The Rule 5 draft is just 16 days away (which means that the Winter Meetings just 12 days away), and its that time of year where there’s a lot of focus and attention paid to something that ultimately ends up being pretty unimportant. Most Rule 5 picks get sent back to their original teams, and in most years just a couple of players end up sticking with their new teams.
Still, its a draft, its something to discuss and speculate about while getting fired up over the possibility of your team getting the next Bobby Abreu or Johan Santana (or even the next Delino DeShields or Odubel Herrera) for basically no cost.
Along those lines, Jonathan Mayo has a breakdown of all the first rounders from 2013 and 2014 who are being exposed, as well as the players on each team’s top 30 prospect list who are Rule 5 eligible. Mayo also highlights 10 particularly interesting candidates to be selected in the Rule 5 draft, which includes Rangers minor league shortstop Michael De Leon.
De Leon was a 2013 J-2 signee by the Texas Rangers, who got a $550,000 signing bonus based on his solid defense and the potential his switch-hitting bat showed. De Leon hasn’t really hit as a pro, but the glove alone could get him a look from a team who is willing to carry him as a utility infielder.
A former Ranger prospect who also makes Mayo’s list is Travis Demeritte, the second baseman who Texas sent to Atlanta in 2016 for Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez. Demeritte seems unlikely to be selected, given that he’s limited to second base and has a lot of power potential but also a lot of problems making contact, but then, you could have said the same thing about Dan Uggla, who the Marlins selected in the 2005-06 offseason in the Rule 5 draft, and that worked out for them.
Perhaps the most interesting player Mayo mentions, though, is catcher Max Pentecost. Pentecost is another guy with a Rangers past — he was the Rangers’ 7th round pick in their bizarre 2011 draft, didn’t sign with the Rangers, and ended up getting selected 11th overall in 2014 by the Toronto Blue Jays. Pentecost has struggled with shoulder issues as a pro, but when he was healthy, he was considered one of the better catching prospects in the game. The Rangers currently have Brett Nicholas as their backup catcher, but Pentecost is someone who could be worth spending $100,000 on to take a look at in camp, with the hope that his shoulder will hold up and allow him to be a viable catching option.