The Pittsburgh Pirates protected six players from the 2011 Rule 5 draft, adding Matt Hague, Starling Marte, Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, Jordy Mercer, and Duke Welker to the 40-man roster. That left the following players eligible for the 2011 Rule 5 draft.
The first group of players are first time eligible for the Rule 5 draft in 2011.
Emmanuel De Leon
The following players have previously been eligible for the Rule 5 draft, and are eligible again this year.
*Pirates signed as minor league free agent this off-season, but still eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
**Can elect minor league free agency.
Tim Alderson – Alderson makes this list for name recognition purposes, due to being a former top prospect. His move to the bullpen in 2011, and his mid-80s fastball by the end of the season makes it unlikely that he will be selected. All it takes is one team to be interested enough to draft him, but even then I don’t see him bouncing back to his pre-2009 performances.
Michael Colla – After pitching in the AA rotation for most of the year, and putting up some impressive numbers, the Pirates left Colla unprotected for the Rule 5 draft. Despite the success, Colla profiles more as a middle reliever in the majors. He throws his fastball in the low 90s, sitting 90-92 in the Arizona Fall League, but does have a decent changeup which could give him a shot to be a long reliever or a spot starter candidate.
Andrew Lambo – He might be an attractive option for a team that wants to take a risk on a guy who was considered one of the top 50 prospects in baseball just two years ago. Lambo is fairly young, but I think his chances of sticking in the majors all year would be slim if he is drafted. He hasn’t hit well above the AA level, and he doesn’t have the speed or defense to make up for his lack of hitting off the bench.
Quincy Latimore – He’s got some of the best power in the system, although his strikeout and walk ratios, combined with his low average, negate any value his power gives him. Latimore is capable on defense at a corner outfield spot, but ultimately he’s a one tool guy. He’s young, so another team could take a chance on that power tool, although I don’t see him sticking in the majors all year on the off-chance that he is selected.
Brett Lorin – He had some impressive numbers in high-A this past season, but he also turns 25 in March and hasn’t pitched above high-A ball. He’s similar to Nathan Adcock in that they both had good seasons in high-A and both went unprotected, although Adcock was two years younger. Despite Adcock being protected last year, I think the odds of a pitcher making the jump from high-A to the majors all year are still pretty slim.
Diego Moreno – I could see a team taking a shot on Moreno due to his plus fastball. Best case scenario is that he ends up a late inning reliever, and with the eligibility rules leaving mostly bench and bullpen arms, Moreno’s upside could look attractive to other teams. He’s far from a guarantee, as he hasn’t had good results above high-A, but the tools are there.
Aaron Pribanic – The Pirates seem to favor sinker ball pitchers, protecting Michael Crotta last year, and currently holding Jared Hughes on the 40-man roster. Perhaps Hughes being on the 40-man and Crotta being in the minors is why they left Pribanic unprotected. Ultimately he profiles as a reliever, although he gets a ton of ground balls with his sinker, and in shorter outings he has been known to get his fastball up to 96 MPH, making him very similar to Hughes.