and split 2016 between high-A and AA for San Diego. In 49.0 combined innings (most of them coming at the more advanced level), Brasoban posted a 2.39 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.
According to a scouting report earlier this summer from Wilson Karaman of Baseball Prospectus, Brasoban’s fastball grades out as a future 70 on the 20-80 scale, sitting 95-96 MPH and touching 97 with “late life with some sink...swing-and-miss potential in and above zone.” His slider receives a 60 future grade, sitting 89-90 MPH with a peak of 91 and “hard vertical action.” Karaman gave Yimmi an overall OFP of 55, saying that with his stuff and solid-average command Brasoban could develop into a “second-division closer, with a more likely role setting up.”
RHP Yonny Chirinos (Rays)
The Rays signed the 22 year old Chirinos as an international free agent out of Venezuela and the righty’s calling card is his outstanding control. Across 306.0 career MiLB innings, Chirinos has walked just 48 of the 1,254 batters that he’s faced, or about 3.8% of his opponents. Last season, Yonny jumped from low-A to high-A to AA for the Rays and posted a cumulative 3.36 ERA in 128.2 innings with marks of 5.8 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9.
According to BA, Chirinos throws harder than one would expect from the typical control artist; his fastball sits in the low-90s as a starter and he’s been clocked at 95 MPH coming out of the bullpen. Their report also praises a solid changeup and a slider that was improved in 2016. Chirinos’ excellent control should give him an MLB floor, and he should be able to contribute in a big league bullpen next year with the possibility of becoming a back-end starter down the road.
RHP Joel Payamps (Diamondbacks)
The 22 year old native of the Dominican Republic began his career in the Rockies organization but was released in 2015. He didn’t pitch at any level that year but caught on with the D-Backs prior to this season and split 2016 between their low-A and high-A affiliates. In a combined 133.0 innings, the right-hander posted a 3.86 ERA with totals of 8.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.
KATOH pegged Payamps as one of the better right-handers available in this year’s class and BA praises his stuff as “big league caliber” with his “reasonably advanced” control giving him a chance to contribute out of an MLB bullpen. Payamps’ fastball sits in the 92-94 MPH range and can touch 97, and he also throws a slurve that he’s “confident in” and brandishes a “usable” changeup.
LHP Jordan Guerrero (White Sox)
Guerrero was a 15th-round pick by Chicago back in 2012 after he dealt with some injury issues and loss of velocity during his senior season of high school. He has since recovered and shown to be a durable arm for the White Sox, tossing a combined 285.0 innings over the past two seasons. After a few years of strong results, however, Guerrero struggled a bit during his first stint in AA, posting a 4.83 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 136.0 innings in 2016.
The 22 year old is still ranked as the White Sox #13 prospect by MLB Pipeline and was recently ranked as their #19 farmhand by Fangraphs. The left-handed thrower exhibited above-average control during his first four seasons in the minors, but his walk rate took a big hit this year after he started to “shy away from his fastball, instead leaning more heavily on his changeup” according to Eric Longenhagen’s report. Jordan’s fastball sits in the upper-80s to low-90s and has touched 94 MPH with some cutting action, and his changeup flashes plus. His curveball is below-average and he’ll have to hope to re-discover the control from earlier in his career, but his profile could play up out of the bullpen.
RHP Justin Haley (Red Sox)
Haley was a 6th-round selection by Boston back in 2012 and after a tough season in AA in 2015, he bounced back to post some terrific results between AA and AAA this past season. In 146.2 combined innings, the right-hander worked a 3.01 ERA, striking out opponents at a rate of 7.7 K/9 against a 2.8 BB/9 rate.
The 25 year old Haley looks ready to contribute as a big leaguer and KATOH likes him even more than it does the aforementioned Joel Payamps. Justin’s fastball sat 90-92 MPH this past season as a starter but according to BA the pitch plays up because of Haley’s control and that velocity could conceivably jump up a bit if he’s placed in a bullpen role. His slider is above-average and he’s also got a usable curveball and changeup, meaning that he could be used in a swingman capacity out of the bullpen and make a spot start here or there when needed. His profile and repertoire of pitches along with his large build (6’5”, 230 lbs) could eventually lead to being considered for a look in the rotation.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference