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 going off subject for a minute……MY LORD the amount of money being thrown around this off season is MIND BOGGLING!! The O’S just made an offer to Davis for $105 mill. The amount of money switching hands the last few days could save a 3rd world country! DAAANG!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It has been nuts for a long time, so much so that it is difficult to realize how crazy it is. $10 million is nothing. Chris Davis is offered $105 million which I think is like what Drayton paid for the whole franchise.
      There will be a financial reckoning in the not distant future and it will be ugly.

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    • Yes it could get ugly. Just imagine the Headlines when a major league team files for bankruptcy, or the league has to take them over. I hate to say it but a salary cap might be in order. As a friend of mine once said the whole thing is an inverted pyramid teetering on a dollar bill standing on it’s edge.

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  2. I think Heineman goes too. I’d rather Fontana not have gotten protected. I’m sure hoping my man Joe finds a Rule 5 home!

    Baseball has been on its way to financial ruin since John McMullan paid Nolan Ryan a millions dollars. It’s the same refrain almost every year . A few of todays owners have huge egos and want to win regardless of the cost and will spend recklessly. But most clubs are also by successful businessmen and owners groups with smart people doing the financials for them. It’s a corporate playground. We might lose a team to bankruptcy every now and then, but that happens in business. Someone will always always be waiting in the wings to take over. The rumor of Baseballs demise is premature.

    Now, all that said, too many people today simply can’t afford to go to a game. The far reaching implication is that a big share of todays generation of kids is largly alienated from our national pastime. Who is going to play baseball in 20 or 40 years? That’s where MLB continues to fail and fail miserably.

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  3. Maybe I am just entering that late age of life where I see disaster around every corner. But what I see happening is that at some point the huge debt service of this country hits the fan and we enter another depression. At that point people cut out going to ball games and in addition start dropping cable and special sports tiers and the whole house of cards falls in on itself.

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  4. *Do you think any of these guys are really ready for the majors right now? *

    Sclafani is ready to serve as a supersub. Heineman could function just fine as a back-up catcher. Beyond that, no one looks truly ready for a full year on an MLB roster.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Recent report has the Astros trying to pry Giles from the Phillies and some of the Astros top prospects are in play. Get ready to feel the pain and anger for those that have Prospect Attachment Syndrome.

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  6. And there was an article on the front page of the Chronicle (spit!!) that says that first base is Jon Singleton’s position to lose. No – I did not pay for the Chronicle, but was reading a sports section left behind.

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      • Silly to state that it’s Singleton’s job to lose. Hasn’t he already done a pretty good job of losing it? At the end of the day though, hopefully, Reed will be pounding in Fresno waiting for Singleton to whiff his more chance.

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      • I concur with AC45’s comment below. I think Luhnow is just saying this because he’s not going to cut the guy and eat the remainder of his contract and needs to light a fire under Big Jon. I am hoping they can find a way to include him in a trade this offseason.

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  7. Here’s where I stand on Astro’s prospects.
    Pitchers I don’t want to lose are Musgrove, Martes, Paulino because they show major league stuff and already have shown the ability to command it at a young age. If it were to take one of VV, Feliz or Appel in a Giles deal, I could live with it because they have shown major league stuff but have lacked command of it and they are all close to the bigs and all of them can’t slide into our rotation at this time.
    I don’t want to lose Bregman or Reed. I could put up with having one of Cameron or Tucker in a Giles deal, but I think Bregman can help us in a couple of years. I do think the Phils would want Bregman, so that would hurt me
    Here is my surprise. Kemmer. In almost every instance, the hardest jump in the minors is supposed to be from AA to AAA. Because of the hitting heaven in Lancaster, I believe the hardest jump in the Astros farm is from a position player in High A to AA. Preston and George, Danry and Teoscar and Delino all hit that wall in Corpus Christi and took time to adjust. A lot of players in our system have never been able to make that climb but Kemmer did. He struggled somewhat at Lancaster and blossomed in CC and says he doesn’t know why. That is the reason I like him, because he doesn’t know why. That probably means it’s because he is a ball player and has become one at age 25. If he has the same kind of year at AAA he had at AA it means we may have fallen upon an acorn in the corner outfield. With Gomez and Rasmus in the last year of their deals, Kemmer might be a gem at just the right time.

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    • I’m with you on Musgrove, Martes, Reed and Bregman. I need to look at Paulino closer as I haven’t really followed him much. However, I think we are going to be disappointed as I feel either Bregman or Reed will be included. If one has to be included I prefer it be Bregman, but I’m hoping Luhnow can work out a deal around Appel, VV or Feliz, Kemp, etc. Hunker down because I really feel something is going to go down sometime today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • For this club, Bregmans greatest value might just be in what he might help bring in a trade. On the depth chart, losing him is not a real big loss.

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  8. A nod to Tim on PAS (Prospect Attachment Syndrome) – not having seen any of these play I am not attached to any of them. I do not want to lose any but to be honest, if we lost any 3, I just don’t think it is the end of the world.

    However, if we continue to lose 3 each year for next few years, it will cause damage that is currently unseen but will obviously hurt down the road. Each one that is taken also costs us a “trade chip” that another team might have interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My take on the following: Jeff Luhnow on Jon Singleton at first base: “It’s at this point his job to lose but he’s got to keep it.”

    What else can he say? He was not willing (and need not) eat the rest of his contract. I think the last 5 words tell the story. But I don’t think he gets a pass for 3 years like another did. He may get to the All Star break, but I doubt it goes any longer. Let’s hope he can finally hit in the Bigs.

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  10. I wish we had protected Heineman instead of Fontana. Except for trade bait, I don’t think Fontana has a place in Houston. I don’t think any team would have chosen Fontana, whereas we are about to lose Heineman.

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  11. Going back through time (and this is a manual review of lists done by my crack staff of me, so if I missed someone blame…me) the last time a team lost 3 players in a Rule 5 was the Yankees back in 2008, so it would be unusual if the Astros had 3 more drafted this season. The last 4 years an average of 20 teams had no one drafted at all.

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  12. I think it is wrong to say Jon Singleton was just a whiff machine for us. He was equally adept at hitting mile high pop-ups and having problems deciding whether to cover first or go get a grounder himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My only concern on losing Heineman is that Castro gets more expensive every year and eventually will either need to increase his offense improvement to justify it or be replaced. Looking at the free agent market and recent trades for catchers is scary.

    However, I would be surprised to see him lost this year. Even if taken in the draft I think he is a long shot to stick. With the exception of a 100 game sample at AA, his bat has never been great and he completely lacls power. If his defense were remarkable it would make sense to try to stash him, but that’s not the case.

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  14. This is where the GM has it way over us in information. What if Luhnow has the gut feeling from his talks with Springer and his agent that Springer is going to choose the bright lights/big city route in every negotiation with the Astros. In other words, what if he has gotten an indication that George doesn’t see himself as a Houston Astro for the long haul? George is from the north and chose to play college baseball in Conn. He was drafted by Houston, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to be here forever. Maybe he loves NY or Boston. I’m just sayin’

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    • Exactly my take, if there is in fact anything at all to the story that Springer might be available. Maybe the kid just wants to go back to playing the postion he called home until he came to Houston.

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    • Also consider that the club held him back to extend their control over him against Springer’s and his agent’s wishes. I always have felt that this would bite the club in the end.

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    • Maybe I am being naïve, but Springer struck me as someone having the time of his life, not like some clubhouse poison pill moping around.
      I know that is not the same as committing to the team long term, but he is not close to being outside club control and you would think the club could get more for him in a trade after he has made it through a whole year uninjured.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I didn’t say anything about poison or them shopping him. I offered an explanation for why they might allow themselves to be overwhelmed by an offer for him.
        The spit.com was the one who threw his name out there. I just addressed something I thought was relevant to the conversation. I still think that the Astros should never have let Phillips go, so I’m sure not happy about losing Springer, especially with Evan Gattis still on the payroll and Jon Singleton being told publicly the 1B job is his to lose. I’m about to throw up from these turns of events.

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      • Old pro that was not directed at you but at the news. I start getting grumpy that after we waited so long to get Springer to the majors – we are thinking of sending him packing after about 1 season equivalent amount of games

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      • Dan, the kid is a joy to watch play, because it’s so clear how much he loves what he does. His father obviously taught him how to appreciate the game. I hope we get to watch him play centerfield here as soon as Gomez moves on……for the next decade. But, he might already be on the list, the moving list.

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      • I, also, am not suggesting that Springer is a poison pill. Yes, he is having a great time here, who would not be, playing on a major league team that went to the playoffs. I am suggesting that, down the road, his agent could use the mentioned instance against the club in negotiations. It bears substance, IMHO, because Springer’s team did not accept the long term contract when offered at the beginning of the 2014 season. Now, the $64,000.00 question is… has he been offered a long term deal since that time?

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  15. When considering who is expendable at this point in their career, for what it is worth, here are the oldest Astros [over 27 years of age]. I think it is fair to say that the older they get, the less likely they’ll ever get better than they were last year.

    Pat Neshek – 35
    Scott Feldman – 32
    Tony Sipp – 32
    Luke Gregerson – 31
    Will Harris – 31
    Carlos Gomez – 30
    Luis Valbuena – 30
    Mike Fiers – 30
    Josh Fields – 30
    Evan Gattis – 29
    Colby Rasmus – 29
    Jason Castro – 28
    Collin McHugh – 28

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    • While there were a few leaks about who the Astros were pursuing in free agency – I can’t think of a trade in the Luhnow era that did not come out of the blue.
      So I wonder how real this is.

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    • Maybe it’s just the tattoos, but I was kind of hoping we’d come to spring training with Velasquez geared up to fight for the ninth inning job.

      Someone on TCB made a really intelligent comment: the price of FA is very high relative to the price of prospects this winter. Trading for Giles now may cost more than at any point in the future. I can’t suggest a trade package Philly would consider that I would be comfortable offering. Walk away, Jeff! Use those chips in July!

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  16. The Phillies were very bad last year. If I’m the Phillies GM I would only trade Giles for multiple young and controllable talent. Gomez is talented but not that young and playing out his contract.
    Of course I am not sure why they want to move him any ways – maybe just hoping to reel in a jackpot?

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  17. I can not imagine any scenario that Springer gets moved. That creates a huge hole someplace in the OF unless the FO thinks Aplin is ready. I think this is just JL trying to get some “ink.” Later he can say, “We tried.”

    Gomez I can see now or at the trade deadline because he is basically a 1 1/2 year rental. But again, you move Springer/Rasmus to CF, and ????. If we do something that dumb, we might as well re-sign Carter and play him in left.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m getting a sinking feeling that Reed is going to be included in a trade for Giles. I hope I’m wrong, but something deep down inside is telling me it’s going to happen.

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    • Everything is a ‘want’ in baseball, but we don’t have a guy like Giles on our team that we can really count on to get the K at the end of a game. Yes, VV or Feliz could do the job, but I think the Astros still plan to develop them into starters.

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  19. So Dan’s quick off the top of my head list of players I would not include in a trade for Giles:
    Correa
    Keuchel
    Springer
    Altuve
    Reed
    Musgrove
    McCullers Jr

    Hmmmm – McHugh? maybe Gomez? yes Feliz yes VV yes – I mean not all of them, but I would consider it.

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    • McHugh is a tough call. Personally, I see him more as a #3, but most here see him as a #2, but he is very cheap and still has years of team control. Other than that I would probably add Martes, but then again, I would rather trade him than LMJ so I don’t know what I would do. 😉

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    • I am feeling a bit better as they said the trade was centered around VV, which implies Reed and LMJ are not included. It still may be painful, but if 3 prospects are traded with VV being the best I can live with that for a very good, cheap and team-controlled closer for several seasons.

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  20. The Chron is reporting that the Astros have interest in Yovanni Gallardo. I don’t like this at all. He can’t give you more than 6 innings (just ask Rangers fans) and he has the QO attached to him. I don’t want to lose our 1st round pick for Gallardo.

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  21. I’m ok with Martes I would rather loose a Moran or Bregman over young Tucker and Cameron, I see that the outfield of 2018 I would love to keep Musgrove also. If we have Reed, Tuve, and CC we could be average at 3B and still win.

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    • We don’t have to be average at 3B if we keep Moran and he keeps developing. When you trade for a #6 pick and he is still a top 10 prospect two years later who shows improvement every year, he could be that guy. I would be very surprised if Luhnow traded him. Luhnow likes him a lot! I think the fans in the Crawford Boxes will catch a bunch of his opposite field line drives. The guy can hit.

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  22. Yovani Gallardo? Scott Kazmir? Tony Sipp? All getting talked about. I wouldn’t be surprised if Luhnow leaves the meetings with nothing done…..

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    • If we are going to resign Kazmir, giving up a draft pick to Texas for Gallardo makes no sense at all. How many starters do we need – or is one of our current stable [McHugh? Fiers?] being discussed in the Giles talks?

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      • I would rather have Kazmir than Gallardo, especially considering the lost draft pick. I can understand OPs point as Gallardo has always pitched well against us, but I want to keep the draft pick unless it’s for a top tier FA.

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      • I was sorta joking about Gallardo. I don’t want to lose the pick either. But I admire Gallardo because he has been a pretty steady pitcher over the years. You look at his record and he has been a pretty consistent #3 or 4.

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  23. Mark Berman deal is VV, Obie and Holmes for Giles, pending physicals. If this is accurate I think the vast majority of Astros fans can live with this. I was expecting much more pain.

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  24. My advice to this young “closer”……watch your back, Luke Gregersen ain’t giving up the 9th inning to just anybody. You’re going to have to work for that job.

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  25. I’m not excited about this trade yet. It’s good for VV, Oberholtzer and Fisher, though. Wonder who the third pitcher will be. I know – bird in the hand and all. I’ll wake up tomorrow and be excited assuming we didn’t lose Martes, Bostick, or Paulino in the trade.

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  26. I would be shocked if the 4th is what you just said Dan, Usually if they list the 3 out 4 like this, the 4th is a long shot young prospect. Knock on wood!

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  27. Under the “eye ball test” – I have not watched Giles much at all. However, what I have seen in VV (who is a good pitcher), Fields & Qualls, they all three get hit hard at times. If we get a bullpen pitcher that misses bats, I am happy with the trade.

    Liked by 3 people

    • yeah i remember they booed santa claus one year in philadelphia. i really like this trade. i poked around and there is confusion to if there indeed is a fourth player from the astros involved. based on just the three, i think we did good.

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  28. I’m wondering if the 4th player really is Brian Holmes who is rule 5 eligible tomorrow and if he is not drafted, goes to Philly, who needs LHP.

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  29. The 4th player in this *must have* trade is Thomas Eshelman, the VERY talented closer for California State Fullerton from this summer’s draft. This kid Luhnow traded for had better become the second coming of Mariano Rivera. Yep…..he better not suck….

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    • Eshelman might turn into a great major league player one day. Then again, he might not.

      Personally, I’d rather take a 24 year year old flame thrower with a 1.55 ERA and 11/72 k/9 over 2 seasons with a than a pitcher with 4 minor league games to his credit.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Eshelman is projected to be a #4, at best. Overall, I am very pleased with this trade. We kept all our top prospects and got a guy who can definitely miss bats in Giles. Now, go get Sipp signed and I like our bullpen going into 2016. With Giles, Gregerson, Harris, a healthy Neshek, Sipp and Fields the Astros have a very strong pen.

      Liked by 3 people

  30. We got out of Philly with their closer, a guy under team control for several years, and still have our big first base prospect. I think VV will help them immediately and Oberholtzer will give them another sturdy starter they badly need. The other two guys could not help us on the field at any point real soon, but they were able to help us get the prototypical ninth inning addition that the best teams need to have. A good trade.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. I like the trade. Our rotation is getting crowded and we needed a big bullpen arm. We gave up players two players we didn’t really have room for, and two players who won’t help us for years, for an impact player we need now.

    I’m down with it.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. This appears to be a decent trade for both sides.
    They could have traded this same package or probably one with bigger names for someone like Andrew Miller. Then they would have lost prospects and would have been paying a guy $9 million a year into his mid-30’s.
    Not everything is budget related but there is no point getting yourself into salary hell when there is a very good controllable option.
    The Astros were lacking that big arm at the end of games and they were able to fill that need without losing our “future”.
    Philly gets some decent help now and some potential help down the road.

    I like this trade – maybe I won’t two years from now, but I won’t run away from my feelings about this.

    Liked by 1 person

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