After Protections – Astros’ Rule 5 Targets


A couple weeks ago this blog talked about the minor leaguers that the Astros were most likely to protect heading into the Rule 5 draft.

https://chipalatta.com/2015/11/14/rule-5-astros-top-10-minor-leaguers-to-consider/

The Astros protected a large group of minor leaguers by adding them to the 40 man roster, including IF Nolan Fontana, OF Andrew Aplin, C Alfredo Gonzalez and pitchers, Joe Musgrove, Juan Minaya, Jandel Gustave and David Paulino. To allow space for these young faces, the Astros made a large number of roster moves, including trading LJ Hoes, Jed Lowrie, Jonathan Villar, and Hank Conger, releasing Robbie Grossman and Luis Cruz, allowing Tony Sipp, Scott Kazmir, Chad Qualls, Oliver Perez and Joe Thatcher and designating Sam Deduno for assignment.

So, the list of the players most likely to be targeted in the Rule 5 draft this coming Thursday is a bit changed from before.

Most talked about – these are players that have been popping up on potential draft lists:

  • OF Teoscar Hernandez – Did not hit for good average, but shows a decent combination of speed and power. The biggest reason he is being highlighted is because teams hope they can find the next Delino Deshields Jr.
  • C Roberto Pena – Can’t hit worth a lick like most of the major league backup up catchers, but Lordy the man can gun down runners.
  • P Reymin Guduan – Our esteemed blogger, oldpro pointed out this omission from the previous list. He doesn’t know where his 100 mph fastball is going, but neither do the opponents’ batters.
  • P Chris Devenski – The other end of the pitching scale, his power pitch is his changeup.

Next Tier – The Next Most Likely to be Targeted

  • C Tyler Heineman – Solid, but not powerful hitter, who is also good behind the plate.
  • P’s Mike Hauschild and Jordan Jankowski – they are both older (26 and 27) which probably hurts their value, but a team may think they could handle the leap to the majors.
  • OF Danry Vasquez – He is young and toolsy and again the DDJ success factor may inspire some team to pull the trigger.

Best of the rest

  • Utility man and OBP machine – Joe Sclafani
  • Reliever Tyson Perez
  • LHP Brian Holmes
  • SS Chan Moon
  • Utility man Marc Wik
  • P Agapito Barrios
  • LHP Thomas Shirley

So….

  • After the Astros lost three players (temporarily) in last year’s Rule 5 – what is the number this year?
  • Who do you think it will be (if anyone)?
  • Who would you feel bad if they were drafted?
  • Do you think any of these guys are really ready for the majors right now?
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190 comments on “After Protections – Astros’ Rule 5 Targets

  1. I’m just an ancient Astros fan, not an expert on baseball, certainly not near the knowledge of most on this blog. Mr. Luhnow says he has three core players — we all know who they are. I know he’s not eager or inclined to let go of Springer but he says anything has to be considered outside the core three. Just want to say that championship teams have one thing in common: chemistry. The whole is more than the sum of parts. Platitudes, yes. But Springer was and is a key personality. A guy like that hurting on the bench is worth more than some out on the field. Think hard before you mess with the spirit of the team. They have something special.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really like this trade, even without knowing the 4th player involved. I see where ESPN this AM is saying we gave up a lot, but I disagree. V V has potential, but control issues. There are lots of hard throwing guys with control issues. Obie as we all know had some other issues. I hope he gets it together for his own sake, but it’s just not predictable. Fisher is a complete unknown. I do not think we overpaid at all. We got exactly what we needed, and may have underpaid. Luhnow gets 4 stars on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m happy they made this trade. They gave up a lot, but not too much. They opened up another spot on the 40-man, opened up two spots in the rotation at Fresno and did not give up any of their top 5 prospects and added almost nothing to the payroll.
    I was figuring VV would get traded when he did not make the bullpen in the playoffs over an injured Neshek.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think the end of the year said a lot about JL and perhaps AJ’s opinion of the players. Conger played with Stassi available (though not many games). V V and Qualls were left off the roster. I don’t believe the bullpen gave up much until the end of the season. So right now, in total, not a lot of WAR is picked up with Giles. But to not fade at the end would be a huge bonus in 2016.

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  4. We weren’t getting Giles for Obie, Peacock and Straily so we knew there would be some pain, but considering what the BoSox gave up for Kimbrell and the DBacks for Miller I can’t be more pleased with what the Astros gave up in this trade. I agree with OP that we kept our very top prospects and opened up a 40-man spot along with some spots on the AAA rotation. For me, this is a win-win for both organizations, but I think most Philly fans expected a bigger haul (and probably some jaded Astros fans after the Kazmir and Gomez trades).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Based on the insane asking prices for Chapman, Miller (Andrew), Miller (Shelby), Fernandez, etc. I think the Philly fans have a right to be disappointed. Ultimately, I think this is a two for one trade as I don’t expect Fisher to succeed above AAA and am not high on Eshelman getting past AA…but those two players can step in and immediately improve the Phillies rotation. I also think VV could ultimately be better in a bullpen role than Giles…but past performance does not back that up.

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  5. Also this leaves only DK and Chapman as lefties on the roster. So we have to assume there will be one or two more moves. I personally am glad that Perez is off the market and JL will not be tempted to sign him again.

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      • That’s too bad. I was hoping Joe Sclafani would find a new home where he might get a chance to play with the big boys.

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      • dave, I’m actually hoping that Sclafani could now be the 2B for Fresno. Actually be given, you know, a position on the field to play, now that Villar and Mier are gone and Kemp might be in the OF.
        Moran 3B
        Fontana SS
        Sclafani 2B
        Reed 1B.
        Like, a real position, in a real infield on a real team for once. Just give the guy 1 chance to succeed or fail. I’d love to see that.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Tim and old pro – both good news.
    We were short on leftys and Sipp was very solid for us.
    And no Rule 5 losses is nice to hear. I suppose we did not take anyone either.

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      • But this Rule 5 lotto ticket is one you have to pay a major league salary to for a whole year and keep him on the 25-man for the entire year. A Rule 5 pick is an everyday expense, not a one time ticket purchase.

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      • No, you miss the point. You pick a guy and pay the other team $50k. You then evaluate him until the final roster cuts of spring training. If they appear good enough, you either find a roster spot and pay the minimum MLB salary to them or work out a trade. If they can’t help enough then you offer back for $25k.

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    • Not yet. I would not be surprised if the Astros might take an outfielder in the minor league portion as they have lost Santana, Grossman, Presley, Hoes and Fisher. They could probably use some OF depth in the minors.

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      • Agreed, OP1. Another outfielder we lost last year that hurt the system was Brett Phillips. Meanwhile, we have to be wondering if either Teoscar and Danry Vasquez are going to max out a AA. So our dearth of good young outfielders – sans extremely long-term prospects Tucker and Cameron from last year’s draft – suddenly looks to be an area of organizational weakness. If oft-injured Springer and wild-man Gomez go down, we suddenly have very little real talent waiting in the wings.

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  7. Sipp’s contract is 3/$18M. Considering the wild and extravagant contracts given out so far this offseason I think that is a very reasonable contract to retain one of our best relievers.

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  8. What do we expect from Mr. Giles in 2016?

    Does he start as a set-up man, or go straight to the closer role?

    And what would be an ERA, a WHIP, a K/9, a save total, and a blown save % we could live with from him in 2016 and still have a good chance to win the AL West?

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  9. What I like about the events of this morning:
    **Apparently Sipp had a real soft spot for the Astros in his heart. They rescued him and he rewarded them. Then they paid him and he liked it. This development makes me a little more confident in the player relationship/front office area.
    ** The Astros have another year(if they so desire) to try and harness and enhance the 100mph fastballs of Guduan and Gustave, without the pressure of having to bring them up to the majors or addimin to the 40-man. They also have Riley Ferrell.
    **The Astros have another year to look at pitchers they have been trying to develop, like Shirley and Holmes, Jankowski, Rodgers, Hauschild, Devenski. One more year without having to worry about vultures circling. Maybe one of those guys, takes a step, finds a pitch, tunnels their pitches, changes their grip and suddenly, boom, the light comes on! One more year for that pitching guru they pay to make a difference.
    **When Luhnow said the bullpen was his #1 priority, you could take that to the bank.
    **The Astros did not have to give up anyone from what I would call their top 25 players to get their bullpen problems addressed.

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    • I want to add another takeaway from this week. I think Luhnow is learning quickly from his past mistakes. Many of us, myself included, questioned some players put on the 40-man roster and some of the players left off. Last year 3 Astros were drafted in the Rule V and we lost 2 of them. This year, not one player was taken. It appears Jeff has a better understanding of what teams are wanting in the Rule V draft and protected the right players. I thought, for sure, the Astros would have had at least one player, if not 2, drafted.

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  10. After Fisher was taken off of the Astro’s top 30 prospects list, guess who finally moved into the #30 position. Congratulations Fresno Grizzlies MVP, Matt Duffy. You are finally considered a prospect.
    I wonder if Kemmel will sneak in when Eschelman gets taken off the list.

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      • He reminds me of an Alaskan Colby Rasmus. He learned to play baseball in the snow.
        Seriously, this kid grew up in Northern Pensyvania in a tiny town with a small HS and must have been a good athlete who never got found. He attended a small Maryland College and finally ended up in small Div II college in Ga. Somebody in the Astros scouting system must have liked his bat because they drafted him in the late rounds. He’s 25 but never played what you and I would call big time baseball until he hit Lancaster. He says that the ups and downs of the baseball life overwhelmed him because he found it hard to face the failure of the game.
        He went to a sports psychologist who got him to forget yesterday and focus on today’s game and his bat exploded in 2015.
        He’s not fast but can run. His glove is average as is his arm. What he does best is drill the ball to the pull side and he does that real well. Honestly, Kemmer reminds me of a left handed Duffy. Works his butt off to become a major league player that no one takes seriously, until you look up and he leads your team in hitting for the year.

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      • “He found it hard to face the failure of the game.” Now where have I heard that before? “Forget yesterday and focus on today’s game.” Sounds like a plan. Wish I could learn to apply it more consistently…….and I DON’T play baseball. 🙂

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  11. Everyone knows how I feel about VV. This could hurt. The plus side though is I would rather trade VV than LMJ because LMJ looks like he is going to be durable, and better at least next year. As much of a fan I have been of VV, I would have made the move also – Giles should be the closer. He misses bats at an incredible rate. Hopefully he polishes up that command at 26 and becomes dominant.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I hope so Uncle Kuck . I love the person George , the athlete George. I want to see what we really have here. Is George a star or a .270 18 70 dude , heck if know.

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  13. I’m on the fence with this trade…..as you all know. But I fear Luhnow is going to raid the farm again, trying to get another starter but I doubt he’s going to go after Kazmir.
    What’s the deal with these position players with $200 + million getting tossed around??? At this pace we’re not gonna be able to jump in ANY of these trades!
    DAAAAANG!!! AND……I think we WILL have Gattis AND Valbuena on the roster next year.

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    • Becky,

      I love your passion, but I think the reason you and I see things so differently regarding Luhnow is you have PAS (Prospect Attachment Syndrome) more than anyone on this blog and I probably have PDS (Prospect Detachment Syndrome) more than anyone on this blog. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tim…..the reason I don’t trust Luhnow is, look at what he gave up for Conger, and for Kasmir. Not even talking about the other trades that have been either a bust, or less than stellar players. I don’t have the “attatchment” syndrome…I have the ” I don’t trust Luhnow” syndrome. You and I will just have to agree to disagree.⚾

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      • The Conger trade didn’t work out, but we gave up very little in that trade. As far as Kazmir you really don’t know if we gave up anything of value as neither player has even played above AA yet and the Astros may still re-sign Kazmir. When you say the Astros gave up too much in prospects for guys that never have proven anything in the major leagues then you have PAS.

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  14. I think it’s time for Tyler White to go home and enjoy a bit of a vacation. Relax, work out, don’t put on any weight and come back in a couple of months and keep hitting! He’s shown me enough.

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  15. This is from Jayson Starks winners and losers column.

    “The consensus of scouts and execs I surveyed was that the Astros made a tremendous deal with Philadelphia for the swing-and-miss closer they’d targeted all winter, Ken Giles. The guy they got comes with five years of control and a repertoire, makeup and track record that makes him almost a Craig Kimbrel Lite. And the cost was four players whose exit won’t get in the way of the Astros’ big future in any significant way.”

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  16. Last year I said if we got Hamels from the Phils we would include Ober in that trade because without Lee and Hamels, the Phils had no lefty starters. Last week when I suggested trading for Valencia here, the guy I traded for him was Ober, because Oakland needed lefty pitching. Ober was traded to Philly.
    I never liked Eschelman, because I didn’t like his stuff.
    I though VV would be traded.
    I never thought Fisher would come close to Phillips because I don’t like his bat as a major leaguer and nobody liked his arm or his route to the ball in CF.
    We found a closer that everyone thinks will be a good one and the guys we traded for him will be good for Philly but would not have ended up helping us much because we are flush with pitching.
    I hope Giles is awesome. But if he is just good we’re fine, we made a trade because we needed a guy like Giles in our bullpen in 2016 in the worst way.
    Now we need to trade Singleton and Gattis and go with White and Tucker and Reed and Duffy. I don’t care what they think at the Astros front office because Jeff Luhnow has not been right about a 1B or a DH since the moment he set foot in Houston and it’s about time he got his head out of his rear and got rid of the lousy guys he has lined up. Maybe he needs to get some advice from somebody who knows something about 1B and DH because apparently he is clueless. He hasn’t hit on one of them yet in four years. Now he has the players, he just needs to get them on the roster and on the field to replace the flunkies he’s been failing with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luhnow has a mental block on the talent on the farm. Yeah, he brought up Tucker….but never really got to play on a regular basis, and yeah McCullers made it onto the rotation. BUT…..you are 100% spot on. He has no clue what to do at 1st, and getting a DH is like trying to find out if chicken have teeth. Tyler White, and A.J. Reed should come to spring training with one thing on their minds……unseat Singelton from 1st base…..and I think they WILL. As for a DH……dude, good luck with that.

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      • I doubt he has a mental block as he drafted most of those players. They’re probably not ready yet, in his opinion, for the major leagues. Remember when everyone was screaming for Domingo Santana to get called up in 2014? They finally brought him up and he was clearly not ready. I’ll trust he has a better handle on the talent in the minor leagues over the fan base.

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    • I want to see these players earn it in ST, but my preference is Duffy platoons with Valbuena at 3B, MarGo remains the super sub and, if Singleton is 1B, MarGo will get some starts against LHs and White at DH. My guess is that White ends up playing 1B as Singleton proves he isn’t a major league player, Reed starts in Fresno, Gattis is the DH and Duffy makes the team as a backup/platoon with Valbuena. Sometime in 2016 Reed will make his way to the major league team and White will supplant Gattis as DH.

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  17. Singleton and Gattis need to prove they can cut it in ST. Otherwise go with the kids.
    Luhnow/ Hinch drove me nuts running the same guys out to fail while the likes of Tucker, Stassi, Duffy sat on the bench. If I see that pattern emerge again in the spring I’ll take back all the nice things I’ve said and go back to being doubtful.

    The Astros probably won’t run away in April as they did last year. The rest of the AL West has made improvements as well.

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    • Absolutely. We start the season with the Brewers at home for one game, but then get:
      The Yankees [on the road];
      The Brewers again [on the road this time]
      the Defending World Champion Royals [at home];
      the new, improved Tigers [at home]
      the Defending AL West Champion Rangers;
      the new, improved Red Sox; and
      the new improved Mariners [on the road];

      We round out April with the A’s on the road.

      We have 25 games in the month of April. It sure would feel good if we were at least 15-10 in those 25 games, but it won’t be easy to even be 13-12.

      Like

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