Rule 5 decisions are about as tough a decision as a general manager has to make. It’s part gambling and part assessing value. Sometimes, you’re able to slip players like Paul Sewald and T.J. Rivera through the Rule 5 Draft unclaimed and others you guess wrong releasing Jeff Walters mid-season while Matthew Bowman becomes a valuable piece of another team’s bullpen.
The full list of players has been made available by TPG Mets, but for now, here is an analysis of the players who are first time eligible for the Rule 5 draft:
Las Vegas 51s
LHP David Roseboom
Stats: 0-2, 8.31 ERA, 18 G, 17.1 IP, 1.788 WHIP, 6.2 K/9
Last year, it would have been all but assured Roseboom would have been added to the 40-man roster with him having a 1.87 ERA, 0.902 WHIP, and 8.4 K/9 with Binghamton. In fact, he was given a long look in Spring Training to see if he could make the team. However, after his struggles in Las Vegas and a season-ending foot injury, the Mets may very well risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft.
LHP Kelly Secrest
Stats: 1-1, 3.80 ERA, 30 G, GS, 45.0 IP, 1.667 WHIP, 10.2 K/9
Left-handed batters hit .260/.313/.384 against Secrest in his 25 games in Binghamton and five games in Las Vegas. With him not truly dominating left-handed batters and his walking 4.4 batters per inning, the Mets are likely to leave him unprotected.
Binghamton Rumble Ponies
Thirty years ago, Guillorme would not only be added to the roster, but he would also be hitting second in the order. Put another way, Guillorme is a throwback player whose skill set may not be fully appreciated. He has advanced knowledge of the strike zone and he knows who he is as a hitter. More than that, he’s one of the best defenders in the minors. Arguably, he’s ready to immediately be a Major League utility player and/or late inning defensive replacement. With the Mets not calling him up in September, we may soon find out if someone truly believes he can be.
Uceta struggled as a starter and he was converted to a reliever this season. From May 11 until the end of the season, he appeared in 33 games pitching 46.0 innings and allowed just four earned runs. It’s why he went from Columbia to Binghamton. With a high 90s fastball, and a terrific changeup, he’s become nearly unhittable. Still, he has not appeared above Double-A making this one of the more difficult decisions the Mets have to make.
Best of Single-A Players
Of all the players obtained at the trade deadline, Bautista was the real gem. Like Noah Syndergaard, he routinely hits triple digits with his fastball and he strikes a lot of batters. He began to turn promise into results with St. Lucie going 0-1 with a 1.26 ERA, 0.907 WHIP, and a 12.6 K/9. Ultimately, his talent is too enticing to leave exposed in the Rule 5 Draft.
RHP Andrew Church
Stats: 12-9, 5.06 ERA, 26 G, 26 GS, CG, 156.1 IP, 1.430 WHIP, 5.6 K/9
The Mets 2013 second round pick has a four pitch arsenal with talent, but he didn’t get the results this season. While you should always be careful about scouting the stat lines, a 5.06 ERA is likely going to scare teams away.
RHP Matt Blackham
Stats: 4-2, 1.42 ERA, 40 G, 8 SV, 56.2 IP, 0.988 WHIP, 13.0 K/9
Blackham had an outstanding year after missing the 2016 season due to elbow surgery to repair a fracture and reposition the ulnar nerve. He came back better than could have been anticipated with him dominating the Sally League this season. He has the stuff and results to entice someone. However, with him not having pitched in High-A, the Mets will likely be able to hold onto him without putting him on the 40-man roster.
Carpio is an immensely talented prospect who came back from shoulder surgery. However, he has not come all the way back. The talent is enticing for teams, but with the shoulder injury and his poor stats, the Mets should be able to keep him without adding him to the 40 man roster.
Sanchez is an outstanding defensive catcher which may entice some teams to hold onto him as a backup catcher. However, with him having hand injuries in consecutive seasons, including surgery to repair his hamate bone, teams should sufficiently be scared away from selecting him in the Rule 5 Draft.
The Mets are going to have to add a number of new players to the 40-man roster in order to make this team more competitive next year. This includes not just any of the aforementioned players, but also free agents and other minor league players who are Rule 5 pending. Looking at this list, there are a number of talented players here the Mets organization do not want to lose.
Ultimately, the best bets to be added to the roster are Uceta and Bautista. Both are talented shut down relievers who could very well be contributors to the Mets next season. The hardest call may ultimately be Guillorme. He’s certainly more than Major League ready defensively and arguably, he can handle his own offensively.
When it comes to players like Guillorme, that’s why Alderson gets paid the big bucks. It’s a tough decision that’s not easy to make. The hope is whatever decision he makes doesn’t have the Walters-Bowman ramifications.