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BA's Rule 5 Preview

In the subscriber section of BA, John Manuel has a Rule 5 preview up.  This year's Rule 5 draft occurs a week from tomorrow, and Manuel offers scouting reports on 10 players who are potential selections, including Ranger prospect Chad Tracy.  There are also 10 "other guys to watch" that Manuel just lists, which includes Ranger pitcher Brennan Garr, whose big right arm could entice someone to take a flyer on him.

Of the other guys listed, the most intriguing to me is Michael McBryde, a righthanded "tools" guy who put up a .295/.333/.410 line splitting time between AA and AAA, with 22 steals in 34 attempts.  Total Zone has him at at least 20 runs above average (per 150 games) in centerfield in two of his four minor league seasons, including 2009, when he was +21 in AA.

Last year was, if not a "breakout" season, at least McBryde's best offensive year, and CHONE has him projected at .259/.300/.359 for 2010.  If McBryde can provide plus defense and speed while putting up that sort of line -- and BA says that he's a 70 runner, with some scouts also grading him at 70 on defense and with his arm -- then he would seem to potentially have some value for the Rangers, since he would give the Rangers a righthanded hitter to spell Julio Borbon in center occasionally (assuming Borbon-in-CF is Plan A), along with someone who provides late inning defense and pinch running skills.

If Borbon is going to be the starting centerfielder, you probably need to have someone on the 25 man roster besides Josh Hamilton who is a viable defensive centerfielder.  CHONE's projection has McBryde as -27 runs per 150 offensively for a centerfielder, but if he's above average defensively -- even just +10 runs defensively in CF per 150 -- then he's got some value as the 25th man who can give you 15 starts in centerfield against tough lefties that Borbon would sit against and a pinch running option late in games.

Anyway, the Rangers will probably select someone no one here has heard of, but with three open 40 man roster spots, a couple of guys in particular who seemed to be clinging to their 40 man spot by a thread recently, and little chance of signing a bunch of major league free agents, I would be surprised if the Rangers just passed on the Rule 5 Draft altogether.