The deadline for adding players to the 40 man roster in advance of this year’s Rule 5 Draft is 5:00 p.m. Central today, and in advance of the deadline, Baseball America lists every player who they have in a team’s top 30 prospects who is Rule 5 eligible.
As a brief primer, any player who has at least four full seasons of professional service time (if they were 18 or younger when signed) or three full seasons of professional service time (if they were 19 or older when signed), and who is not on a team’s 40 man roster as of today’s deadline, is eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft for a $100,000 fee. A player selected in the Rule 5 Draft must be kept on a team’s major league roster for the entirety of the upcoming major league season — if a player isn’t, the player must be exposed to waivers, and if the player goes unclaimed, he must be offered back to his original club for $50,000. A Rule 5 draftee can be placed on the injured list without being exposed to waivers, but has to spend a certain amount of time on the active roster before the Rule 5 restrictions lift — you can’t select a player and then stash him on the 60 day injured list all season.
Most high schoolers who were drafted in 2018, as well as most J-2 players signed in 2018, are Rule 5 eligible for the first time. College players drafted in 2019 are Rule 5 eligible for the first time.
Six players who are on the Baseball America list for the Rangers are Rule 5 eligible this year. Three of those six — Owen White, Luisangel Acuna and Cole Winn — seem like locks to be added. Dustin Harris would appear to be likely to be added, though as a corner outfielder/first baseman with limited defensive value, he’s the type of player who may be exposed due to the difficulty of a team stashing him on their bench all season. Lefthanded pitcher Antoine Kelly and righthanded pitcher Zak Kent are the other two in the BA top 30 who are Rule 5 eligible, and Kelly seems more likely than Kent to be added.
There are other players who the Rangers could add — Scott Lucas has a full rundown here — but I think it is more likely than not that four or five of the guys listed above are who get added to the 40 man roster today.
As Fittz has noted before, despite John Blake’s departure, the Rangers are continuing Blake’s tradition of not announcing moves until the last possible moment, so I wouldn’t expect to know anything definite before 5 p.m. tonight.
Meanwhile, if you look at the players on other team’s lists who are eligible, you can get a sense for who has tough decisions to make. Of course, given that there are 30 prospects that BA ranks for every team, quality and depth has to be taken into account when reviewing those lists — a shallow, weak farm system is less likely to have to protect players in the back half of their top 30 than a strong, deep farm system is. Still, it provides a useful starting point.
There’s been much discussion about the Rays having to make moves in advance of today’s deadline, and a look at the BA list helps explain why. Their 40 man roster is currently full, and they have seven prospects on their BA top 30 who are Rule 5 eligible, including former Rangers Osleivis Basabe and Heriberto Hernandez. Expect to see some Rays middle relievers moving today, as well as some secondary prospects who the Rays would rather get something for than risk losing.