The Blue Jays are probably going to lose somebody in the Rule 5 draft

The December fringe is going to be a real tricky thing for Ross Atkins to figure out this offseason. And it’s not a terrible position to be in because the Jays have a lot of prospect-y depth in their system and that’s a damn good thing.

However, decisions are going to have to be made before the Rule 5 Draft happens because there is a lot of crunch and not enough room for the crisp. And these decisions aren’t going to be easy because the Jays’ 40-man roster is as full as I am after an all you can eat buffet…womp…womp…crunch…crunch?!?!?!?!?!? Anywho…

So what the hell is the front office gong to do? Well, it’s crystally effing clear that they are going to have to add some soon-to-be-Rule-5 prospects to the roster or trade a couple of them, or else some intriguing future pieces might get selected and scooped up by MLB teams around the league for nothing in return.

And that’s not cool. But, the Jays won’t be able to protect them all – that’s for sure.

There are eight magic beans that need to be protected and only two spots currently open on the roster. And of these large adult sons, all of them have the potential to impact the future Jays somehow…or some other team?

RHP Hector Perez, RHP Patrick Murphy, RHP Jon Harris, RHP Yennsy Diaz, RHP Jordan Romano, RHP Jacob Waguespack, OF Forrest Wall and OF Harold Ramirez are all pretty damn good future somethings with potential. And if any of them are left unprotected, they will be a part of the Rule 5 Draft this year. And someone from this list will be Rule 5’d away.

These prospects aren’t just a group of meh-whatevers either. There’s a lot to like about each one of them. And this shows the level of depth that the Jays’ farm system has outside of, ya know, Vladdy, Biggio, Bichette, Pearson, and Pardinho.

And the truth is, Ross Atkins doesn’t want to lose any of these eight players to another team for absolutely nothing. These eight prospects aren’t a box of old DVDs that you leave on the side of the road and don’t care about. They have some value. They are a part of their prospect hoarding collection. And it’s a pretty damn good collection. And a collection that has pieces that could be used in possible future trade packages and stuff.

Not given away for free.

Atkins doesn’t want to see Hector Perez, who was a part of the package sent to Toronto in that Osuna deal, get picked up because he couldn’t protect him. And the same goes for Patrick Murphy, who the Jays are clearly going to protect, because he was arguably the most impressive pitcher in the Jays’ system this year. Murphy had a great year in Dunedin after finally being able to put together a healthy season and toss his nasty stuff on the ol’ dirt hill.

And let’s not forget about Jon Harris, the Jays’ 29th overall selection in the 2015 draft. He was the compensation pick for losing free agent Melky Cabrera to the White Sox. Thanks, Chicago. And maybe he’s a trade piece now? Or maybe he’s a future Jay? Who really knows?

So I’m going to reach for the lowest hanging fruit on the damn tree and say that Atkins and company would probably like to protect all three of the aforementioned pitchers. But, wouldn’t they also like to protect Yennsy Diaz?

I mean, this 21-year-old flamethrower was lights out in Lansing before being promoted to Dunedin. He went 5-1 in the Midwest League posting a 2.08 ERA, striking out 42 and holding batters to a .125 average – not too damn bad at all. There is a reason why our friend Jesse Goldberg-Strassler gushed about this prospect on more than one occasion this season. 

And once Diaz set foot in Dunedin, he continued to have success in the Florida State League where he struck out 83, walked only 28, and gave up only 5 dingers in 99.2 innings pitched. I could highlight other good stats from this young righty, but I think that you get the point that this kid is the good stuff kind of stuff.

So that’s 4 pitchers that the Jays have to protect or trade if they don’t want them to be picked from their pocket in December.

This is going to be a fun storyline to keep our eyes on this Fall.

Two roster spots are currently open.

Perez, Murphy, Harris, and Diaz are prospects that the Jays don’t want to lose for nothing.

And let’s not forget about Jordan Romano and Jacob Waguespack, too.

And there is no way in hell that outfielder Harold Ramirez doesn’t get protected, right? And what about Forrest Wall? Geez…what a position to be in? The Jays have serious depth in their farm system…That sucks, eh!

There is going to be some purging to save the fringe, or some trading of the fringe to avoid being Rule 5’d.

Maybe the Jays are cool with Forrest Wall being picked up in the Rule 5 Draft since he hasn’t really lived up to his hitting expectations, and he doesn’t have the strongest arm in the outfield. Maybe the Jays are fine with Perez getting poached because Ken Giles and David Paulino are the main pieces that came to Toronto in that Houston trade. And maybe Atkins has some minor trades up his November sleeve to sort out this crunch.

Whatever ends up happening, I think that it’s pretty cool that the Jays’ system is so rich with talent that they actually have eight prospects that could end up being Rule 5’d away if they aren’t protected or traded.

It says a lot about how the front office has been rebuilding over the past two seasons even though there are some fans who think otherwise. But, tough decisions are going to have to be made to protect a handful of these players because there is no way that Atkins wants to see any of these talented prospects walk off into the Rule 5 sunset this December. There is no way the Jays are going to just give organizations a bunch of early Festivus gifts – probably just a couple that don’t cut the crunch.

The future is a coffee table puzzle. It has some pieces. It’s missing some. And trades are only a couple tomorrows away. Either way, it’s not a shitty situation for the front office to be in.

So, let’s see what the Cap’n does with this crunch…I couldn’t resist damn it.

  • Warren

    The purpose of the rule 5 draft was to prevent championship teams from carrying mlb (or, almost mlb) ready players from being stockpiled by a few teams. The fact that the Jays, a team near the bottom in performance this year and last, could lose up to eight players in the rule 5 draft is a statement of gross roster mismanagement!

    • Guzman's Jheri Curl

      They are not losing 8 players in rule 5, relax. This is not roster mismanagement, most teams with top ranked farm systems go through this exercise.

      This article should also highlight the fact that any team that takes a player from Jays in rule 5 has to keep that player on MLB roster the entire season in order to keep him. This greatly impacts the decision making of who to protect (e.g. Flame throwing starter in lower minors better shot of sticking in an MLB bullpen vs a young depth hitting prospect in high A.

  • Jroc

    2 spots for now.
    Easy to see guys like Berti, Leiter, solarte, Pompey, (or even guys like Pillar or Travis if they non tender them) fall off this list to open spots. For Wall or Ramirez to get added it might spell the end for a guy like Jonathan Davis or Dwight Smith. Currently 9 OF on the 40, seems like a lot.

  • El Cabeza

    Really? We’re worried about losing pitchers who aren’t blue chip prospects and haven’t pitched higher than A ball to the rule 5 draft? And position players like Forrest Wall too? When was the last time a team used a 25 man roster spot on a Rule 5 pickup from A ball?

    • Ryan Di Francesco

      Jays fans definitely shouldn’t be worried about this stuff, but it will be interesting to see what decisions the front office make in the next couple months with this roster ‘crunch’. That being said, there are some intriguing prospects on that list.

    • The Humungus

      “When was the last time a team used a 25 man roster spot on a Rule 5 pickup from A ball?”

      The 2017 San Diego Padres carried 3 of these type of guys.

      So, a rebuilding team with nothing to lose (see Orioles, Baltimore) could certainly come calling for a Yennsy Diaz type.

      • El Cabeza

        So basically one team has tried this and only because we’ve entered a new era of supertanking. I doubt it’s going to become regular practice and much of a concern.

        It’s an interesting strategy though, thanks for making me aware of it. They only need to stick it out with the underdeveloped player on the MLB roster for 1 season, then they can put them into their system like a regular prospect.

        I’m only seeing the Padres take 1 player in the 2016 Rule 5 though – are you sure there were 3? Can you even take more than 1?

        BTW, Allen Cordoba selected out of the Appalachian League (Rookie ball – wow) slashed .208/.282/.297 for the Friars in 2017, then played advanced A ball in 2018 and slashed .206/.233/.307.

        • The Humungus

          They traded for Miguel Diaz (picked by the Twins from the Brewers) and Luis Torrens (picked by the Reds from the Yankees) immediately following the Rule 5 draft and then kept all three on the roster for the whole 2017 season.

          And yeah, the Orioles are in supertank mode, so they’re the team I wouldn’t put it past.

          • El Cabeza

            Thanks for this. Finding it super interesting. Apparently poor 21 year old Torrens was forced to endure 123 ABs with the Padres that year putting up a .446 OPS! The young pitcher fipped at 7.02 over 41 innings.

            Collectively the three Rule 5 draft manipulation experiments contributed -2.6 bWAR in the ’17 season and are now probably completely broken inside hahaha.

            But you’re right – the Oriloles loom and I’m sure Duquette would do anything to steal prospects as long as they’re the Mark Trumbo type working class players and he checks with the fans first.

  • wb

    I don’t think there’s much point about worrying about this now, or even speculating. There are at least half-a-dozen or so players on the current 40-man who could be traded or released to make room for most of the prospects that must be protected. If we lose someone at that point, it speaks more to the depth of the Jays’ system, than to mismanagement, unless the Jays keep some marginal and easily-replaceable players on the 40-man at the expense of a prospect who should be protected.

  • Oz Rob

    One of the things I miss the most about Canada is Captain Crunch and when I go back I gorge. I also gorge on chicken wings, street vendor hot dogs, donuts and beer. It’s an unhealthy experience, but I savour every second of it.