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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Pirates Prospects Who Are Eligible For the 2016 Rule 5 Draft

The Pittsburgh Pirates set their 40-man roster today, adding Clay Holmes as their only move, and protecting him from the upcoming Rule 5 draft on December 8th. The players on the lists below are eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

When a player is eligible for the Rule 5 draft, that means any team can select him in the draft, paying $50,000 to the former team. The drafting team has to protect that player by placing him on the 25-man roster for the entire 2017 season. If a team can’t keep the player on the 25-man roster, they must place the player on waivers. If the player is claimed, the new team has to keep the player on the 25-man roster or waive him. If the player clears waivers, they have to be offered back to their original team for $25,000. Rule 5 picks can be placed on the disabled list, but they must spend at least 90 days on the active roster. Otherwise their Rule 5 restrictions carry over to the 2018 season until they’ve reached 90 days total on the active roster.

A player getting picked doesn’t mean that player will be totally lost. The odds of players sticking in the majors for the entire season are very slim. It’s not impossible, as we saw in 2013 with Wei-Chung Wang going to the Milwaukee Brewers. But most players exposed to the Rule 5 draft these days amount to waiver claims. You’re not really risking a potential impact player, and the worst that usually happens is that you lose a good middle reliever or a bench player.

The Pirates do have two guys who were left unprotected and have upsides bigger than relievers or bench players — Eric Wood and Barrett Barnes. I’ll go over them specifically below, along with the other notable players who were left unprotected. The full list of unprotected players is at the bottom of the article. I want to add the disclaimer that I don’t think all of the following guys are at risk of being drafted in a few weeks. In fact, I think the strongest candidates are Barnes and Wood, and you could make the argument that neither of them has a good chance of being drafted. Others are just mentioned for their chance to make the majors one day, their former prospect status, or because they had a noteworthy season this year. Here is the breakdown:

Eric Wood – Wood was eligible for the draft last year, and it’s no surprise that he wasn’t selected, after putting up a .237/.303/.305 line in his first go through Altoona. He showed some big strides this year on both sides of the ball, hitting for a lot more power, showing much improved defense at third base, and crushing the ball during the Arizona Fall League. It might be alarming that the Pirates didn’t protect him, although maybe not as much when you consider that third basemen rarely get drafted and protected in the Rule 5 draft. We’ll see if Wood is the exception this year, although my guess would be that he’d need similar numbers in Triple-A in order to be considered for the Rule 5 draft, or a 40-man spot.

Barrett Barnes – Barnes was eligible last year, but wasn’t drafted. That’s not a surprise, since he didn’t show a lot of power, and didn’t hit for average in his jump to Double-A. He showed improved numbers this time around, with better power, and the ability to hit for average and get on base. He’s got the ability to play all three outfield spots, but profiles best at a corner spot as a regular. His upside at this point would be a good fourth outfielder, and maybe an average starter at best if his power production carries over to Triple-A and the majors. He looks to be a better candidate to be drafted this year, due to the improved numbers, but his age (25) and injury history could chase other teams away.

Jin-De Jhang – Jhang has the chance to catch in the majors one day, especially now that he’s going to be seeing more playing time with Reese McGuire no longer in the system. He’s unlikely to be drafted in his second year of eligibility, mostly due to the lack of experience in the upper levels. He has just 53 games behind the plate above A-ball, and only five in Triple-A, all of which came this year. He could be an option next year, after getting a full season of work in Altoona as the starter and showing how he holds up. But if he does show improvements, I’d expect the Pirates to protect him, as they’ve been pretty high on him throughout his career.

Erich Weiss – Weiss is comparable to Dan Gamache, who went unprotected last year, then got lost in the mix in Indianapolis this year. He’s a former third baseman who switched to second base, has the ability to hit for average and get on base, and has some power potential. Overall, he profiles as a utility infielder, but isn’t athletic enough to also play the outfield like Adam Frazier or Alen Hanson. He’s got a chance to reach the majors in a Max Moroff role as depth, and might eventually hit and get on base enough to be a bench player. These players don’t usually get drafted in the Rule 5 draft, so Weiss is safe in the system for now.

Jared Lakind – The Pirates added Jose Osuna and Dovydas Neverauskas to the 40-man roster, preventing them from reaching minor league free agency. They opted to re-sign Lakind to a minor league deal, which accomplished the same thing of keeping him in the system, but leaves him exposed to the Rule 5 draft. He’s shown some improvements as a reliever, hitting 94 MPH from the left side late in the 2016 season, and putting up strong numbers in Altoona. He’s got a chance to pitch in the majors one day, but it’s unlikely it will happen via the Rule 5 draft. If that was the case, another team would have tried to get him on an MLB deal, which would have allowed them to option him to the minors.

Jacob Stallings – He was outrighted off the 40-man roster this off-season, and had the chance to elect free agency, but stuck around with the Pirates. He made the majors in an emergency role in 2016, and his upside is a strong defensive backup, although with the Pirates the best he can hope for is being a depth option out of Indianapolis. He won’t be taken in the Rule 5 draft. Every team passed on him when the price was a waiver claim and the chance to option him to the minors. The Rule 5 draft would require that he remain on the active roster all year, which isn’t as preferred.

First time Eligibles

In Our Mid-Season Top 50

Erich Weiss

Others

Dario Agrazal

Luis Benitez

Johan De Jesus

Cody Dickson

Rudy Guzman

Jhoan Herrera

Henry Hirsch

Justin Maffei

Wyatt Mathisen

Brett McKinney

Luis Perez

Pablo Reyes

Miguel Rosario

Justin Topa

Eduardo Vera

Julian Villamar

David Whitehead

Previously Eligible

In Our Mid-Season Top 50

Barrett Barnes

Edwin Espinal

Eric Wood

Others

Danny Arribas

Colten Brewer

Jake Burnette

Jason Creasy

Chris Diaz

Elvis Escobar

Adrian Grullon

Luis Heredia

Delvin Hiciano

Jin-De Jhang

Sam Kennelly

John Kuchno

Jared Lakind

Yunior Montero

Tomas Morales

Carlos Munoz

Cesilio Pimentel

Jose Regalado

Alfredo Reyes

Francis Rodriguez

Henrry Rosario

Casey Sadler

Angel Sanchez

Sandy Santos

Jon Schwind

Josh Smith

Jacob Stallings

Julio Vivas

As an addition to the above list, any minor league free agents who are signed before the Rule 5 draft are eligible to be drafted by other teams.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Randy W

Alrighty, calm down already. For a team to take Wood they’d have to be really really high on him, thinking his bat will vastly improve enough to make him a productive MLB hitter some time next year, as he’d be occupying a spot on the bench all season. Or they think so highly of his chances of being really good in, say, two years that they’d be willing to take their lumps with him on their bench all year anticipating the reward they’ll reap soon after. That’s a gamble I don’t see any team taking. Add in that he’s a third baseman, and his pontential usefulness on a big league roster in 2017 looks really limited ( I’d say he’d not be a good option as an OF in the bigs at this point). I think Barnes is far more likely to be taken seeing as he’s an OF; but, any team taking him would have to really be hurting at that position to commit a full season bench spot to him. Keeping players like Rodgers on the 40 man might be unpopular, but having him as a depth option in 2017 is far preferred to Barnes or Wood. True, he probably will never be a really good MLB player, but the guy has shown he can handle the bat a little and he definitely is a better option this coming year. You can never say never, but the Pirates are taking a safe risk here, with minimal chance of this blowing up in their faces.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

So our genius GM is going to expose the likes of Wood and Barnes, to keep Jason Rogers on the 40 man roster. Wow, he’s worse of a talent evaluator than i thought. Who wants to take a stab at defending that decision? If you think that decision has merit, you probably also like the Nova and Liriano trades……we need a new GM….

terrygordon30

If the Pirates would have cut Rodgers to add another player, and then sign a free agent on Monday, then they might end up cutting one of the same players that you wanted to protect to make room for the free agent. All in all, it is a gamble either way. Just because Rodgers is protected now does not mean that he won’t be the first to go if a free agent is signed.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

Rogers is just one – there are at least 4-5 other AAAA or career minor leaguer types, plus one 40 year old pitcher, on that 40 man as well. It makes zero sense to place someone on that 40 man roster who is not part of your future…NH is weak GM at best….

terrygordon30

I am not a big fan of not protecting Wood and the other two either, and did not like the Rogers deal, and have disagreed with other moves, but your grade of NH is ridiculous. You asked someone to take a stab, and I did. Pine for the Littlefield days if you want, but I find that NH is at least above average.

NorCal Buc

Despite three years of playoff teams, BMSMd???

joe s

RudyGuzman can’t even get into the country for whatever reason, so I am sure no one will be taking him.

gashuffer

i confess i’m surprised they didn’t protect more
players.
can they try to trade them prior to the rule 5 as an inducement
to other teams

Chuck C

Roberto Clemente wasn’t protected and the rest is history.

mitch t

Just a reality check since every thread is required to include “Jeff Locke and Hughes need cut”… the last time Derek Holland had a good season Locke was an All-Star and Hughes posted a 3.03 ERA last year. We would not find comps on the market cheaper than their Arb projections.

Shoulda protected Wood though.

escilade18

If a relief pitcher comes in with the bases loaded, walks all 3 runners in and then strikes the next three out that is considered a 0ERA, Hughes ERA was very deceiving, his issue was that he always choked away leads

BuccoFan21

Starting to really pull for the Pirates to pick up Derek Holland, I mean seriously, he can’t be as bad as Jeff Locke has been (knock on wood) and he wants to come to the Pirates. I seriously don’t think that they are even going to try to seriously pick up Nova and the price for mid tier pitchers (Cashner, Colon, Dickey) is steeper than the Pirates will pay and I doubt they make a trade for a starter. Also I saw that Nathan Eovaldi is on waiver and if so I think the Pirates need to pick him up. It won’t kill us to keep him on the 40-man til the season and then we can stash him on the 60-day D.L., let Searage work a little magic and we could have a decent back end guy in 2018 for nothing.

Chuck C

Is Searage going to get his FB over 90mph. We paid 9m plus our starting 2nd baseman for a pitcher that lost his FB….No to Holland. Just my opinion.

Joe S

Eovaldi had Tommy John surgery and is out until 2018

Ken

Pretty sure that Eovaldi is a free agent in 2018.

Joe S

And he just had TJ surgery.

Joe Nastasi

Cashner, Colon & Dickerson have all signed with teams already

BuccoFan21

Exactly, they were in the middle tier in this market and they signed for more than I think the Pirates would be willing to pay meaning the rest of that middle tier is out of their price range.

Joe S

It looks as if neither Stephen Tarpley or Tito Polo were added to the Yankees 40-man, which would make them eligible for the Rule 5 draft as well.

With Joey Cora being on the major league staff now and having managed both Eric Wood and Barrett Barnes this year at Altoona I’d have to believe that he believes they are either not going to be selected or will be unable to stick.

Not concerned in either case.

Y2JGQ2

We should take Tarpley and throw him in the bullpen

emjayinTN

Tarpley, at age 23, was a SP in Hi A in 2016 and he did not have a very good year. You recommend promoting him over AA and AAA and into the majors for the whole year? The Yankees are pretty sure nobody will jump at that opportunity.

Jared Lakind (L), Dovydas Neverauskas (R), and Edgar Santana (R) are all on the “express” track for the BP in 2017, and Stephen Brault (L) is already at AAA/MLB as a SP/RP.

Y2JGQ2

yes i do if we plan on trading cutch because 2017 would be another throw away year anyways

emjayinTN

Y2: Trading ‘Cutch will cost too much, therefore the Pirates will not allow that to happen unless ‘Cutch publicly states that he will not sign an extension with the Pirates. Too huge of an ancillary asset of the PBC, and the City of Pittsburgh.

Y2JGQ2

There is no situation where we would WANT to sign Cutch to an extension at this point, so why would that announcement have any bearing on anything?

escilade18

My thoughts exactly, I would much rather give him a chance than overpay Hughes to be hidden in the bullpen.

Coldstonecami

Polo & Tarpley were traded in August to the Yankees as players to be named later in the Nova trade.

piraddict

It is a mistake not to protect Woods and Barnes.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

It is if it you are protecting Jason Rogers instead….how do you defend that decision?

Ken

What two players would you drop to protect them? It’s not free.

piraddict

In order of preference:
Rogers
Bostick
Ngoepe
W. Garcia
Moroff
Dragmire

BuccosFanStuckinMD

There are at least 5 or 6 I would expose and feel pretty confident that no one would take them….and if they, it would be so what…

emjayinTN

I agree it is a mistake to leave Wood and Barnes exposed. Who should be dropped? If the 40 man listed is correct, I would start with Chris Bostick, Gift Ngoepe, Brady Dragmire, and Eric Fryer.

Chuck C

Those players will not be on the 40 after some of the pickups the Pirates have to make. Any player you trade for or pick up as a free agent as to go on to 40.

DanielF

We’ll see on the 8th.

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