We take a momentary break from the mad Christmas acquisition rush to tune in to the 2013 Rule 5 draft. With the #1 pick again, there’s little doubt the Astros will once again be players.
No matter how you cut it, there isn’t a Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana or Roberto Clemente in this year’s Rule 5 draft. It’s fair to say this draft isn’t what it used to be. Last year, only five players remained with their drafting club while all others were offered back to their original teams.
As a reminder, anyone taken in this week’s draft must remain on the major league roster for the entire season or offered back to their original team. Often the teams will work out a trade that will allow the drafting team to send the player to the minors.
So, which direction will Jeff Luhnow go? Power pitcher? Reclamation project? Power hitter? With Chad Qualls already in tow and the likelihood Houston adds another veteran bullpen piece, the ability to hide a Rule 5 pitcher in the pen increases significantly.
Here are some options and may be possibly be driven in part by how other conversations go at this week’s winter meetings.
Danny Burawa. RHP. Yankees.
- He’s a power pitcher who missed 2012 with injuries. As with many young pitchers, Burawa has control issues. Side note: He’s a grad of St. John’s where former Astros’ coach Matt Galante went to school.
Tommy Kahnle. RHP. Yankees.
- Another hard thrower with high K numbers as you might expect. The 24-year-old allowed only 38 hits in 60 IP, but his walks help keep players on base.
Zack Thornton. RHP. Pirates.
- He has crazy numbers over the past couple of years, despite throwing only in the low 90s. Walked only 12 hitters in 75 IP while striking out 90 and at 26 (next May) he could be the type of pitcher Luhnow is searching for.
There are some hitters, but nothing like Freiman last year. And, with the Astros needing pitching and seeming to have answered some outfield questions, Houston may well be content with taking only one player this season.
A couple of questions for you to start the week:
- If you were Luhnow, would you add a hitter or pitcher in the Rule 5 draft?
- Which closer would you rather have: John Axford, Grant Balfour, Jose Veras, Joel Hanrahan.
- Chance (in %) that Brett Wallace is the opening day first baseman in ’14?
- Finish this sentence: I like the way Luhnow is heading, but he’d really make me happy if…