With the Mets opting to add Gerson Bautista, Tyler Bashlor, Luis Guillorme, and Corey Oswalt to the Major League roster, they protected those players from the Rule 5 Draft. Conversely, the Mets made some tough decisions on some other players whom they exposed and risked losing on Dec. 14 in the Rule 5 Draft:
2017 Stats: 8-7, 3.60 ERA, 1.251 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 6.1 K/9
After a difficult 2016 season, Jannis began to control his knuckleball much better producing respectable results. Part of that was his ability to keep the ball on the ground as he posted a 1.58 groundout-to-flyout ratio and surrendered just four homers in 122.1 innings pitched.
As a result, we saw his ERA drop in successive months, and he carried that forward into the Arizona Fall League. With the top prospects in the game, Jannis stood out with the third best ERA among starters (2.33) and the fifth best WHIP (1.037).
While he may not be the next R.A. Dickey, he has shown he can consistently throw the knuckleball, which may very well entice some team into giving him a shot to stick in their rotation or their bullpen.
Levels: Las Vegas & Binghamton
2017 Stats: 7-13, 5.35 ERA, 1.439 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, 5.1 K/9
Like many pitchers who pitch to contact, Knapp struggled in Vegas. This was largely the result of him surrendering a .326 BABIP, and really struggling at home. Naturally, these numbers would not entice any team. What would is what Knapp did when he was sent to Binghamton to help that team with their postseason push.
When Knapp was sent to Binghamton, he made four starts going 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.037 WHIP. In his only postseason start he picked up the win pitching seven innings and allowing five hits, one earned run, one walk, and striking out seven. This along with his strong 2016 in St. Lucie and Binghamton may be enough to entice a team to select him.
Knapp being selected would not be completely unexpected. A few years ago, the Cardinals selected Matthew Bowman from the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft. Bowman had a similar profile to Knapp, and he has been a useful piece in the Cardinals bullpen the past two seasons.
Level: Las Vegas
2017 Stats: 0-2, 8.31 ERA, 1.788 WHIP, 5.2 BB/9, 6.2 K/9
2016 Stats (Binghamton): 1-1, 1.87 ERA, 14 SV, 0.902 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 8.4 K/9
This time a year ago it would have been surprising to learn Roseboom was not going to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft. After a dominating year in Binghamton, he followed that with an impressive run in the Arizona Fall League. He was then given a chance to make the team out of spring training as a second lefty in the bullpen, and he showed enough for the Mets to consider him.
He struggled in his 18 appearances for Vegas this season, but his high ERA is mainly a result of three outings when he gave up four or more runs. If a team believes Roseboom would be healthy to start the year, or they believe they can stash him on the disabled list to start the season, he looks like a prime candidate to be poached by another organization. This shouldn’t be too surprising as teams typically use the Rule 5 Draft to look to find a left-handed reliever who could help them out of the pen.
Level: Columbia, St. Lucie, Binghamton
2017 Stats: 6-0, 1.51 ERA, 14 SV, 0.905 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, 10.1 K/9
Uceta was statistically the best reliever in the Mets minor leagues last year. That was largely due to his three-month stretch where he allowed just one unearned run. A major reason for his success was his ability to focus on his two best pitches, a mid 90s fastball and an outstanding changeup, to get betters out. This was a big reason why he was a fast riser through the Mets minor league system. This gives us every reason to believe he could just be scratching the surface as a shutdown late-inning reliever.
It’s very likely another team sees this come Rule 5 Draft time. Of all the players the Mets left exposed, Uceta appears to be the player most likely to be selected.
Level: St. Lucie & Las Vegas
2017 Stats: .277/.358/.440, 34 2B, 3 3B, 14 HR, 70 RBI, 18 SB, 3 CS
After dealing with a pair of broken hamate bones, the 23-year-old switch hitter got back to being the bat the Mets were once very excited to see. The real question for the Mets as well as any team that would even consider selecting him is where do you put him?
Due to his struggles at third, the Mets are having him work at both corner outfield spots during the Instructional Leagues. If he shows any aptitude there, we may see him make the complete switch from infielder to outfielder. That’s if a team doesn’t select him, which they could based upon his bat and his versatility. Still, with him having only played 13 games above High-A and not having a true position, the Mets may be able to get him through the Rule 5 Draft one last time.