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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Reds & the Rule 5 Draft

If you understand the Rule 5 draft completely, you're either a professional baseball writer or you aren't paying enough attention to your actual job. Heck, I say the words "Rule 5 draft" to most people - even life long baseball fans - and they look at me like I'm speaking Martian.  Anyway, all you really need to know is that it's a way for teams to grab some other teams unprotected minor league players. The first few rounds are minor league players whom the drafting team will be required to have on its major league roster for the next year. After that there are drafts which allow players to be moved from one minor league franchise to another.

As I was raised properly, I am a Reds fan. Thus, I am going to go through what the Reds did. They made 4 picks in the R5 draft, so it should be of some interest. If you want the other teams, go over to BA to get an eyeful.

Of the 30 teams in MLB, only 11 drafted in the first round. The second draft overall belonged to the Reds and they chose an outfielder out of the Yankees organization, Jake Cave. Cave played seven games on the Yankees' AAA team last year, but he was really a AA player. He rose steadily in the Yankees' organization. Grabbing him before he becomes embedded in the Yankees AAA team (and protected) is a gamble that he's either good enough now or that sitting a year in the majors before sending him to develop at Louisville won't spoil him.

In the second round the Reds took a left handed pitcher from the Angel's organization, Chris O'Grady.   The Reds seem to be pitcher mad lately in their minor league approach, but O'Grady appears to be a bit of a puzzler. By the records, it appears that the Angels bumped O'Grady straight from A+ to AAA and then, after seven games, bumped him back down to AA. He appears to have had similar ERA's in both levels, but his walk numbers in AAA were significantly higher. Taking him straight into the MLB seems a stretch. Maybe the Reds foresee him as some sort of reliever next year.  However, if he struggled in AAA, the MLB seems too far to push him this quickly and it also seems hard to picture holding a pitcher on the bench for a year and then sending him to AAA for appropriate development.

Next came the AAA draft from lower levels. In the first round here the Reds took Ariel Hernandez from the Diamondback organization. Hernandez is a right handed pitcher who played for several years at low rookie in the Giants' organization before being injured. After sitting out a year, he next appears to have played in the Frontier League for a while before the Diamondbacks picked him up to play short season A ball for them. In short season A he had an ERA of 4.61 and averaged 7 walks per 9 innings.

In the second round of the AAA draft the Reds selected a second baseman from the Cubs organization, Pin-Chieh Chen. Pin-Chieh seems to be stalled out somewhere in the A+/AA level and is probably just someone who will fill a roster spot on a low level team.

The Reds didn't take anybody in the AA R5 draft. In fact, only the Dodgers took someone that low.

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