Thoughts Ahead of Wednesday’s Deadline to Protect Prospects from Rule 5 Draft

(Freek Bouw/Phrake Photography)

While we have had several discussions so far this offseason regarding players that could be added to the Dodgers‘ 40-man roster to avoid being lost in this year’s Rule 5 draft, the deadline has finally arrived.

Wednesday, November 20 is the final day to perform such actions. Consequently, the draft itself will be held on the final day of the 2019 Winter Meetings scheduled to take place in San Diego on December 8-12.

The Dodgers already made one corresponding move back on October 31 by adding Victor Gonzalez to the team’s 40-man. The native of Mexico is a 24-year-old southpaw swing man who threw across three levels of the farm last year. Over 38 appearances—13 of which were starts—he posted a 5-2 record and a 2.31 ERA with 93 punchouts over 89-2/3 innings of work.

As far as the rules governing Rule 5 status go, our friend Jeff Todd over at MLBTR says it best: “Eligibility is determined by reference to the age and timing of entry to the professional ranks. A player that signed at 18 years of age or younger and has five seasons of pro ball is Rule 5 eligible if he is not added to the 40-man roster in advance of the deadline. Players that signed at 19 or older and have four seasons of professional experience are also eligible to be selected if they’re not added to the 40-man roster tomorrow. Teams that make selections in the draft will gain conditional control over the chosen players. To be kept permanently, a player must stay on the MLB roster for an entire season, with at least ninety days spent on the active roster.”

In total, the Dodgers have 24 players who fall into the Rule 5 category. However, most of these farmhands aren’t even close to being MLB worthy. What’s more, many will never hear their names mentioned among the notable prospects on the farm.

One player we mentioned as a lock for the 40-man is outfielder DJ Peters. Despite his high strikeout rate, he’s still among the club’s Top 12 rated prospects. After being promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City last year, his average rose about 20 points, showing just how difficult hitting in the Double-A Texas League can be. In all, the 23-year-old right-handed hitting product of Western Nevada CC hit 23 homers and 20 doubles with a .811 OPS.

He’s very quick for his 6-foot-6 frame, which allows him to handle center field duties easily. His strong arm may place him in a class among the organization’s best right fielders from a defensive standpoint.

Another player who could be on the bubble is 22-year-old third baseman Cristian Santana, but I’m not quite sure there’s another team out there who might like the righty hitting Dominican native enough to throw him directly onto their big league roster.

As we discussed previously,  while he was once viewed as a legit power threat, Santana saw some strange things happen to his numbers last season. While his power stats dropped, his ability to hit for contact and average rose significantly. Exclusively at High-A Rancho in 2018, he slashed .274/.302/.447 with 23 doubles, 24 HR and 109 RBI over 131 games, but he punched out a whopping 143 times. Last year for Double-A Tulsa in the pitcher-friendly Texas League, he slashed .301/.320/.436 with just 10 homers in 102 games; however, he struck out just 88 times.

On defense, he’s much more advanced, as some believe he has the capability to be an above-average defender at the hot corner in the majors right now. He has excellent quickness and range, and his arm strength is probably his best defensive asset. In addition, his ability to handle multiple infield spots could potentially boost his value.

Somewhere in between is righty pitcher Mitchell White. Once ranked among the Dodgers’ Top 3 prospects perennially, the 24-year-old Santa Clara product has fallen off the radar as of late. Across two levels last season, he made 20 starts, posting a 4-6 record with a 5.09 combined ERA and a 1.30 WHIP over 93-2/3 innings of work.

Another handful of other Rule 5 eligible players who might raise the eyebrows of several rival clubs come draft time are position players Errol RobinsonStarling Heredia and Cody Thomas, in addition to pitchers Jordan Sheffield, Leo Crawford and Michael Boyle.

Wednesday’s deadline is 8:00 PM Eastern time.


13 thoughts on “Thoughts Ahead of Wednesday’s Deadline to Protect Prospects from Rule 5 Draft

  1. This is not one of those years where the front office will have a huge struggle trying to squeeze guys on to the 40-man in order to protect them. The roster is currently at 37 with Peters, White and probably Santana for those 3 spots. The only others I could see being added might be Sheffield and Crawford. In order to create two more spaces there are a few names who might be lopped off in the next 24 hours, either by trade or release: Sborz, Chargois, White and Kolarek (no more room for loogys) come to mind. I’m not saying I would endorse those moves, but they are available if needed.

      1. Maybe the fact that he’s being traded today in the Betts/Bryant/Lindor (take your pick) deal.

      2. Yeah, I guess you never know what types of deals Friedman is trying to work. Even if a prospective trade has a 0.0001% chance of happening, I suppose it doesn’t hurt to wait until the final moments before the deadline to add him.

  2. I’m not really concerned about this. We’ve got maybe 30 players we likely intend to use through the year. The rest of the 40 will be our top prospects. Since we are so “deep”. (been hearing that for about 5 years) there may be one or two lost to the Rule 5 draft. Frankly I doubt it but if it happens…. oh well.

  3. It is November 20 that is the deadline Dennis….Dec 20 is after the meetings, so that is not feasible. I figure it was a typo old boy! LOL…

  4. 10 former Dodgers on the HOF ballot, not including the 2 on the modern baseball era ballot. Not one of them has much chance of being enshrined. Best shot for anyone to make it is Jeter. Should be first ballot HOFer. Manny’s 2nd year, so we will see how much the PED thing affects him. Bonds, Clemens both actually increased their percentage last year and have gotten a lot closer to the 75 percent. I think they both have 2 more years on the ballot. This is Larry Walker’s last shot. The former LA players eligible. Garvey and John on the modern day ballot, Furcal, Abreu, Sheffield, Kent, Andruw Jones, Beckett, Konerko, Penny and Chone Figgins. Has it really been 5 years since Beckett retired?? Wow, time flies.


    Lux and May are on the 26. Pick 14 more. If this is how Friedman ranks them, are there any left that would be picked for somebody else’s 26? I don’t know and again I don’t much care. We’ve got maybe 2-3 prospects a year that actually get some innings. We have 1 or 2 that actually make the team. Anybody not in the Top 10 is to be kept, for trade or for promotion . The rest can be replaced.

    Fill out the 40 and let’s get to the Winter Meetings.

    1. I do not believe they will protect White. He has not progressed as they might have wished, and I doubt at this point he has MLB ready stuff, so a team low on the totem pole might try him, but to me, he is not that big of a loss. As for non tender candidates, I do not think they will non tender Kolarek. He may be a loogy, but he was definitely better than advertised and did his job well. The 3 man rule for the next season should not really affect his status. Parra signs in Japan…good riddance, Martin re-signs with the ATL> . And Vazquez denied bail, and 21 more charges added to his dossier. In hind sight, Pittsburgh is probably wishing they had traded him for a box of new baseballs.

      1. I have no idea what they think of White, but he’s #9 on that list so until further notice he’s on my 40. We will know soon enough.

        Yeah, Atlanta looks better. But you just never know with relievers.

        Vasquez appears to be one sick individual. But as we know full well, this is America and everyone is guilty until proven innocent.

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