Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ranking the Rule 5 Eligible Twins Prospects

I decided to rank the minor league players who are Rule 5 eligible and might be candidates to be added to the Twins 40 player major league roster. Roughly, these are college players drafted in 2006 and earlier and high school players taken in 2005 and earlier, as well as free agents signed at the same time. If they aren't on the roster, they can be taken by any other team in the rule 5 draft for $50,000. The hitch is that they would have to stay on that team's active roster for the full season or be returned to the Twins for $25,000. 

The list of all possibilities is long, but here are the players who will at least get some serious consideration

High school players from 2005:
Alex Burnett
Rene Tosoni
Ryan Mullins (correction Mullins was a college player when drafted)

College players from 2006:
Danny Valencia
Anthony Slama
Steven Singleton

Juan Morillo (Waiver Claim)
Rob Delaney (FA)

New Britain
Wilson Ramos (FA)
Kyle Waldrop (2004 HS)
Deolis Guerra (Santana Trade)
Matt Fox (2004 College)
Ludovicus VanMil (FA)

Here is how I would rate that list:

Certain to be protected: 
Wilson Ramos - (correction Ramos is already on the roster)  
Rene Tosoni
Delios Guerra

Those three are all top prospects who may be ready to play in the major leagues next year. Given their potential, a team would carry them on their roster for a year even if they aren't quite yet ready.

The remaining candidates in order of how likely they are to be taken in the Rule 5 draft:
Van Mil

I place a premium on pitching because pitchers are most tempting to teams since there is more flexibility in letting a pitcher develop at the major league level than a position player. Waldrop was a high draft choice coming back from injury, which will put him on other teams' radars. Burnett looks like he could be a closer candidate. I may be overrating Van Mil, but his height and his fastball make him a tempting target. Mullins is a lefty who looks like he may just about be ready to help at the major league level. Morillo is one of the hardest throwers in baseball. If he ever harnesses that talent he will be special.

Singleton and Valencia are both college position players. Neither one has a huge upside, but both may be close enough to major league ready to hold a roster spot on a team that is building for the future.  I suspect that the Twins will protect Valencia since they have a hole at third base to fill. 

Fox, Slama and Delaney are all longshots to be protected.  Fox is the most interesting. A high draft choice who has come back from injury, he has been a consistent performer. The question is whether he has enough upside. Slama and Delaney have performed well as older players pitching against younger competition. The question is whether they can make the leap to the big leagues. My guess is not, but there may be teams that will take the risk.

After all their free agents leave, the Twins will have only two openings on the 40 player roster. So one consideration is going to be who the Twins are willing to give up to provide room for even the top three players on this list. That is a topic for another day.(see correction - with Ramos already on the Twins roster, there are only two players on the certain to be protected list.) 

* Morillo may be a 6 year minor league free agent if he isn't added to the roster.


SethSpeaks said...

Just a few quick notes:

1.) Tosoni, Bromberg and Slama were all draft and follow guys, so they don't have to be protected this year.

2.) Wilson Ramos was added to the 40 man roster last year.

3.) I think the givens are Alex Burnett, Danny Valencia and probably Rob Delaney.

SethSpeaks said...

Sorry, a couple more thoughts:

1.) Mullins was a college pick in 2005 out of Vanderbilt.

2.) I agree completely that Deolis Guerra is an easy choice as well.

TT said...

I think you are wrong on Tosoni. He was over 19 in 2006 when he was signed, so he only gets three drafts - 2006, 2007 and 2008. Same with Slama.

Ramos was a brain-fart. Obviously he is already on the roster.

You are right on Mullins as well, he was a college draftee. That doesn't change where I would rank him now. He is still a lefty who is probably ready to pitch as a LOOGY if a team wanted to keep him on the roster.

My guess is that they will protect Valencia, but I don't think he is an absolute given, nor should he be. Delaney certainly isn't. I agree with you that Burnett will likely be protected.

There are only two openings on the roster. After that they will have to let someone who is on the roster go.

SethSpeaks said...

If I'm wrong on Tosoni and Slama, then there is a chance the Twins are wrong about it as well because than information all came to me direct from someone around the Twins. Slama didn't sign until June 2007, so I'm pretty certain only him... I'm a little less certain with Tonsoi, but the source was pretty trustworthy.

Valencia is a given. I think Delaney is too, but I'm getting less certain on that.

There are 4-5 guys they can take off the roster pretty easily. First, unless they sign Pavano, Cabrera, Redmond, Mahay or Crede before mid-November, those guys all come off. Also, there are 4-5 guys that could be taken off the current 40 man roster.

TT said...

Seth -

I thought both of them were drafted in 2005, but you are right on Slama. It was 2006 so if he was signed the following year, he has one more exemption from the rule 5 draft.

Tosoni, however, was drafted in 2005. Its possible there is something odd that happened with him since he didn't play until 2007. I remember the Twins somehow delayed signing a contract with Cuddyer until after the rule 5 draft so he got an extra year of protection. So maybe your source is right.

The current Twins roster has 43 players on it when you include the 60 day DL guys. So even after the five free agents declare, they still only have two open spots. Of course they can take other players off the roster and likely will. But, as I said, that is a different discussion.

I fully expect Valencia to be added to the roster. My list was based on how likely they were to be taken and, frankly ,if someone took him in the Rule 5 draft, I don't think he would be permanently lost. I don't think he is ready to play in the big leagues.

By contrast, I think a team would take Guerra and keep him regardless of how ready he was. Same with Tosoni. Their upside is worth the cost to a team that isn't contending anyway.

JK said...

The twins have lots of JAGs, just a guy, on their 40 man roster. Gabino, Buscher, Keppel, Butera can and should be dropped for someone with more upside if extra space is needed. I also think that one of Casilla, Tolbert, Harris needs to go as they are redundant.

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