As we continue “November minor league minutiae” month, we come to “adding players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule V draft.” Fun! Sort of! We went through this last year, remember, and ended up seeing Steve Ames & Matt Magill get added.
What always makes this tough each year is that there’s no set list of players to look at, and there’s always a few loopholes that make eligibility uncertain. What you can say for sure is that it’s not like the entire organization is up for grabs here, so no need to worry about Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Zach Lee, and friends yet. The rule (with some exceptions, as always) is basically “high school draftees with five years experience and college draftees with four years experience,” so we’re talking about it’s high school players from the 2009 draft and college players from the 2010 draft this year, and anyone who was eligible in previous years. International signees who were 18 or younger when signed and have five years experience are also eligible.
The 2010 college draftees aren’t that much better, partially because the top two picks — Leon Landry & Jake Lemmerman — were each traded (as was later pick Logan Bawcom), and third college pick Ryan Christenson hasn’t pitched since 2011 after blowing out his arm. The only real intriguing names there are Scott Schebler (the organization’s Minor League Hitter of the Year), Bobby Coyle, and Red Patterson, since Shawn Tolleson is already in the bigs and on the 40-man. (Okay, Yimy Queipo-Rodriguez is a fantastically interesting name, but he never made it out of rookie ball.)
It’s not as simple as just looking at those two lists, of course, because that ignores undrafted international signings as well as older players who went unselected in previous years. (Pedro Baez, a Dodger farmhand since 2007, is one good example.) As best as I can tell, the other semi-notable names in addition to the ones we’ve mentioned already would be Brian Cavazos-Galvez, Angelo Songco, J.T. Wise, Andres Santiago, Blake Smith, Red Patterson, Yimi Garcia, Jon Michael Redding, Jarret Martin, Griff Erickson, Chris Jacobs, & Aaron Miller.
The Dodgers currently have eight open spots on the 40-man, some of which they’ll certainly need for any new major league acquisitions, but do remember there’s some gamesmanship here. Since claimed Rule V players must stay in the bigs all season on their new team (hey, remember Carlos Monasterios?), it means that other clubs won’t take a total shot in the dark on talent if there’s no chance they can contribute next year. That means that even if a team likes, say, Schebler, coming off an impressive .296/.360/.581 season in the high offense California League, it’s not likely that they’ll be dying to bring a guy who had hit .260/.312/.388 in 2012 right to the bigs. You could add him to the 40-man to be overly safe, it’s just probably not the most effective use of a roster spot.
There’s some guys you could make arguments for here — Baez & Martin, probably — but the main one who really seems worth protecting to me right now is Garcia, partially because he might actually be ready to help the Dodger bullpen in 2014 after a nice showing in the AFL. In 249.2 minor league innings, the righty reliever has a 311/78 K/BB, and the bullpen is often the easiest place to stash a Rule V guy, so I imagine he’d be taken easily. Baez is potentially worth considering as well, because the converted third baseman has shown some skill in his long-awaited conversion to the mound.
The draft isn’t until December 12, but the deadline to add these players is Wednesday evening, so we’ll know who gets added by then.