Section 313, Seat No. 17 – Part 3: Rule 5 Draft targets for the Detroit Tigers

Section 313

Seat No. 17 – Part 3

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been putting together a “perfect” blueprint for the Detroit Tigers offseason. An offseason that, let’s face it, will not be making headlines. So far we’ve discussed some cuts the Tigers need to make (Part One) and last week we discussed some trade opportunities the Tigers should pursue (Part Two).

Today, we’ll be looking at the upcoming (December 14th) Rule 5 Draft and seven targets the Tigers, and general manager Al Avila, could go after. First, however, let’s look at the Rule 5 Draft and how these players become eligible and then dive into why they would make the most sense for the Tigers.

The Rule 5 Draft takes place each winter at the GM’s Winter meetings, and according to Baseball America, has been in place almost as long as the meetings themselves. We’ll let BA explain the rest,

The Rule 5 draft has been a staple of the Winter Meetings almost from its beginning and sprung up as a method to prevent teams from stockpiling talent in their minor league systems. Players not on major league rosters would otherwise have little or no chance to find an opportunity to play elsewhere, though that restriction was further eased in the 1980s when minor leaguers got the right to become free agents after six full seasons.

Major league teams must protect players on their 40-man rosters within three or four years of their original signing. Those left unprotected are available to other teams as Rule 5 picks.

Players who were 18 or younger on June 5 preceding the signing of their first contract must be protected after four minor league seasons. Players 19 and older must be protected after three seasons.

But here’s the kicker: To prevent teams from drafting players willy-nilly, each Rule 5 pick must be kept in the major leagues the entire following season or be offered back to his former team for half of the $50,000 selection price. Few players are ready for such a jump, so only about 10-15 get picked each year. Fewer still last the whole season in the big leagues.

Pretty simple right? These moves are not earth-shattering, however, sometimes they can have an impact — here’s looking at you Roberto Clemente. Last year, the Tigers even benefited from the Rule 5 Draft with their selection of Daniel Stumpf, who contributed nicely out of the bullpen.

Now, the Tigers have some holes that they definitely need to fill. Specifically, they are bereft of prospects at first base and could arguably use more outfielders. We are taking our rankings and choices based on of Roster Source’s compiling of prospects in their MiLB power ranking. The rankings, according to the site,

“are based on Year-to-Date production using several weighted statistical categories. These will be updated each day no later than 12PM ET.

Minor League rankings also factor in age and level. These are updated at least once per week.”

All the players we suggest are listed within the top 150 of the MiLB Power Ranking. So here we go, the 7 targets the Detroit Tigers should look for in December’s Rule 5 Draft.

Wes Rogers (OF) Colorado Rockies – 

Wes Rogers is a speedy outfielder in the Colorado Rockies organization. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 180 pounds, he’s considered to be one of the fastest players in all of minor league baseball. His MiLB Power Ranking is 15th, the highest of any player available. In 365 career games in the minors, Rogers has stolen 181 bases while only being caught 26 times.

He boasts of a career stat line of .286/.362/.417, 119 XBH, 173 RBI, and the aforementioned 181 SB. Though he’s 23 and not been above Advanced-A ball, he could be a nice compliment off the bench if the Tigers were to select him and put him on the 40-man roster. You can’t teach speed, and having this type of attribute, to go along with good offensives numbers would be a good pick up for the Tigers.

Frank Schwindel (1B) Kansas City Royals –

Frank Schwindel is the first of a couple first basemen on the list. In the Kansas City Organization, Schwindel was an 18th Round draft pick out of St. John’s University. He stands 6-foot-1, weighs just over 200 pounds and can handle the bat.

Last season, splitting time between AA and AAA, Schwindel hit .329/.349/.541 with 23 home runs and 97 RBI, while being named a minor league all-star in Kansas City’s system. With Dominic Ficociello not being protected by the Tigers, Schwindel could offer a good opportunity to snag a prospect who’s been blocked by Eric Hosmer. Schwindel is 20th on the MiLB Power Ranking list.

Mike Ford (1B) New York Yankees –

Mike Ford would be a slight downgrade from the above mentioned Schwindel. However, he is a left-handed bat that could bring some oft-desired lefty pop to the Tigers lineup. Ford was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Yankees in 2013 after playing collegiately at Princeton.

He’s seen time at all the minor league levels finishing the year at AAA last season. For his career, he’s put together a .272/.380/.433 slash line with 50 home runs and 257 RBI in 5 seasons. He’s 31st on Roster Source’s MiLB Power Ranking.

B.J. Boyd (OF) Oakland Athletics –

B.J. Boyd was a former 4th Round pick of the Oakland A’s in the 2012 draft. He got as high as their 13th overall prospect back in 2013. Looking at his career thus far, he seems to be a type of player that is looking for something to prove, having spent time in 2016 in AAA, then taking a step back to AA for the 2017 season. Roster Source ranks him as 61st in the MiLB Power Ranking.

A left-handed bat, who throws righty, Boyd has produced in the minor leagues. He carries a .282/.347/.392 slash line with 33 home runs, 99 doubles, 28 triples, and 257 RBI in six seasons.

Franmil Reyes (OF) San Deigo Padres – 

Franmil Reyes is an intriguing thought. He’s a huge player at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, but don’t let his size deter you. He’s the type of guy that could be versatile between RF, 1B, and eventually DH if developed properly.

At only 22 years old, Reyes is the perfect type prospect for the Tigers rebuild. Ranked 66th in the MiLB power rankings, Reyes carries a .263/.328/.420 slash line and has collected 68 home runs and 377 RBIs in his six seasons in the Padres organization. A young guy who’s seen time already at the AA level would be a great pick up for the Tigers.

Kevin Cron (1B) Arizona Diamondbacks –

The 24-year-old first basemen spent the season with the AA affiliate of the Diamondbacks and he raked. In 515 at-bats Cron collected a .283/.357/.497 slash line, 25 home runs, 91 RBIs, and 35 doubles. He stands 6’5, weighs 245 and bats and throws righty. He’s 86th on the MiLB Power Rankings.

Jason Martin (OF) Houston Astros – 

Jason Martin is a 22-year-old left fielder who is currently blocked in the Astros organization. The left-handed hitting Martin, though smaller in stature, would add another left-handed bat to the Tigers lineup, eventually.

Advancing to AA in 2017, where he played in 79 games, Martin hit .273/.319/.483 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs in 300 at-bats. He’d need to cut down his strikeout to walk ratio  (4:1), but at 22-years-old he has plenty of time to do just that. He currently is 147th in the MiLB Power Rankings.

So there you have it, seven guys the Tigers could add to that last 40-man roster spot for a year and get them into your system. What are your thoughts, Nation? Who from this list would you add, or did we miss someone?

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Written by AJ Reilly

A.J. is a lifelong baseball fan and an avid storyteller. His debut novel, The Askren Boys, won the Literary Classics Gold Medal and Seal of Approval in November of 2018. When not writing, he is spending time with his wife Jessica, son Jack, daughter Nora, and new arrival Teddy. A.J. lives in Metro Detroit.

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