So, I have MLB Trade Rumors, TCB, Chipalatta and Astros.com all just a click away on my phone. Oh, and Chron.com (spit! … for DanP), too. Still, my guess is, Jeff Luhnow’s cell phone will be busier than mine today.
With the 40-man roster decisions needed by the end of today for the Rule 5 draft, today’s a big day. Who makes the 40-man roster, who is left unprotected? Does Jeff Luhnow make a trade to clear some roster space?
It’s a bit of strategy (maybe you leave that AA position player, knowing he’ll never last on a 40-man roster), and a little bit of gambling (that AA pitcher might be a risk, but hopefully that high-A fireballer won’t get snatched and hidden in someone’s bullpen).
As Dan so correctly pointed out, the Astros have two open spaces on that 40-man roster as of late Wednesday night. Luhnow has said the team will wait until the last minute to finalize its 40-man roster.
So, how does the Rule 5 draft work? Well, generally, players who were 18 or younger on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fifth Rule 5 draft upcoming; or were 19 or older on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is fourth Rule 5 draft upcoming are eligible. According to Brian McTaggart, here’s the list — the LONG list — of Astros minor leaguers available. The players in bold type are ones who have played at AA or higher.
Right-handers — Ruben Alaniz, Agapito Barrios, Jamain Cotton, Chris Devenski, Jonas Dufek, Michael Feliz, Edison Frias, Jandel Gustave, Angel Heredia, Krishawn Holley, Juan Minaya, Jose Montero, Tyson Perez, Francis Ramirez, Richard Rodriguez, Jason Stoffel, Fredrick Tiburcio, Vincent Velasquez, Andrew Walter, Kyle Weiland
Catchers — Jobduan Morales, Robert Pena.
So, who is a likely target? Well, Jason Stoffel, Vincent Velasquez, Kyle Weiland, Mitchell Lambson, Tommy Shirley, DDJ, Matt Duffy and Ronald Torreyes top my list. Your mileage may vary. And that’s fine, because this — and here’s where it’s got to gall Luhnow — is more art than science.
So, how will this work as the day goes on? Well, Houston will need to finalize it’s 40-man roster a minute before midnight eastern time. The draft will take place on Dec. 11. If Houston loses a player to the draft, it can protect another who was exposed.
Traditionally, pitchers are most often taken. But the Astros have a couple of position players who could hide on a roster, including DDJ, Torreyes and maybe Matt Duffy. Oh, and that doesn’t even count the pitchers Houston has on hand.
So, here are the questions:
What players on the 40-man roster and on the above list should be packaged as part of a roster-clearing deal?
Of the players listed above, who is the most likely to get snatched?
Who can be left unprotected?
Luhnow gets a LOT of credit for building a farm system. What will you think of his farm system if he lets it get picked over by the Rule 5 vultures?