The Rule 5 draft is coming up in December and it is a major driver in the next set of personnel decisions every team in the majors will make in the next month. The Houston Astros will definitely have their share of personnel decisions to complete on their eligible minor leaguers after losing the maximum 3 players in the 2014 draft.
The three players selected from the Astros in 2014 covered the spectrum of possibilities for Rule 5 draftees, who are required to be on the major league roster of the team drafting them for a full season or be offered back to their old team at a nominal cost. Delino Deshields Jr., who had not played above AA level for the Astros, played all of 2015 with the Texas Rangers, scoring 83 runs, stealing 25 bases, producing a good .344 OBP and 10 triples (almost as many as Evan Gattis!!). Jandel Gustave was drafted by the Red Sox, but was bought back by the Astros when the Sox decided they had no room on the MLB roster for him. David Rollins was drafted by the Mariners and almost immediately earned an 80 game PED suspension. This may have been a break as he put up a 7.56 ERA in 25 innings when he did pitch for the M’s.
The players eligible for the Rule 5 draft from the Astros will be those players who were 19 and over drafted and signed in 2011 and those 18 and younger drafted and signed in 2010, who are not on the Astros 40 man roster at the time of the draft. The following are one person’s opinion on the top 10 minor leaguers, who would be exposed to the Rule 5, if not added to the 40 man roster.
- Joe Musgrove. The RHP turns 23 next month and was clearly the best of the Rule 5 eligible players. In 3 stops between A, A+ and AA ball he posted a 12-1 record, 1.88 ERA, 0.924 WHIP, 8.9 K / 9 IP and an unbelievable 0.7 K / 9 IP. He will be put on the 40 man.
- Chris Devenski. Devenski was another RHP, who performed well at AA with a 7-4 record, 3.01 ERA and 1.253 WHIP. He is basically turning 25 right now, which might lower his worth a bit.
- Jandel Gustave. The Rule 5 returnee from 2014 may be even more of a target in 2015. The 23 year old RHP closer had a 5-2 record with 20 saves, a 2.15 ERA and a 1.295 WHIP.
- Tyler Heineman. The catcher has to be a consideration for protection, especially if the Astros unload Hank Conger in the off-season. His offensive numbers were fine between AA and AAA – 3 HR, 30 RBIs with .285 BA / .334 OBP / .714 OPS, while he threw out 54% of runners at AA, but only 20% at AAA.
- Mike Hauschild. He turns 26 in January, but his AA/AAA numbers in 2015 earn him consideration. The rightys 12-6 record, 3.38 ERA, and 1.258 WHIP standout.
- Jordan Jankowski. The biggest negative is his turning 27 next May. But in AAA the RH reliever had an 8-3 record, 3.18 ERA and an 11.1 K/9 IP rate speaking for him. His 4.9 BB / 9 IP is problematic.
- Andrew Aplin. The OF turns 25 in March and showed off his speed and bat control in AA and AAA with 32 SBs, and .296 BA/ .413 OBP / .792 OPS. Only 2 HR on the season, but he has a lot of other things going for him.
- Danry Vasquez. The young OF has not yet turned 22, but had a decent year at A+ and AA with 3 HR, 40 RBIs, and a .272 BA / .321 OBP / .685 OPS line.
- David Paulino. Rising from A- to A+ ball, Paulino who turns 22 in February had impressive numbers such as a 5-3 record, 2.81 ERA, 1.010 WHIP and a strong 9.6 K/9 IP.
- Teoscar Hernandez. Sure he only hit for a .219 BA / .275 OBP / .637 OPS at AA. But three things may make him attractive – his age, 23, his 17 HRs and his 33 SBs. Those numbers stand out in this Rule 5 eligible class.
Honorable Mention. Whether it is the high OBPs of infielders Joe Sclafani (.381) and Nolan Fontana (.369), the low WHIP (0.986) of reliever Tyson Perez or the low ERA (1.99) and WHIP (1.037) of youngster Agapito Barrios there are certainly others that could be in this top 10 list. Maybe you like utility guy Marc Wik and his .802 OPS, LHP Brian Holmes and his 10.2 K / 9 IP or Catcher Roberto Pena throwing out 49% of AA runners. There is talent throughout the Astros minors and this includes many of the Rule 5 eligible players.
- Who would you put on the 40 man roster to protect?
- Who would you drop off the 40 man to make more room for one or more of these youngsters?
- Do you agree with the list of 10 shown above?
- Is there anyone else you think should be considered for protection?
- Will the Astros have three men drafted during the Rule 5 draft again?