Thanks to a publishing snafu – read: me no read clocks good – I was publishing a piece entitled “The Rule 5 Draft is Today, and the Cubs Will Probably Lose a Prospect or Two” … ten minutes after the draft had started. Whoops. (At least that post is still useful for folks who want to better understand what the Rule 5 Draft is all about.)
Thankfully for the Cubs – and me – the team did not lose any players in the big league portion of the draft, which means guys like Corey Black, Felix Pena, and Daury Torrez, among many others, are still in the fold.
In the minor league phase, however, the Cubs did lose a number of prospects. Unlike the big league portion of the draft, these prospects are just flat-out gone:
- Pin-Chieh Chen, INF/OF – Selected by Reds (smaller, 24-year-old OBP type who can play all over)
- Ariel Ovando, LHP – Selected by Angels (an outfield conversion the Cubs took last year in the Rule 5)
- Julian Aybar, RHP – Selected by Yankees (I am completely unfamiliar with Aybar until this moment when I’m looking him up; has only pitched the one year with the Cubs in the DSL, but is 23 and Rule 5 eligible … must be a unique situation)
- Michael Heesch, LHP – Selected by Cardinals (big, lefty relief prospect who has had success, but is 25 and hasn’t pitched above High-A)
- David Freitas, C – Taken from Orioles. This is my favorite kind of selection in the minor league phase of the draft – a depth catcher, because that’s something (1) you always need, and (2) the Cubs especially need at the upper levels. The 26-year-old has actually been solid with the bat in the minors, but, beyond that, I don’t know much about him.
- Mike O’Neill, OF – Taken from the Cardinals. While you love the crazy high contact and OBP, the problem with players of O’Neill’s profile (absolutely no power whatsoever) is that, when they reach the big leagues, the pitchers are too good to give up too many walks to him – without any threat of pop whatsoever, he’ll constantly be challenged in the zone. So, the walks go away, and you’re left hoping he can put up a .280/.320/.340 line, and how useful is that, really? Further, without the threat of power, outfield defenses align better to take away hits, further driving down the batting average. So, it’s nice to dream on a guy like O’Neill, but it’s also easy to see why he never got a shot with the Cardinals despite the huge OBP.
- Jesus Loya, OF – Taken from the Red Sox. I figure the front office knows him well. The 23-year-old was loaned out to play in the Mexican League last year, and was decent.
Something you have to keep in mind on these minor league selections: there’s often more at play than simply “get a guy with upside in the organization.” These could be high character guys, mentors, or guys that are filling specific gaps in the organization.
You can see the full list of players selected today here at Baseball America.