The deadline for protecting players from MLB’s annual Rule 5 Draft is coming up on November 20th. The draft is designed as a way to prevent teams from piling up minor league players who may have otherwise gotten to the big leagues with another organization. Here is how a player becomes eligible:
- 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.
(According to the rules, it's how old a player was on the June 5th immediately preceding his signing.)
Last year, the Brewers selected Caleb Smith from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft, but immediately traded his rights to the Cubs. They also lost Miguel Diaz to the Padres after failing to protect him. This year, the Brewers have roughly 40 players eligible to be drafted (according to the list compiled by Brewerfan.net) if they are not added to the 40 man roster before Monday’s deadline. Milwaukee’s 40 man roster currently has five spots available, although more could be cleared by DFAing some of the players on the fringes.
Let’s take a look at the candidates to fill the current openings:
Top Prospects (rankings per MLB Pipeline):
#9 2B/SS Mauricio Dubon (age 23)
Dubon posted a .274/.330/.382 slash with 8 home runs and 38 steals in 129 games combined between AA Biloxi and AAA Colorado Springs. There are questions about if he’ll hit enough to be a regular, but should have a floor as a useful utility player.
#11 RHP Freddy Peralta (age 21)
Had it not been for Corbin Burnes, Peralta would have been a shoo-in for Milwaukee’s minor league pitcher of the year after compiling a 2.63 ERA and 169:62 K/BB ratio in 120.0 innings between high-A Carolina and AA Biloxi. Despite his lack of size, Peralta has the repertoire to remain as a starter going forward.
#15 RHP Marcos Diplan (age 21)
Diplan struggled this year in high-A Carolina with a 5.23 ERA and 119:71 K/BB ratio in 125.2 innings pitched. He has difficulty throwing strikes at times, is undersized, and his changeup is not currently an effective third-pitch. A plus fastball/slider combination and the ability to miss bats should help make Diplan an effective reliever, and some think it’s time the Brewers consider moving him to the role full-time.
#19 C Jacob Nottingham (age 22)
Nottingham arrived in the organization as a bat-first prospect with questions about his ability to stick at catcher. In the two years since he’s made tremendous strides with his receiving to the point where scouts think he’ll be able to stay behind the plate, but his offense has stalled in the Southern League. Nottingham batted .209/.326/.369 with 9 home runs in 101 games this season, a year after posting a .641 OPS with 11 home runs in 112 games for Biloxi. He did shave 8 points of his strikeout rate and took a few more walks, at least.
Could Make a Case:
C Tyler Heineman (age 26)
A switch-hitter, Heineman batted a nifty .281/.342/.407 with 2 homers in 65 games for Colorado Springs, although his pitch framing didn’t grade out very well.
UTIL Nate Orf (age 27)
The jack-of-all-trades utility man has played all 9 positions during his minor league career and hit .320/.397/.507 with 9 home runs in 125 games for AAA Colorado Springs.
OF Kyle Wren (age 26)
The speedy utility outfielder posted a .286/.364/.401 slash with 5 home runs and 26 stolen bases in 125 games for the AAA Sky Sox in 2017.
IF Javier Betancourt (age 22)
Betancourt’s second time through the Southern League went a little better, as he batted .243/.286/.367 with 6 home runs in 107 games.
OF Clint Coulter (age 24)
Milwaukee’s 1st-round pick in 2012 showed some power in the Southern League, batting .234/.318/.403 with 14 home runs in 116 games for AA Biloxi.
OF Johnny Davis (age 27)
Arguably the fastest player in Milwaukee’s system, Davis hit .263/.316/.341 with 5 home runs and 52 steals for AA Biloxi this past season.
1B Dustin DeMuth (age 26)
Drafted as a third baseman in 2014, DeMuth has since switched to play primarily first base and hit .244/.339/.379 with 9 home runs in 116 games for AA Biloxi in 2017.
OF Tyrone Taylor (age 23)
Taylor was once rated as Milwaukee’s #1 prospect, but has battled injuries and failed to develop as hoped. He played in only 25 games with Biloxi in 2017, batting .247/.316/.376 with a homer and 2 steals.
RHP Josh Uhen (age 25)
A Wisconsin native with a blazing fastball, Uhen posted a 3.68 ERA and 53:26 K/BB ratio in 58.2 innings out of the bullpen for AA Biloxi this past season.
RHP Devin Williams (age 23)
Once thought of as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization, Williams posted a 3.79 ERA and 94:46 K/BB ratio in 97.1 innings combined between the two A-ball levels in 2016, but missed all of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
RHP Aaron Brooks (age 27)
Brooks has pitched parts of two big league seasons with the Royals and A's and the Brewers thought enough of him to claim him on waivers towards the end of 2017, though he was outrighted shortly thereafter. He posted a ghastly 6.12 ERA in 145.2 innings in AAA this past year, but with an encouraging 107:29 K/BB ratio.
Other Draft-Eligible Players:
RHP Tristan Archer
RHP Preston Gainey
SS Angel Ortega
RHP Tyler Spurlin
IF Luis Aviles
OF Carlos Belonis
RHP Rodrigo Benoit
RHP Jesus Brea
RHP Joaquin De La Cruz
RHP Victor Diaz
RHP Nattino Diplan
RHP Nelson Hernandez
RHP Alec Kenilvort
C Carlos Leal
RHP Yosmer Leal
LHP Frank Lopez
RHP Carlos Luna
2B Franly Mallen
IF Julio Mendez
RHP Daniel Missaki
IF Tucker Neuhaus
RHP Braulio Ortiz
OF Nicolas Pierre
IF Wendell Rijo
OF Joantgel Segovia
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference