Best Rule 5 Draft picks past 10 years

On Wednesday, Dec. 7, the Rule 5 Draft will take place at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. As always, it will be an opportunity for teams to take some low-risk gambles to find big league talent.

For the uninitiated, a quick primer on how it works:

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Players first signed at age 18 or younger must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn’t stay on the 26-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000. For this year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2018 had to be protected. A college player taken in the 2019 Draft was in the same position.

While a 2006 change in the rules giving teams an extra year to evaluate talent before making this decision has made it a bit more difficult to find stars via the Rule 5, there have been a ton of big leaguers selected. In the past 10 years alone, teams made 133 selections in the Major League phase of this Draft (there was no Major League phase in 2021 due to the lockout). And while a majority of those players haven’t stuck in the big leagues, here is a list of the 10 best who have, using a combination of production to date (including WAR according to Baseball-Reference) and potential future success.

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1. Ryan Pressly, RHP, HOU: Selected by Twins from Red Sox, 2012 (9.7 bWAR)
Pressly spent nearly six seasons as a valuable part of the Twins’ big league bullpen after they took him No. 4 overall in the 2012 Draft. He led the league in appearances in 2018, the year the Twins dealt him to the Astros close to the Trade Deadline, and he’s since made two All-Star appearances and cemented himself as the team’s closer, playing a big part in Houston’s World Series run this past season. He has a 2.56 ERA and 11 saves in 41 postseason outings for the Astros.

2. Garrett Whitlock, RHP, BOS: Selected by Red Sox from Yankees, 2020 (4.7)
The 2020 Rule 5 Draft went a little bit under the radar since there were no Winter Meetings for folks to attend in person. But there was still good talent to be found, led by Whitlock, the No. 4 pick of the Rule 5 Draft that year. He fought through a hip injury for much of 2022 before having surgery in late September but still proved to be valuable in a number of roles. He has a 2.73 ERA, .227 BAA, 1.062 WHIP and a 5.09 K/BB ratio in two seasons with Boston.

3. Odúbel Herrera, OF, PHI: Selected by Phillies from Rangers, 2014 (13.4)
The way things started for the No. 8 pick in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, he looked like he could be one of the best Major League phase selections of all time, and he does lead the group of players who stuck in bWAR. Much of that came over his first two seasons (8.7), the second of which earned him an All-Star…

Read More: Best Rule 5 Draft picks past 10 years 2022-11-29 09:33:22

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