Feature Photo: Michael Gettys, OF, San Diego Padres
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth edition of a multi-part series on this year’s Major League Baseball Rule 5 Draft, to be held Thursday, December 13 at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. For basic information on how the Rule 5 Draft works, you can click here. Previous installments of our Rule 5 Draft series are below:
- Pt. 1: Top Protected Players
- Pt. 2: Starting Pitchers
- Pt. 3: Relief Pitchers
- Pt. 4: Catchers
- Pt. 5: Infielders
TOP OF THE CROP
Michael Gettys, CF, San Diego Padres
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 203 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: AA Age (as of April 1, 2019): 23y, 5m
Gettys has a high-ceiling set of tools, though approach and strikeout issues have diminished the impact of his power/speed skill set. He has cracked 15 homers and 15 steals the last two seasons, also whiffing in over 30-percent of plate appearances in both years. A team that isn’t scared off by his rawness could take a flyer on on Gettys in the Rule 5 for his long-term upside.
Wilson was a top-100 pick from high school in 2014, considered a toolsy but raw project that would take time. That wound up being the case, as he didn’t start a year with a full-season affiliate until 2017. Wilson is a plus athlete with above-average speed and defensive ability in the outfield. He flashes solid raw power, enthusing considering his tall, slender build and center-diamond defensive profile. The hitting ability is quite raw, however, and Wilson’s struggles in the California League last season (.235/.309/.369) would only be exacerbated if a team had to rush him into a big league role as a Rule 5 player.
Wall came to Toronto in a trade for RHP Seunghwan Oh this July, though the Jays opted to leave him off their 40-Man Roster after last season. He had shoulder surgery as an amateur and has never had much of an arm since, something that can challenge him playing regularly in CF. A speedster with some contact ability, a team who targets Wall in the Rule 5 will likely utilize him in a late-inning bench role until he’s able to be sent back to the minors.
Davis put up strong numbers across two levels last year, then got in front of scouts for an extended period in Fall League. He can move between either outfield corner and has some pop, though Double-A pitchers started to expose his issues against same-side arms. If a team takes him in the Rule 5, he’d likely serve as a bench bat in situations where he has the platoon advantage against a lefty.
Sorted by MLB organization
Travis Demeritte, LF, Atlanta Braves
Ht/Wt: 6’0” / 180 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: AA Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 6m
Demeritte is a recognizable name, having been selected with the 30th overall pick in 2013. Originally signed as an infielder, he has moved full-time to the grass and fits defensively in LF. Demeritte has always shown glimpses of serious power potential, though persistent approach and strikeout issues have slowed him the last few years against upper-minors competition.
Gonzalez is younger than most Rule 5 eligibles and hasn’t even reached Advanced A, likely something that factored in to Cleveland’s decision to leave him off the 40-Man Roster this November. He has prototype RF tools with projectable raw power and an above-average arm. Gonzalez slashed a strong .292/.310/.435 in his full-season debut for Lake County last year, but elevated strikeout rates and almost no walks indicate his approach isn’t close to big league ready.
Jose Pujols, RF, Philadelphia Phillies
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 175 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: AA Age (as of April 1, 2019): 23y, 6m
Pujols is a physical outfielder whose raw power and plus arm have long intrigued. Issues with contact have historically been his Achilles heel, and though he whiffed in over 30-percent of his plate appearances, Pujols managed a .301 average thanks to an absurdly high .425 BABIP. He was named the Florida State League’s MVP after the season despite spending the last month in Double-A. There’s reason to be skeptical of how repeatable his 2018 is, but Pujols’ raw tools and performance last season might convince a team to take a flyer on him this December.
Miller is older than others on this list and brings less upside to the table, though he’s arguably the most big league ready. He’s a plus runner with wheels that play on the bases and in center, able to put the ball in play with a contact-oriented approach. Scouts got plenty of looks at Miller the last few years in the high-minors, as well as in Fall League this year with Peoria. A team who doesn’t want to wait on a Rule 5 player to contribute could give Miller a look as a late-inning defensive reserve and pinch-runner.
Pedro Gonzalez, CF, Texas Rangers
Ht/Wt: 6’5” / 190 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: A Age (as of April 1, 2019): 21y, 5m
Gonzalez has only played four pro seasons and signed before he was 19, but he’s Rule 5 eligible this year because he signed his first pro contact in July of 2014 and not after the regular season ended. The Rangers likely saw leaving him off their 40-Man Roster as a calculated risk: despite a high-impact toolset, Gonzalez is still quite raw offensively and would be overmatched at the big league level next year if he was rushed there as a Rule 5 player. He’s a plus athlete with excellent physicality, potentially able to remain in CF despite his 6-foot-5 frame.
Rhett Wiseman, RF, Washington Nationals
Ht/Wt: 6’0” / 200 lbs. B/T: L/R Highest Level: A+ Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 9m
Wiseman was named a Carolina League All-Star in 2018, though he turned 24 in June and was repeating the level. He has power (especially against righties) and is solid defensively in the corner outfield spots. Wiseman’s age and lack of high-minors experience might work against him in terms of Rule 5 interest, and his issues against same-side pitching in A-Ball don’t give much hope as to his ability to handle lefties at the next level.