Preview of today’s rule 5 draft

SAN DIEGO — For the first time in three years, since the winter meeting was last held in San Diego, the draft Rule 5 will be held in person. That was after it was forced to a remote event in 2020 because of the pandemic and canceled in 2021 because of the lockout.

In years past, Rule 5 was the final act of the Thursday morning winter meetings, where all the baseballers gathered before heading to the airport. This year may have the same vibe, although in these slightly abbreviated meetings, the event has been rescheduled to Wednesday afternoons at 5:00 p.m. ET/2 PT (live audio stream on

However, what hasn’t changed at all is that Rule 5 offers all 30 teams a low-risk opportunity to find potential big league talent. The teams go through the huge list of eligibles and review the scouting reports to see if they want to make a selection.

Unlike the amateur (Rule 4) draft, which is now partially ranked by lottery, at least in the first round, the Rule 5 draft rank is still ranked by the reverse order of last season’s standings. So the Nationals, who had the worst record in baseball in 2022, have first pick, followed by the A’s. The Pirates and Reds ended last season with identical records, making the Pirates a potential No. 3 draft pick as they end 2021 with an inferior record. The Reds pick fourth place and the Royals round out the top five.

The draft order
Below is this year’s full draft rule 5 regulation. A team must have space on its roster to be eligible for a selection, so each team’s 40-man status is shown in parentheses.

Players first signed at age 18 or younger must be included in the 40-man roster within five seasons or become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed aged 19 or older must be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the major league stage of the Rule 5 draft. If that player does not remain on the active Major League roster for the entire season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000. For this year, that means a 2018 signed international or high school draft pick had to be protected. A college player drafted into the 2019 draft was in the same position.

1st nationals, 55-107 (38)
2. As, 60-102 (38)
3. Pirates, 62-100 (38)
4th Red, 62-100 (39)
5.Royals, 65-97 (40)
6. Tigers, 66-96 (38)
7th Rangers, 68-94 (40)
8. Rockies, 68-94 (38)
9. Marlin, 69-93 (39)
10 Angels, 73-89 (40)
11. D Back, 74-88 (40)
12. Hatchlings, 74-88 (36)
13. Gemini, 78-84 (39)
14. Red Socks, 78-84 (39)
15. White Socks, 81-81 (36)
16. Giants, 81-81 (38)
17. Orioles, 83-79 (38)
18. Brewer, 86-76 (38)
19th rays, 86-76 (40)
20th Phillies, 87-75 (38)
21. Padres, 89-73 (34)
22. Sailors, 90-72 (37)
23. Watchers, 92-70 (39)
24. Blue Jay, 92-70 (39)
25 Cardinals, 93-69 (38)
26th Yankees, 99-63 (39)
27. Mets, 101-61 (33)
27. Brave, 101-61 (38)
29 Astros, 106-56 (37)
30. Dodgers, 111-51 (37)

There is also a minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft that will increase the cost of a triple-A pick from $12,000 to $24,000 (anyone not in a big league or triple-A roster is protected is entitled). The double A phase has been eliminated. Players selected in this portion of the Rule 5 draft will not be subject to roster restrictions at their new organizations.

Recent Achievements
The final major league phase of the Rule 5 draft came in 2020 with 18 selections made. Seven of them have received positive bWARs in the past two years, led by Red Sox right-hander Garrett Whitlock (4.7) and Tigers outfielder Akil Baddoo (2.5). Both are among the top 10 Rule 5 picks of the past decade.

The best selection ever
Changes to how the Rule 5 draft works make it difficult to compare across eras. Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente is obviously the best ever drafted, but it was a different mechanic back then. So if we look to a more modern era since 1990, here’s how the top 5 Rule 5 players who got stuck ranked by career WAR.

1. Johan Santana, LHP (51.7)
2. Shane Victorino, OF (31.2)
3. Josh Hamilton, OF (28.1)
4. Joakim Soria, RHP (18.6)
5th Dan Uggla, 2B (17.5)

Soria is the player on this list who most recently played and promoted for the D-Backs and Blue Jays in 2021. Among the active players included in Rule 5, Ender Inciarte eclipsed Uggla with a 17.9 WAR, but he was actually returned to his original team, the D-Backs, after the Phillies signed him in 2012 and he Made his big league debut with Arizona in 2014. Odúbel Herrera is the strongest among the active players who are stuck with 13.4 WAR.

The best available prospects
There are a number of top 30 prospects qualifying for the Rule 5 draft this year, although there aren’t usually too many high-level prospects changing hands. There were some intriguing names that popped up in lobby talk, like Phillies left-hander Erik Miller, Braves right-hander Victor Vodnik and Rays southpaw Jose Lopez.

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