While the lockout resulted in a postponing of the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, the minor league Rule 5 Draft took place today, and the Texas Rangers lost four players — pitchers Nic Laio, Cole Uvila and Abdiel Mendoza, and infielder Charles Leblanc. Because the Rangers were one of five teams whose AAA roster was full, at 38, the Rangers did not select anyone.
The loss of Uvila is very disappointing to me, since he’s someone who is an interesting guy with a neat background, and was someone I have been rooting for. Uvila was a 40th round pick in 2018, and did impressive work as a reliever in low-A, high-A and the AFL in 2019. He was solid for Frisco in 2021, but struggled in AAA. He is a high spin rate guy but has struggled with his command, which is what got him lit up in AAA. He was taken by the Baltimore Orioles, and I’ll be rooting for him to make the bigs.
Laio was a 20th round pick in 2018, and was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates. A 24 year old righthander, Laio was strong in Down East in 2021, and while his 7.80 ERA in high-A in 2021 after he was promoted was ugly, it was largely due to three disaster outings, including a 10 run, 1.2 IP outing in August. He was on the interesting, someone to keep an eye on list.
Mendoza is a 23 year old righthander who came over from Oakland in 2018, along with Teodoro Ortega, in exchange for Corey Gearrin. He had a 4.95 ERA in 36.1 IP over 10 games in low-A in 2021, with 40 Ks against 16 walks. He was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Leblanc was the fourth player picked overall in this draft, being taken by the Miami Marlins. He’s a 25 year old infielder who slashed .229/.313/.455 for Round Rock this year, and was a fourth round pick out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2016.
If I’m counting right, the Giants lost the most players, with seven. The Rangers, Royals and Padres lost four players apiece.
The Red Sox, White Sox, Orioles, Twins, Nationals and Angels do not appear to have lost anyone, based on my quick review. If I’m wrong, please feel free to tell me in the comments.
Unlike the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, a player lost in the minor league portion is not subject to any roster requirements — once you lose the player, he’s gone.