Getting ready for the Rule 5 Draft …
By 8:59 p.m. PT today, teams must set their 40-man rosters in anticipation for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. This is when teams choose whether or not to “protect” their eligible players from being taken in that Draft, which takes place at the end of each year’s Winter Meetings (this one being Dec. 6, in Nashville, Tenn.).
For those unfamiliar with the process, here’s a quick primer …
Players who signed after age 18 and have been in the Minors for four years, or players who signed at 18 or younger and have been in the Minors for five years, are eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft if not on the 40-man roster. Now, it’s very rare that teams will find success through the Rule 5 Draft (Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana and Dan Uggla are among very few success stories) because, frankly, there’s a reason players are left exposed despite being in a system so long. Any player taken in the Rule 5 Draft costs $50,000. That player, then, must remain on the drafting team’s active Major League roster during the following season or be offered back to the original club for $25,000.
The Angels’ 40-man roster is currently at 31, so there’s some wiggle room (though the Angels must keep space for all the pitching they want to acquire this offseason). Also, an important side note: Any player who signs a Minor League deal before the Rule 5 Draft can be taken, regardless of his service time. That means each of the players the Angels signed this offseason are eligible if left off. As for guys who have been in their system for a while? Here are some names to watch …
* Travis Witherspoon, a 23-year-old center fielder who hit .268 with a .350 on-base percentage, 13 homers and 34 RBIs in high A and Double-A this season.
* Carlos Ramirez, 24, who posted a .205/.312/.276 slash line in 85 Double-A games. Ramirez, like Witherspoon, played in the Arizona Fall League.
* Orangel Arenas, a 23-year-old right-hander who went 5-11 with a 5.26 ERA in 27 games (24 starts) in Double-A.
* Matt Shoemaker, who’s 26 and went 11-10 with a 5.65 ERA in 29 Triple-A starts.
* Ryan Brasier, a 25-year-old right-handed reliever who posted a 4.37 ERA and 13 saves in 59 2/3 Triple-A innings.
* Efren Navarro, a 26-year-old lefty-hitting first baseman who won a Minor League Gold Glove in 2011 and posted a .294/.336/.403 slash line in Triple-A.
* Matt Long, a 25-year-old lefty-hitting outfielder who posted a .282/.350/.462 slash line with 23 steals in Double-A and Triple-A.
* Jeremy Berg, 26, posted a 3.75 ERA in 74 1/3 innings at Double-A and Triple-A.