The 2018 Rule 5 Draft wraps up the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings on December 13 and there’s a number of interesting players available this year including numerous former first rounders.
Before we look at which players the Mets should target in the draft let’s go over the rules of the entire process.
The current rules require teams to “protect” players from the draft by placing them on the major league reserve list (more commonly known as the 40-man roster) after either four (if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5 immediately preceding the date he signed his first contract) or three (if the player was 19 or older) Rule 5 drafts have passed since the player signed his first minor league contract.
The deadline this year to add players to the 40-man roster was November 20, and the Mets decided not to add any additional players to protect them from next Thursday’s draft. Jacob Resnick of MMO/MMN took a look at the Mets prospect eligible to be taken including Luis Carpio, Matt Blackham, Ali Sanchez and Patrick Mazeika. The believe is that none of the Mets players will be taken in the major league portion.
To draft a player on Thursday, said team must have an open 40-man roster spot. The Mets currently have 36 players on the 40-man roster meaning they could take four players in the Rule 5 if they so choose to.
If a player is selected in the major league phase, the drafting team must pay the player’s original team a $100,000 fee. The player must then remain on his new team’s active (25-man) roster for the entirety of the upcoming season, or else he gets offered back to his original team for a $50,000 fee. A team can also use their high draft position to take a player then sell him to another team, like the Mets did last year with Burch Smith.
Teams may choose a player or pass on their selection, and teams that do make a pick will be offered another choice in the second round. This continues until all teams have passed on a selection.
Notable recent Rule 5 picks include Delino DeShields Jr., Odubel Herrera, Tommy Kahnle and Hector Rondon. There were 18 players drafted in the major league phase last year, with four of them finishing the season with the team that drafted them.
Following the major league phase is the minor league phase which has different rules for holding onto the drafted player. Players eligible for selection in this round are those who were left off of the major league reserve list and the organization’s Triple-A reserve list (which has a limit of 38). Note that players placed on the Triple-A reserve list are not necessarily Triple-A players. These players incur a $24,000 fee and are not returned for any reason.
The Mets lost left-handed pitcher Jose Carlos Medina and selected infielder Andrew Ely last year in the minor league phase. Resnick, again has you covered with Mets minor leaguers eligible to be taken in the minor league phase.
Draft order is determined the same as First Year Player draft, the reverse order of the prevous year’s standing. This means that the Mets will have the 12th pick. however, could pick earlier if one of the 11 teams ahead of them have a full 40-man roster.
The Mets last draft pick that stayed was Sean Gilmartin in 2014, and he proved valuable to the 2015 playoff team with a 2.67 ERA over 57.1 innings.
Now let’s take a look at players the Mets should a look at with the 11th pick. The Mets could also be active in the minor league portion with a few spots left open.
Raynel Espinal (RHP) Of the 93 pitchers in the Triple-A International League last year, the 27-year-old’s 12.76 K/9 ranked second. He also limited hitters to a .217 average, tied for the 9th lowest in the league. His 2.80 FIP ranked third in the league. The Yankees farmhand had a ridiculous 95 strikeout to 26 walk ratio in 67 innings last year. Espinal has a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s with a swing-and-miss slider.
Richie Martin (SS/2B) – It’s highly unlikely that the former first round pick of the Athletics is around when the Mets pick, but if not he would provide them needed infield depth. Both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline have Martin as a player likely taken given his defensively ability to stay at short and success at the plate in 2018 at Double-A (.300/.368/.439). The right-handed hitting Martin has a little bit of speed too, stealing 25 bases last season and double digits the last three seasons. MLB Pipeline has the 23-year-old ranked as the A’s No. 12 prospect.
Riley Ferrell (RHP) – The first thing you notice looking at Ferrell’s numbers is likely the 11.7 K.9, then you see it also comes with 5.9 BB/9 last year in Triple-A. The former third round pick of the Astros has a big arm thought the control issues are obvious. The 25-year-old compliments the mid-to-high 90’s fastball with a swing-and-miss slider. BA again has Ferrell as one of the top prospect in the draft.
Marcus Wilson (OF) – The 69th overall pick from the 2014 draft has 50 grades almost completely across the board (60 run is only outlier) from MLB Pipeline. The numbers weren’t there for the 22-year-old last season when he slashed .235/.309/.369 with 26 doubles, 10 homers and 16 stolen bases last year in High-A. The right-handed hitter had a much better 2017 when he posted a .829 OPS in 2017. He can play all three outfield positions though he likely has the skills to stay in center long-term. He’s currently ranked at the Diamondbacks No. 7 prospect according to Pipeline.
Forrest Wall (2B/OF) – The former top 100 prospect and first round pick of the Rockies was traded last season to the Blue Jays for Seunghwan Oh. The recently turned 23-year-old hit .263/.343/.402 with 24 doubles, eight triples, 10 home runs and 38 stolen bases between Advanced-A and Double-A in 2018. He has versaility (has played second, right and center field) and speed (29 triples/108 stolen bases in 414 games), two things the Mets bench could use. The left-handed hitter is ranked No. 25 in a stacked Blue Jays farm system.
Trevor Megill (RHP) – The 25-year-old is coming off a solid season, he posted a 3.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 7.4 H/9, 10 K/9 amd only 1.9 BB/9 in 37.2 innings last season between rookie ball, advanced-A and Double-A. He has 129 strikeouts compared to only 26 walks in 96.1 career innings. The 6’8” former 7th round pick of the Padres is also the brother of Mets’ 2018 8th rounder Tylor Megill. Trevor has a low 90’s fastball that he combines with 11-5 curve that flashes as an above average pitch.
The Mets certainly need depth on the bench and in the bullpen, two areas they are likely to address before spring training. Also, two of the easier spots to get a look at a Rule 5 player.