The Rule 5 draft is about to begin, capping off the 2015 Winter Meetings. The Pirates have two open spots on their 40-man roster, although they didn’t make a move last year, and are set up in position where it might not make sense to make a pick this year. There are a few guys that they could lose. We previewed the draft this morning, with all of the eligible players. As the draft takes place, we will have live updates on any players they select, or any players they lose.
UPDATE 10:08 AM: The Angels selected Deolis Guerra, who was just signed back as a minor league free agent on Monday. Since the Pirates signed him before the Rule 5 draft, he was eligible. It’s possible that the Angels tried to sign him, and when he picked the Pirates, they decided to give him a 40-man spot through this avenue. It’s not a loss at all, since the Pirates could sign another guy as bullpen depth out of Triple-A.
The Pirates passed on making a pick.
UPDATE 10:14 AM: The MLB phase is over. Clay Holmes and Barrett Barnes remain in the organization, along with everyone else not named Deolis Guerra.
UPDATE 10:17 AM: I had this written on Guerra in the Prospect Guide:
Guerra emerged as a bullpen depth option for the Pirates last summer, before being shut down with a knee injury. He was briefly lost on waivers to Cleveland before that knee injury rescinded the claim, and led to the end of his season. Prior to that, he found success in Indianapolis with improved off-speed stuff. His fastball tops out in the low 90s, but his changeup was a plus offering, and really helped the fastball play up. He relied heavily on the changeup in the majors, throwing it 38.8% of the time. Guerra should return to a bullpen role with Indianapolis, and will give the Pirates some early season bullpen depth.
UPDATE 10:24 AM: The minor league portion has begun. Basically this is a chance to get free upper level organizational guys. The Pirates passed on this last year.
UPDATE 10:27 AM: Miami took Patrick Johnson, who was signed by the Pirates out of indy ball, and was rated one of Baseball America’s top ten prospects in indy ball this year. Here is a write up of his signing.
Seattle took Isaac Sanchez, who we graded as having a chance to make the majors as a reliever, although he wasn’t considered for the top 50. Here is his writeup from the book:
Sanchez signed for $180,000 as a 17-year-old in 2010 and came with an excellent scouting report that had him hitting 92 MPH with his fastball, showing strong command of his changeup, and a big-breaking curve that was his best pitch. Since then he has worked 90-93 MPH, touching 94 with the fastball. He has been unable to translate that potential into success on the field for long stretches until this past season with Bradenton. From late May until late August, he had 25 straight appearances without allowing more than one earned run, with many of them being multi-inning outings. Sanchez has had strong ground ball rates in the past, which helped because he hasn’t been a big strikeout pitcher. This season however, he was more of a fly ball pitcher, yet he allowed just one home run all season. That might work in the Florida State League, which is pitcher-friendly, but he will need to keep the ball down as he hits the upper levels of the system. He should pitch out of Altoona’s bullpen in 2016 and he has the potential to make it to the majors as a middle reliever.
UPDATE 10:35 AM: The Pirates took Alfredo Reyes, a shortstop, from the Mets. He hasn’t played above short-season ball that much, and doesn’t have a good bat, with a career .602 OPS. These picks are made to fill needs in the system, for the purposes of fielding a team, and maybe having a microscopic chance of a MLB player. In this case, the Pirates are thin at shortstop in Altoona after the JaCoby Jones trade. They’ll have Chris Diaz at the level, but he’s a defensive option with no bat. Reyes is the same, and will likely be a backup until 2015 first round pick Kevin Newman arrives, which could be in the second half of the season.
UPDATE 10:41 AM: Pirates pass on making a second pick in the Triple-A phase.
UPDATE 10:47 AM: The Triple-A phase is complete. The Double-A phase is taking place, although most teams are passing.
UPDATE 10:49 AM: The Pirates passed in the Double-A phase. The phase is now complete, ending the 2015 Rule 5 draft.