On Tuesday afternoon, J.J. Cooper from Baseball America posted a thorough list of the top players available in the upcoming Rule 5 draft and among the 46 names listed there was something missing from the list, no players from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also points out that over the last nine Rule 5 drafts, only 47 total players have stuck with their new team and this particular class isn’t a strong one.
While his list obviously doesn’t guarantee that the Pirates won’t lose any players, it does show that there are a lot of better names out there than Clay Holmes and Barrett Barnes, and that this year should be a down year for players retained by the team choosing them. It could also mean that not many teams make picks in the first place. Since the Pirates have the 29th overall pick, it is unlikely they could find someone who is worth drafting, even if multiple teams ahead of them pass on their picks.
Both Holmes and Barnes have their flaws which likely kept them off the list, since neither is a sleeper prospect. Both received seven-figure bonuses when they signed, so they are fairly well-known among people who cover prospects. Holmes has barely pitched above Low-A ball, missing an entire year with Tommy John surgery. Prior to that, he had some control issues, which were improving near the end of the 2013 season, but still an issue. Barnes has been hampered by injuries since signing and even this season, when he played a career-high 95 games, he still missed three weeks at the beginning of the season. Barnes also doesn’t have the huge upside you look for from someone who will likely shorten your bench all season.