Tuesday night was the deadline for teams to add players to their 40 man roster to keep them from the Rule 5 draft. The Rule 5 draft has been overrated (but their have been so many articles saying it is overrated recently, that perhaps it is underrated) but teams want to make sure some of their better prospects are not exposed to it. This lead to a few minor trades and a whole lot of DFAs and other roster shuffling. In this article, I wanted to look at some of the players added to 40 man rosters, as well as some players that were notably not put on 40 man rosters (and thus eligible for the Rule 5 draft). Since their were so many moves (and not moves), this is a completely subjective list, just some guys I haven’t posted articles about that I found interesting.
Lo is already 26, but he is notable for his fastball. According to Brooks Baseball, he averages 94.2 MPH on his fastball but a soft slider under 80 MPH. He can also throw a hard change and a curveball that is nearly 20 MPH less than his fastball on average. He has an interesting release point that may limit him to facing RHB:
Injury problems have basically decimated his career, which is why he has thrown only 30 innings over the last two years (all below AA). He is an interesting arm because of the stuff, but hardly one you can serious rely upon.
The 25 year old Braves’ right-hander pitched in AA in 2012. Some think he could be a MLB reliever, despite average stuff, mainly relying on changing speeds. He pitched reasonably well in 2012, with a FIP .047 better than league average and a SIERA .035 better than league average. He walked too many hitters, especially for being a little old for the level, but he did have a nice strikeout rate. He doesn’t have much platoon splits, so perhaps he could be a long man in the Majors within the next couple of years.
One may wonder why a team would add a player who had a .534 OPS in over a 100 games (not a small sample) in A + this year with a .561 OPS in A-ball the previous year. If the player is a 20 year old shortstop, listed at 6 foot and just 140 pounds, then the story starts to make a little more sense. Good but not spectuacular speed scores with plenty of stolen bases. He is obviously going to get bigger, which should help him as a hitter. All reports show he has advanced plate discipline and is considered to be a great defender. As he gets older (expect him to repeat A +), he should at the very least become a decent utility player despite these bad numbers. I am a little curious as to why he was added as no one would have taken him in the Rule 5 draft because he simply could not stay on a MLB roster all year.
The Dodgers protected Ames after he put up ridiculous numbers in AA Chattanooga when he repeated the level in 2012. It wasn’t like he struggled the first time around, as he had a 2.53 FIP and 2.69 SIERA. While his numbers are great against lefties, he has been amazing against right-handers, striking out 34.5 % of them and walking just 5 % over the last two seasons in the minors. The 24 year old (will turn 25 during spring training) is obviously just going to stay in the bullpen, but he is a pretty standard delivery (nothing that would make you think he can’t get lefties out as well). He doesn’t throw very hard, but with those numbers, he will at least get a serious look in spring training and may even be able to crack the Majors in 2013.
Rodriguez is like Machado in that he is just 20 years old and has progressed all the way to A + with (in his case) mediocre numbers. Rodriquez wasn’t bad at all in the Midwest (A) League in 2012, and he has plenty of bat speed. He has pretty good size with an opportunity to fill out. His swing isn’t perfect or pretty, but he held his own (unlike Machado honestly) despite being extremely young for his league. He is a corner outfielder, so his bat is really going to have to develop, but there is reason to think it will over the next few years.
The Mets’ minor league shortstop was a bit over matched in AA at age 21 after tearing up A + St. Lucie. Other than those dominant 65 games before being promoted to AA, Tovar has always been a relatively high average hitter, not striking out much but not walking much and hitting for virtually no power (3 homers since coming stateside in 2010). He doesn’t steal a whole lot of bases either, at least not efficiently, and doesn’t appear to have great speed. Defensive data has him as a plus defender and it looks like he has a plus arm. At the plate, his swing is not very pretty or promising at all, and he basically swings at everything.
A 25 year old centerfielder (who played mostly 2nd base in 2012), Long was picked in the 30th round out of college in 2009, not exactly a guy you expect a lot out of. However, he has hit above average at every league he has been at, including his 103 wOBA +, 106 OPS + first taste (393 PAs) in AAA. He doesn’t strikeout a lot and has a decent walk rate with a very small ground-ball rate. He is not going to hit for a much power (just a .177 ISO in the hitter friendly PCL playing his home games in an extremely hitter friendly park), but he has good speed (according to Baseball Prospectus’ FRAA he is a below average defender). He may just be interesting enough to draft in the Rule 5 draft and use him as a utility player.
A lefty reliever with the Pirates organization that failed as a starter thanks to control problems, but he has decent velocity from the left size (which always has value). He has good size with a big leg kick (but nothing that doesn’t look to unrepeatable, even with the control issues) that may provide him some deception. He comes over the top to give himself some good extension but there is a weird stoppage in his delivery before his leg comes down that I found strange. In AA this year, he had a 3.33 FIP and 3.76 SIERA, striking out 20.3 % of them and walking just 7.8 %. This probably isn’t good enough to be a LOOGY on someone’s MLB roster all year.
When I watched Zeid in the pitch in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in the middle of September, I was impressed. He hit 96 MPH on his fastball with a very impressive slider. Zeid was brought in by the Astros in the Hunter Pence trade and he had a decent year in AA in 2012 as a reliever. He usually sits anywhere between 90-94 MPH with his fastball with the ability to hit 97 MPH. I don’t know if he is ready for the big leagues or not, but he has a really easy delivery and the stuff and numbers are both very solid.