A player not on a team's Major League 40-man roster is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if: the player was 18 or younger when he first signed a pro contract and this is the fourth Rule 5 draft since he signed, OR if he was 19 or older when he first signed a pro contract and this is the third Rule 5 draft since he signed. A player drafted onto a Major League roster in the Rule 5 draft must remain in the majors (on the 25-man active roster or the DL) for all of the subsequent season, or the drafting club must attempt to return him to his original club. However, since a returned Rule 5 player must first be placed on outright waivers, a third club could claim the player off waivers. But of course, that club would then also have to keep him in the majors all season, or offer him back to his original club. Occasionally, the drafting club will work out a trade with the player's original team, allowing the drafting club to retain the player but send him to the minors.I'm not going to be able to improve on the reviews you will find at Baseball Analysts or Baseball America or Rotoworld. But I wanted to throw out a few names that may be of interest to the Nationals:
- Steve Andrade - 28-year old RH RP from the Blue Jays who had a 71/16 K/BB ratio in 50.2IP in Double-A. He may be superfluous with Bergman and Majewski, but he's a quality RHP.
- Jarred Ball - 22-year old CF from the D-Backs. 253/377/363 with 39SB in Double-A. With the trade of Brad Wilkerson and the apparent lack of faith in Ryan Church, he is worth consideration.
- Gregor Blanco - 22-year old CF from the Braves. 252/367/386 with 28SB in Double-A. Same reason as above.
- Fabio Castro - 21-year old LH RP from the White Sox who had a 75/37 K/BB ratio in 79IP in High-A. Rumor has it that the Royals will grab him at #1 and trade him to Philadelphia.
- Matt Chico - 22-year old LH SP from the D-Backs. Had a down 2005 but still put up 137/54 K/BB in 162IP split between Double-A and High-A. He could be an intriguing option as a candidate for the #5 spot in the rotation.
- Chris Cooper - 27-year old LH RP from the Indians. 75/21 K/BB in 72IP between Double-A and Triple-A. An interesting LH option out of the pen.
- Ben Francisco - 24-year old CF from the Indians. 307/357/474 in Double-A. Another Wlikerson replacement option.
- Kevin Howard - 25-year old 2B/3B from the Reds. 296/346/428 in Double-A; also led Arizona Fall League in hitting. The only Bowden guy from Cincy I'd think about though the last thing the Nats need is yet another 2B.
- JD Martin - 23-year old RH SP from the Indians. 63/8 K/BB ratio in 56.2IP in Double-A before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He may be worth grabbing and storing on the 60-day DL.
- Mike Megrew - 22-year old LH SP from the Dodgers. Underwent Tommy John surgery in 2004. If he's recovered he's worth consideration potentially as a LH specialist out of the pen in 2006 with designs to return to starting later.
- Rafael Rodriguez - 21-year old RH SP from the Angels. 118/60 K/BB in 146.1IP in Low/High-A ball. It might be rushing him to the majors but he could be a RH specialist in 2006 with designs to return to starting later.
- Davis Romero - 23-year old LH SP from the Blue Jays. 136/34 K/BB in 124.2IP in High-A. A definite gamble but worth the look.
- Vince Sinisi - 24-year old corner OF from the Rangers. Rehabbing from 2004 broken arm by hitting 363/438/600 in High-A and 258/300/343 in Double-A in 2005. A toolsy OF in the positive sense.
And here are some other guys from Jim Bowden's tenure in Cincinnati, which means they are also candidates (a la Tony Blanco from 2004):
- Chris Dickerson - 23-year old toolsy OF. Pass.
- Carlos Guevara - 24-year old RH RP. Pass.
- Thomas Pauly - 24-year old RH SP. Recovering from torn labrum. Pass.
- David Shafer - 23-year old RH RP. No improvement on Bergmann. Pass.
Josh Whitesell, a LH 1B with a proclivity for strikeouts, and Rogearvin Bernadina, a speedy OF who just completed his third straight season in Savannah, are the only potential losses, but I doubt either will be going anywhere.
I'll have my recap if the Nationals add or lose anyone.