Baseball America Adds More Names to Watch in the Rule 5 Draft

The winter meetings have been quiet so far for the Pittsburgh Pirates, except for their loss of Ashton Goudeau on waivers after spending 12 days with the team. At least we are guaranteed to have some news on Thursday morning when the Rule 5 draft takes place. We have had multiple articles on the subject already, but here’s another (yesterday’s article was followed quickly by the Goudeau news, so maybe something else will happen today).

Baseball America has expanded their list of Rule 5 prospects from ten to 50. Good news here for Pirates fans is that they didn’t add any Pirates players to their list, which had lefty Braeden Ogle on the original list as the only Pirates player. I believe right-handed pitcher Yerry De Los Santos could get some looks, especially with his brief winter performance in the Dominican going on right now. Over three outings, he has thrown three perfect innings while facing just eight batters, striking out five of them. That’s coming from a guy who dominated Low-A in 2019 and had the stuff to match his results. So while BA didn’t add him to the list yet (they have more updates planned), I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pirates lose him. That being said, teams have players selected on average once every two years and those players remain on their new rosters once every three years, so there’s never a huge chance of losing a player. That being said (part two), the Pirates have the first pick, so their chance of keeping someone, especially on a 19-41 team, should be very good. They may even make two picks now that they have two open roster spots.

BA’s list, which is for their subscribers, has 40 new names. I won’t go over all of them here obviously, but here are my top six favorite new players added to the list:

Darius Valdez, Padres RHP – He has hit 102 MPH, has a plus changeup and a strong slider and he’s huge at 6’8″. His control is below average, but a three-pitch guy with triple digit velocity seems like someone you would take a shot on. Especially true if the Pirates make two picks

Addison Russ, Yankees RHP – He’s had Double-A success, plenty of time as a closer in the minors, and a two-pitch mix that gets a lot of swinging strikes.

Julio Rodriguez, Cardinals Catcher – Above average defender with some bat skills according to BA. He’s currently playing winter ball in the Dominican for the second straight year and he has Double-A experience. With the expanded rosters it wouldn’t be tough to carry a third catcher and that would open up more room for Jacob Stallings to pinch-hit on his off-days. Pirates obviously need some catching help.

Buddy Reed, Athletics, OF – Mentioned here yesterday, but I like the tool potential. Missing the hit tool is the toughest one to make it to the majors without, but he isn’t lost at the plate.

Cody Thomas, Dodgers OF – Lots of power potential here. His downside is an all-or-nothing swing that gets a lot of nothing.

Jordan Diaz, Athletics 3B – Great bat-to-ball skills, just 20 years old with only low level experience. Wouldn’t be a bad player to give pinch-hit at-bats throughout 2021, then develop him in the minors for 2-3 years.

Here are the other articles concerning the Rule 5 draft and available players:

Rule 5 Draft Options from Baseball America

Some Unprotected Prospects the Pirates Could Consider Under Rule 5

Some More Rule 5 Possibilities for the Pirates

MLB Pipeline Posts Ten Names to Watch in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft