With the 40-man roster now set, the following Pittsburgh Pirates players are eligible for the 2009 Rule 5 draft, straight from the BUCCO Fans.com Wiki page:
Eligible from Previous Drafts
Rafael De Los Santos
Eligible for the first time in 2009
Jose de los Santos
A few of the names who are at risk of being selected by another team:
Kyle Bloom – Bloom was selected by the Detroit Tigers last season, but returned before the season. Bloom had a .186 BAA versus left handers this past season at AA, and could pass as a LOOGY in the majors if selected.
Justin Thomas - Thomas was designated for assignment to protect guys like Gorkys Hernandez and Brad Lincoln. If he clears waivers, he can be assigned to AAA. However, he still could be at risk of being selected in the Rule 5 draft.
Jeff Karstens - Same story as Thomas, although Karstens should be eligible to opt for minor league free agency.
Shelby Ford – Ford really fell off in the last year, going from the second baseman of the future to not even being protected. He had a horrible year at AAA, and struggled even after a demotion to AA, although he had injury issues. He’s 25 in December, so he would have to pretty much see immediate major league production if he was selected. He’d probably be better off with another attempt at AAA to get ready for the majors, which means a Rule 5 selection, combined with his 2009 struggles, could be really bad for his career chances.
Michael Dubee - Dubee isn’t a hard throwing reliever, but he was effective between high A and AA last year, including a 2.91 ERA in 34 innings in relief in AA, with a low walk rate and a decent 7.4 K/9 ratio.
Jared Hughes - Hughes pitched 46.1 innings in AA last year, making seven starts, and posted a 3.88 ERA, with a 7.0 K/9, a 3.1 BB/9, and an 0.2 HR/9 ratio.
Miles Durham – Durham combined for a .285/.340/.458 line in 487 at-bats between high-A and AA, with 12 homers. He turns 27 in March, so he’s more of a career minor leaguer at this point, and probably not a big risk to be taken.
Matt McSwain - McSwain had a lot of success in high-A this past season, with a 3.43 ERA in 144.1 innings pitched. He doesn’t strike out a lot of batters, but works the strike zone well, and doesn’t allow many walks, getting a lot of ground ball outs. He turned 24 in August, and could be a Jeff Karstens type reliever in the future. He could be a risk to go in the AAA portion of the draft.
Casey Erickson - The Pirates added Erickson in the Eric Hinske deal, sending money over in order to get better prospects in return. Erickson spent the entire season in low-A, combining for a 1.75 ERA in 82.1 innings pitched, with a 7.5 K/9, a 2.1 BB/9, and a 0.1 HR/9 ratio. Since he hasn’t pitched at a high level, he might not be a risk to be selected in the major league portion, although he could go in the AAA or AA portion of the draft.
I think the biggest risks to be selected are Bloom, Thomas, and Ford, although I’m not sure any of them are at risk of spending the entire season on another team’s major league roster. None of the eligible players can be added to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 draft, even if a spot on the roster opens up in the future.
As for the other side of the Rule 5 draft, the Pirates’ 40-man roster is currently at 40 players. The Pirates would need an open spot to make a selection, although they have until 5:00 PM EST on December 8th to clear that spot on the 40-man in order to select a player in the December 10th Rule 5 draft.