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Reserve list deadline preview

Bill Brink 7 years ago

Wednesday is the deadline for teams to protect minor leaguers from the Rule 5 draft by adding them to the 40-man roster. The Rule 5 draft, which takes place on Thursday morning during the Winter Meetings, is Dec. 12 this year.

After four years in professional ball, or five if a player signed while he was 18 or younger, his team must add him to the 40-man roster or risk losing him to another team in the Rule 5 draft. The clubs draft in reverse order of winning percentage, just like the amateur draft. Teams can select a player for $50,000, but they must keep him on the 25-man major league roster for the entire season. The player must also remain active – not on the DL – for at least 90 days; if he does not, he must remain on the active roster for a portion of the next season until he reaches 90 total days.

If the team decides not to keep a player selected in the Rule 5 draft on its active roster for a whole season, it can request outright assignment waivers and, if he clears, offer the player back his original team for $25,000. If another team claims him off waivers, the Rule 5 stipulations also apply to that new team. Teams can also work out trades that allow the club that selected the player to keep him, but send him to the minor leagues.

The Rule 5 draft is tricky. Teams need to select players they think are capable enough to help a major league team for a whole season. With a 25-man roster and 12 pitchers, it’s hard to stash a guy on the roster unless he can contribute. Because the players in the draft were left off the 40-man roster on their own club anyway, though, it is hard to find such players.

The list below does not include every Pirates minor leaguer eligible for the draft, but it has the ones you need to know about and then some. You can read more about the rules to the Rule 5 draft here and here. Last season, the Pirates added Tony Sanchez, Ramon Cabrera, Vic Black, Phil Irwin and Hunter Strickland. Only Sanchez and Irwin remain with the organization.

The Pirates currently have four open spots on their 40-man roster, and it wouldn’t be surprising for them to designate someone for assignment and clear more room. They determine which players to add based both on their view of those players’ futures and which players they think other teams will select if they are not protected.

Teams must also set minor league reserve lists by midnight Wednesday, and there are minor league portions of the Rule 5 draft as well, but the most interesting part is the major league portion.

Players they will add:

OF Gregory Polanco. He is their top prospect and could possibly make his debut this season. He will go on the 40-man for sure.

SS Alen Hanson. Another top 10 prospect. Room for improvement, but they can’t leave him unprotected.

Players they could add:

C Carlos Paulino. He’s got a cannon for an arm, but the bat hasn’t caught up yet.

1B Stetson Allie. He tore up the South Atlantic League -- .324/.414/.607, 17 homers – but struck out 79 times in 285 plate appearances. In the same number of games – 66 – and one fewer plate appearance in the Florida State League, his slash line fell to .229/.342/.356 with four home runs and 82 strikeouts.

It’s unlikely a team will select Allie because he is not refined enough to stash on a bench in the major leagues, but his power potential is impressive enough that someone might take a chance.

SS Gift Ngoepe. Rated the best defensive infielder by Baseball America, Ngoepe’s bat lags behind. He hit .212/.324/.326 between Altoona and Bradenton this season. He was demoted to Bradenton and hit better there at the end of the season. His strong glove work means he could stick, but his lack of offense at double-A means he would be limited to a defensive replacement, which are tough to carry on a 25-man roster.

Players eligible for the Rule 5 draft:

RHP Casey Sadler

OF Gregory Polanco

1B Matt Hague

RHP Zack Thornton

RHP Ethan Hollingsworth

RHP Jason Townsend

RHP Tyler Waldron

IF Kelson Brown

1B Matt Curry

SS Alen Hanson

1B/RF Justin Howard

3B Adalberto Santos

UTIL Drew Maggi

OF Mel Rojas

LHP Joely Rodriguez

RHP Zack Von Rosenberg

C Elias Diaz

1B Stetson Allie

3B Ashley Ponce

OF Dan Grovatt

RHP Clario Perez

C Kawika Emsley-Pai

OF Raul Fortunato

OF Walker Gourley

RHP Roberto Espinosa

RHP Luis Campos

RHP Jimy Hernandez

LHP Jovany Lopez

RHP Nathan Baker

RHP Jeff Inman

RHP Ryan Beckman

C Charles Cutler

2B Jarek Cunningham

OF Evan Chambers

OF Andy Vasquez

LHP Eliecer Navarro

RHP Quinton Miller

RHP Kenn Kasparek

RHP Emmanuel De Leon

C Carlos Paulino

SS Benji Gonzalez

SS Gift Ngoepe

LHP Zack Dodson

LHP Zac Fuesser

RHP Joan Montero

1B Francisco Aponte

OF Junior Sosa

C/1B Samuel Gonzalez

OF Gavi Navar