The 40-man Roster & Rule-5 Draft

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Ronald Guzman, the Condor.

On Friday the Rangers will need to make a decision on who is added (or not added) to their 40-man roster. Why is that important? There are actually a few reasons why that is important but for this winter it is primarily important due to the Rule-5 draft. Anyone on the 40-man roster, who would be eligible for the Rule-5 draft is therefore protected from the draft.

What is the Rule-5 draft? What makes them eligible?

The Rule-5 draft is an annual major league draft that occurs every year on the last day of the general manager’s winter meetings, December 8th this year. The draft was essentially created to prevent teams from hiding away too many young players in their system when they have spent a certain amount of time in the professional MiLB baseball. Adding players to the 40-man roster converts their contract to a MLB contract. This is what happens when you see transactions of teams who “select” or “purchase” the contract of a minor league player. In by doing so, this also starts their option clock. What makes players eligible? Quite simply players are eligible for selection in the Rule-5 draft who are not on their major league organization’s 40-man roster and:

  • were 18 of age or younger on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fifth Rule-5 draft upcoming; or
  • were 19 or older on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fourth Rule-5 draft upcoming

It will costs major league teams $50,000 for each player they draft (peanuts). If the draftee does not remain on the drafting team’s major league 25-man roster all season, then the player must be offered back to his original team at half the price of the drafting fee ($25,000).

There is also a Triple-A and Double-A phase of the rule-5 draft, where teams may draft players from Double-A to play for their Triple-A affiliate for a $12,000 fee, and may draft players from Single-A teams or lower to play for their Double-A affiliate for $4,000. The minor league portion is supposedly only utilized to fill rosters, however this does not mean that impact players can’t come through those phase. Alexi Ogando was selected in the minor league phases, and we all know how that turned out for Texas.

Speaking of the impact of the draft, we don’t have to go back too far. In December 2014, Texas league Odubel Herrera off of their 40-man roster. In this same draft, Delino Deshields was drafted by Texas, and gave Texas a leadoff bat and speed in their lineup. Odubel Herrera went on to hit 3rd in Philadelphia’s lineup, become an All-Star and is one of the National League’s better gloves in center-field. The fact that these guys had no experience in the majors prior to 2015 does not mean that they did not make a huge contribution and impact for their teams. The Rule-5 draft can yield fruitful results, but due to the restricts of keeping that player on the 25-man major league roster for the entire season, typically most teams don’t draft anyone unless necessary.

Now that we are educated on the Rule-5 draft, let’s take a look at the Ranger’s situation. Here is a list of the organization’s eligible players for the Rule-5 draft, courtesy of Scott Lucas. Thanks for taking the time to make this list:

2016rule-5

Drew Robinson, who was to become a MiLB free agent, has already been added to the 40-man roster. This gives Texas a left handed bat on the bench who has some pop and a utility infielder. The roster is currently at 37 (remember that Prince Fielder has to take up a roster spot until the start of Spring Training). Texas might want to leave at least one spot open in case they find themselves in a position to draft someone from the Rule-5 draft. Victor Payano who became an MiLB free agent as well, has signed a MiLB deal with the Miami Marlins.

So if we look at the list, we see a few names who stick out who are ranked as top prospects in our organization. Pedro Payano, Jairo Beras & Ronald Guzman. Not ranked in the top 20, and giving an honorable mention shoutout to Eduard Pinto, Juremi Profar, & Jose Valdespina. If I’m calling shots, there are a couple of things that are immediately important to me. Protect guys who are close to major league ready, investments, & pitching. Of those guys, there are a few who have amazing raw talent, but have not matured as quickly as others have before them. It’s tough but that’s a chance I’d be willing to take to leave them exposed. The drafting team is taking a chance on them converting to the majors and actually performing, so

With that said, I would immediately add Ronald Guzman to the roster, pictured above. He is definitely not major league ready but he is probably the closest, and given the lack of success we have had at filling the right corner, this gives that spot a glimmer of hope for the future. Guzman signed during the 2011 international amateur signing period. That year the Rangers also signed Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara, Jose Leclerc, & Leonys Martin. That’s a pretty salty haul if you ask anyone. This also raises a concern to protect the Ranger’s investment as they spent $3.45 million on Guzman’s signing bonus, 2nd to Mazara’s record setting $4.95 million. Guzman should hopefully be ready for the 2018 campaign with possibly a cup of coffee in 2017. I think if any other club had less options than we do at first base and just as high or higher need for the position than a club would take a flyer on Guzman. My decision, add Ronald Guzman to the 40-man roster.

That moves the roster to 38, and leaves one more spot. Now, I start to think about pitching; Pedro Payano. Payano pitched in the 2010 RBI World Series junior division championship club along with fellow Rangers Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman. He signed during the 2012 International Amateur signing period for $600,000. He’s got a slightly above average fastball with pretty much 50 grade everything else. He will eventually pitch in the majors, but I’m not sure that year is 2017. A team would be taking a huge risk on a player who has not pitched past Single-A ball. If this year he had been at Frisco with the same success, I’d be singing a different tune. My decision, I’d have to take the chance and leave him off the 40-man roster.

Last but not least, Jairo Beras. The Rangers also signing Beras in 2012 for a whopping $4.5 million!!! I mean, the kid is very special, and has a lot of raw talent and is starting to show some more pop. Unfortunately, due to the birth date controversy posing as a 16 year old then later stating he is actually 17, forced MLB to ban him from play until 2013. Due to that, the Rangers are looking at a decision to make by this Friday. Beras runs well for his 6’6″ frame, but he won’t be tearing up the base paths anytime soon. He most valuable asset is his bat speed which will give him pop, which we saw in his High-A campaign in High Desert this season, and most noticeably, his cannon of an arm which will make him a good RF candidate. A lot of teams are looking for corner outfield help for their 2017 season, and although it would be a HUGE risk performance/adaptability wise for a team to take a flyer on him, it could pay off huge if it actually works out for that team and Jairo. Not taking his signing bonus into account, I said Jairo is a pass. But the Rangers have invested a lot into this kid, and with some refinement as far as his approach at the plate, I believe he could be ready as soon as 2018 campaign. In my opinion, the Ranger’s are invested already. My decision, add Jairo Beras to the 40-man roster.

That put’s the roster at 39, which the Rangers could use to make a selection in the Rule-5 draft, or as a buffer potential trades. Once spring training starts, we will immediately gain 2 slots on the 40-man as Adrian Sampson & Prince Fielder will be sent to the 60-day DL.

Tell me what you guys think and if you think I’m right or wrong factoring in what the Ranger’s have already committed financially to Guzman and Beras. I’d like to hear what everyone thinks!

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