Projecting Yesterday’s Rule 5 Selections

The 2015 Rule 5 draft has come and gone. A total of 16 players were selected in the major league portion of the event. In what follows, I take a look at what KATOH has to say about the players selected. The players are listed in the order they were selected in yesterday’s draft. Projections have been produced based both on 2015 and also 2014 minor-league stats.

Tyler Goeddel, OF (Profile)
New Team: Philadelphia
Old Team: Tampa Bay
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 2.9 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 1.5 WAR

Goedel was one of the players I profiled in my Rule 5 preview. He transitioned from third base to the outfield in 2015, and he took a step forward offensively as well. He hit a strong .279/.350/.443 in Double-A and also kicked in 28 steals. Goeddel’s had some trouble making contact in the past, but his combination of power and speed is intriguing. Hitters who both possess that skill set and have already succeeded in Double-A don’t grow on trees. He may not be quite ready for the show going by the numbers, but is close enough that he probably won’t embarrass himself. And at 23, there’s still room for him to improve. The Phillies won’t be winning many games in 2016, so Goeddel is exactly the type of player on whom they should by taking fliers. Maybe they’ll catch lightning in a bottle like they did with last year’s Rule 5 pick, Odubel Herrera.


Jake Cave, OF (Profile)
New Team: Cincinnati
Old Team: New York (AL)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 1.3 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 1.7 WAR

Unlike Goeddel, Cave had a down year at the plate in 2015. He hit just .269/.330/.345 at the Double-A level before capping things off with a huge week in Triple-A. Cave strikes out nearly 20% of the time, which is a concerning clip for someone who doesn’t hit for much power. Cave has plus speed, which will play well in a reserve outfielder role, but it doesn’t seem as though he’s ready to hit big league pitching. It’s worth noting that he hit .326/.378/.450 from August 1st on, although that run was propped up by a .420 BABIP. His 22% strikeout rate over that span suggests he probably didn’t turn a corner in a meaningful way.


Evan Rutckyj, LHP (Profile)
New Team: Atlanta
Old Team: New York (AL)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 1.0 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.1 WAR

Rutckyj pitched extremely well out of the bullpen between High-A and Double-A last year. He posted a 2.59 ERA and struck out a remarkable 32% of batters faced. Those numbers sound impressive, but keep in mind that just about every organization has a reliever or two with similar numbers in the low minors.  Rutckyj is a 6-foot-5 lefty, which helps set him apart from the crowd a bit; but 23-year-old relief aces from A-Ball are a dime a dozen. Still, given the state of the Braves bullpen, it’s easy to see why they’d take a flier here.


Luis Perdomo, RHP (Profile)
New Team: Colorado
Old Team: St. Louis
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 0.9 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.9 WAR

Perdomo split last season between two levels of A-Ball, where he turned in a 3.30 FIP over 127 innings. That’s a solid showing, but nothing to suggest that he’s ready for the big leagues just yet. Yet, despite his mediocre numbers, Perdomo can run it up to 97 mph, so one could easily envision him finding success in the bullpen. Perdomo will be 23 next season, so he was probably running out of chances to start as it was. Perhaps he can pull a Roberto Osuna and make the jump from A-Ball starter to successful reliever.


Colin Walsh, 2B (Profile)
New Team: Milwaukee
Old Team: Oakland
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 0.6 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.1 WAR

Walsh had a really weird — yet successful — season in Double-A last year. Walsh struck out in 21% of his trips to the plate, but walked in another 20%. So he only actually put the ball in play less than 60% of the time. He had success in those instances where he did put in play, as evidenced by his .302/.447/.470 slash line. The catch is that Walsh is 26, which is way, way too old to have spent the last season in Double-A. Walsh offers almost nothing in terms of upside, but his 2015 results suggest he might be able to contribute in some way. In addition to playing second base, he’s also dabbled in left field, so he offers a small amount of position flexibility as well.


Jabari Blash, OF (Profile)
New Team: San Diego (Drafted by Oakland and Traded)
Old Team: Seattle
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): o.6 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats):  0.5 WAR

Blash hit .271/.370/.576 and crushed 32 homers in the high minors last year, but did so with an unsightly 26% strikeout rate. There are several good things about Blash: he’s 6-foot-5, has excellent power and runs very well for a guy his size. But these positive characteristics are counteracted with some bad ones: he’s already 26 and he strikes out way too much. It’s always interesting to see how guys like this fair in the show, but unfortunately, they usually don’t succeed. That’s too bad, because I’d really like more excuses to say Jabari Blash’s name out loud.


Joey Rickard, OF (Profile)
New Team: Baltimore
Old Team: Tampa Bay
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 3.8 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.1 WAR

Due to the difficulty of identifying Rule 5 eligible players, I neglected to include Rickard in my Rule 5 preview. But if I had a time machine, I’d go back and make him the first player I mention. The former ninth-round pick had a break-out year in 2015, slashing .321/.427/.447 across three levels of the minors: High-A, Double-A and Triple-A. Rickard doesn’t hit for much power, but does an excellent job of controlling the strike zone: he walked nearly as often as he struck out last year. He also runs well, which should come in handy in the outfield. Rickard was pretty bad in 2014, so it remains to be seen if he sustains his 2015 breakout. But if he does, the Orioles might have hit the jackpot with this pick. Rickard was the only player from KATOH’s top 100 (#98) who was taken in the Rule 5.


Joe Biagini, RHP (Profile)
New Team: Toronto
Old Team: San Francisco
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 0.4 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.1 WAR

A former 26th-round pick, Biagini spent last season as a 25-year-old in Double-A. He pitched to a sparkling 2.42 ERA, but his 3.35 FIP was a bit more ordinary. Furthermore, his 16% strikeout rate suggests he doesn’t miss many bats. Biagini’s a projectable 6-foot-4, but nothing about his statistical profile really stands out. Perhaps the Blue Jays have reason to believe his stuff will play up in the bullpen. KATOH doesn’t see the appeal of Biagini, but KATOH’s also never seen him pitch.


Matt Bowman, RHP (Profile)
New Team: St. Louis
Old Team: New York (NL)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 0.6 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 1.5 WAR

Bowman had a decent 2014 campaign, but had a really rough go of it at the Triple-A level last year. His strikeout rate plummeted from 22% to 12%, which resulted to an ERA and FIP over 5.00. Bowman’s numbers aren’t particularly compelling, but there’s reason to believe he has more upside than your average 24-year-old. He was primarily a shortstop in his days at Princeton, and didn’t start pitching full-time until the Mets drafted him in 2012, so he has a relatively fresh arm. In last winter’s writeup, Kiley McDaniel noted that “everything may play better in short stints” for Bowman. The Cardinals seem to agree.


Ji-Man Choi, 1B (Profile)
New Team: Los Angeles (AL)
Old Team: Baltimore
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): NA
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 2.2 WAR

KATOH liked Choi a good deal heading into the 2015 season, but he sat out most of the year after he broke his leg in spring training. Choi returned to action in mid-August and hit an impressive .298/.403/.421 for the Mariners Triple-A affiliate. He signed a minor league contract with the Orioles this winter, but was eligible for the Rule 5 since he wasn’t on their 40-man roster. Choi’s dabbled in left field, but has otherwise played exclusively first base, so all of his value is tied to his bat.


I’m grouping the last six relievers into one paragraph since they’re all very similar from a statistical standpoint. None pitched particularly well last year, but each has redeeming qualities that suggest he might make for a useful bullpen piece. One or two of these guys will probably stick all year and pitch well out of the bullpen. Which one or two? That’s really anyone’s guess. Like the rest of the baseball universe, KATOH isn’t particularly good at predicting random reliever breakouts.

Miscellaneous Rule 5 Relievers
Name New Team Old Team 2014 KATOH 2015 KATOH
Josh Martin San Diego Cleveland 0.1 0.5
Deolis Guerra Los Angeles (AL) Pittsburgh 0.7 NA
Daniel Stumpf Philadelphia Kansas City 0.2 0.3
Chris O’Grady Cincinnati Los Angeles (AL) 0.1 0.5
 Zack Jones Milwaukee Minnesota 0.1 0.6
Blake Smith San Diego Chicago (AL) 0.1 0.5

Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. He's also on the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell None of the views expressed in his articles reflect those of his daytime employer.

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7 years ago

You linked the wrong Zach Jones for the Brewers second pick. This is the player they got: