roguejim asks, "To your recollection, have any Rule 5 acquisitions turned into long-term, above-average starters at their position?"
This is question is more complicated than one might imagine. The Rule 5 Draft has changed since it's original iteration. It used to be 4 years for players who were 18 or younger when drafted and 3 years for players 19 and older. Now it's 5 years and 4 years respectively. So players have that extra year to either break out or simply continue developing, or crap out. Meaning the overall talent pool available is much less valuable than before the 2006 Rule 5 draft.
So you'll hear names like Johan Santana, Josh Hamilton, Shane Victorino, Dan Uggla, etc. But those guys were drafted under the older rules. Since the new rule went into effect I don't think there have been many success stories. I believe Joakim Soria was drafted after the new rules took effect.
Last year Delino Deshields Jr and Mark Canha were selected and retained by their drafting teams. Desheilds hit 261/344/374 with 25 SB and was worth 1.3 fWAR. That's not too band and I believe he's still with the Rangers, though he's probably only keeping CF warm for Lewis Brinson. Mark Canha hit 254/315/426 (106 wRC+) with 16 HR. He's still hanging out Oakland on their bench. But I could see him playing his way into a more prominent role with them at some point again this year.
So yeah, it's possible to find major league regulars through the Rule 5. But the ultimate ceiling is probably pretty low and the chances are probably pretty slim. But for a guy like Colin Walsh, I think the chances that the Brewers have found a competent bench/platoon guy is pretty good. If I had to bet, I'd say he sticks with the team through the season.
drezdn asks, "How ballsy are the D-Backs for trying to find a new stadium right now?"
Ugh, I really dislike that franchise. It really sucks that Greinke and Segura are on the team because I'll always love those guys. But time and again the front office or ownership does something that is just so shitty.
AKBrewfan asks, "If you could ignore defense what would your ideal lineup be, based on the current 25-man roster?"
I think I'd lead off with Gennett vs RHP and Walsh vs LHP. Gennett is actually pretty good vs RHP so I trust, even though he doesn't draw walks, that his OBP will be high enough to warrant leading off. I'm not batting him vs LHP which is why Walsh gets the nod here. He's a switch hitter but he's better as a righty so it fits.
Then I would bat Ryan Braun because I totally buy into the sabremetric lineup that says you bat your best hitter second. It makes sense to me. You don't want him leading off because the power gets wasted (he's always batting at least once a game with no runners) but you do want him getting the most plate appearances as possible. So it's kind of the best of both worlds.
I forget what the sabremetric theory says after 1-2, but I'll bat Jonathan Lucroy here. He's a contact/line drive oriented hitter. So he should give Braun a lot of chances to score from second base, which I assume Braun will be at a lot because he still hits a lot of doubles and steals a lot of bases.
I'll follow Lucroy up with Chris Carter. Here's the thing, Carter is going to hit a lot of home runs, but he's also going to strike out a lot. But I think that's actually totally fine. Because he's not going to hit into a lot of double plays. So there's a good chance he's either going to clear the bases or make a single out which might keep the inning alive.
I'd bat Domingo Santana next for pretty much the same reason as I'd bat Carter. I feel like there's a good chance he'll still come to the plate with runners on. You hit him a batter later and I feel like he's coming to the plate more often with the bases empty because he's going to lead off more innings. Just a thought, maybe I'm wrong.
Now we're getting to the point where it's about limiting damage. I'll bat Aaron Hill here for...reasons. Okay, I do have reasons but it's more about the next batters and not so much about anything Hill does.
I'm batting Jonathan Villar seventh and Keon Broxton eighth. These guys are here for the same reason. Speed is wasted at the top of the lineup. I know that's counter-intuitive for a lot of people. But think about it. Your best hitters (and I'm talking about sabre lineups and traditional lineups) bat towards the top of the lineup. You don't need guys with speed up top, because the heavy hitters (here Braun and Lucroy) are going to be hitting for a lot of extra bases. Therefore you don't need guys getting themselves in scoring position. If you're anywhere on the bases when Ryan Braun comes to the plate you're in scoring position. So you bat these speedy guys later because they're surrounded by lesser hitters who actually could use the runner's help.
Oh, also I think I'd let Keon Broxton play for a while to see what he can do, but Ramon Flores is probably the better hitter. And so at a certain point I'd have to give the job to him if Broxton wasn't producing. And so I'd have Flores vs RHP and Broxton vs LHP. Really though, I'd want to get Michael Reed as the full time starter as soon as possible. But that's a whole other discussion.
I'll bat the pitcher 9th. I know the sabremetric lineup has the pitcher batting 8th. But it just seems like limiting the pitchers plate appearances is the better move.
One last note, I think the sabremetrically optimized lineup adds something like 10 runs over a season. So in the end none of it really matters.
It's a short one today, but that's okay. I'm burned out from writing so much leading up to the start of the season WHICH IS IN THREE DAYS WOOOOOOOOO! So make sure to ask plenty of question for next's weeks edition of the mailbag, which will be the first of the regular season!