The Rule 5 draft will take place in Las Vegas on Thursday December 13th, at 11 am Chicago time. The draft exists to limit the ability of teams to bury guys in the minors. The rules (very) simplified are, if a player signed his first professional contract at the age of 18 and under he is required to be on the 40 man roster in 5 years, if over 18 he must be added within 4 years. A team that selects a player must pay the former team 100,000 and the selected player has to be on the DL or the active roster all season, if he does not make the active roster he must be offered back to the team that lost him for 50,000 dollars. To select a player you must have a commensurate spot available on the 40 man roster. There are slightly different rules for the minor league rule 5 draft but we won’t get into that here.
Now you may ask which White Sox players has been left exposed to the rule 5 draft, there is one notable name and he is Spencer Adams. Adams was drafted by the White Sox in 2014 after they grabbed Carlos Rodon. Carlos has obviously gone on to the majors but Adam’s has developed a bit slower. He flashed is his debut season having a 59/4 strikeout to walk ratio, but never really took that next step. He is the 26th ranked player on MLB pipelines White Sox top 30 prospects, and deploys a fastball, slider, and changeup. Lefties seem to pick up Adams release pretty easily, and he may top out as an end of rotation starter.
So what kind of players are typically picked in the rule 5 draft, it would seem like alot of replacement players, right? Well mostly, yes, but there have been some VERY notable picks. In the last 28 years the top 5 players taken in ascending order are as follows and may shock you. Former White Sox closer Joakim Soria was chosen in 2006 by the Royals, Dan Uggla taken in 2005, Josh Hamilton in also in 2006 by the Cubs, and Shane Victorino in 2002 by the Padres. The best player by WAR taken in the rule 5 draft was Johan Santana with 50.7 career WAR, he was taken by the Twins in 1999 from the Astros (imagine him staring down the Sox in 2005, maybe it wouldn’t have been a sweep). The player collectively thought as best player ever taken in the rule 5 draft was in 1954, the Brooklyn Dodgers left a young Roberto Clemente off the 40 man roster, the Pittsburgh Pirates came in and scooped him up.
As for this year I wouldn’t expect the White Sox to be overly active with the third overall pick. Some intriguing names they COULD target is Rickie Martin a speedy middle infielder from the A’s. The other name that jumps out at me is Jake Gatewood from the Brewers, he plays first base which seems run of the mill. The sneaky deal here is Jake is injured with a torn ACL, now going back to above a player can be placed on the 60 day DL in lue of being placed on the active roster, then he can be sent for a long rehab assignment and if the Sox see something in him they can cross that bridge when it comes, if not they got a free look at a potential replacement for Jose Abreu. The Pirates did this last year with Nick Burdi and he ended up helping the Pirates when they got hot down the stretch.
I will be following this up when we find out exactly what the White Sox do tomorrow morning. Make sure your following the @SidedSox twitter account for news when it happens. Comment below, follow us, and like our new Facebook page. Thanks as always for reading.