The Rule 5 Draft began as a means to prevent teams from stockpiling players in their minor league systems. For $50,000, a team may select a player that has been left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. In order to avoid exposing a player, a team must add to its 40-man roster players signed at age 18 or younger that have five seasons of minor league experience, or players that were signed at age 19 or beyond with four years of minor league experience. For the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, this means players that were signed at age 18 or younger in 2011, or players that were signed at age 19 or older in 2012.
The 2016 Rule 5 Draft will take place on Thursday, December 10. Draft order is based on reverse order of 2015 standings, so thanks to a 90-72 record, the Mets will be making the 24th selection. Players selected in the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft must be kept on a team's major league roster for all of the 2016 season or be offered back to the original club.
Over the years, many players selected in the Rule 5 Draft have gone one to have highly successful careers. Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Brooklyn Dodgers thanks to Pittsburgh general manager Branch Rickey's familiarity with the crowded Brooklyn Dodger farm system. Johan Santana was selected by the Florida Marlins from the Houston Astros and immediately traded to the Minnesota Twins, where he would win two Cy Young Awards.
In 2015, the Mets selected Sean Gilmartin, and were rewarded with a very solid season by the southpaw, who posted a 2.56 ERA in 45.2 innings. Let's look at some potential pitching targets for the Mets in this year's Rule 5 draft.
Tampa Bay Rays, RHP, 24
One of numerous first round selections made by Tampa Bay in 2011, Jeff Ames transitioned into the bullpen full time in 2015 after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery in 2014. Though his control could have been a bit better, the experiment was a success, as the right-hander allowed 17 earned runs over 42 innings over the course of the season, good for a 3.64 ERA. When promoted to Double-A Montgomery, Ames improved further, allowing only 2 earned runs over 24.2 innings. The Washington native relies on a fastball/slider combination, and looks to be on the cusp of being able to contribute at the major league level.
|High-A (Florida State League)||24/0||42||3.64||41||1||24||36|
|Double-A (Southern League)||14/0||24.2||0.74||19||2||14||26|
Rafael De Paula
San Diego Padres, RHP, 24
Sent to San Diego from the Yankees along with Yangervis Solarte in exchange for Chase Headley, Rafael De Paula had mixed results in his first full season with his new organization. Though his numbers as a whole look unimpressive, when De Paula was transitioned into the bullpen, he pitched much better, holding hitters to a .209/.287/.319 line, as opposed to .286/.352/.500 as a starter. The Panamanian right-hander throws a mid-90s fastball and supplements it with a change-up that flashes above-average at times, and an inconsistent slider. Could Dan Warthen's tutelage help the 24-year-old turn his weakest offering into a weapon?
|High-A (California League)||35/18||120.1||5.01||125||14||47||129|
Chicago White Sox, LHP, 26
Onelki Garcia has the most experience of any Rule 5 eligible draftee this season, having pitched for three seasons in Cuba's Serie Nacional de Beisbol before being signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The southpaw throws a mid-90s fastball and an inconsistent slider. His control issues have caused problems for him, but his stuff is good enough that he maintained a double-digit strikeout per nine rate in 2015, striking out roughly two batters for every one walk he issued.
|Double-A (Southern League)||13/0||17.2||5.09||19||0||7||24|
|Triple-A (International League)||25/0||38.1||4.70||45||3||22||48|
Houston Astros, LHP, 23
Arguably the pitcher with the best stuff to be exposed to the 2016 Rule 5 draft, Reymin Guduan throws a fastball that touches triple digits from the left side. The 23-year-old complements it with an inconsistent slider, but relies on his heater for obvious reasons. As the 2015 progressed, and Guduan climbed the minor league ladder, his control problems became more and more exaggerated, but the pure stuff on his fastball remains off the scale.
|Low-A (Midwest League)||6/0||12||0.75||6||1||3||15|
|High-A (California League)||13/0||17.1||3.12||12||0||11||25|
|Double-A (Texas League)||26/0||16.1||11.57||20||3||19||19|
Chicago Cubs, LHP, 25
Though his overall peripherals were pedestrian, Michael Heesch held Carolina League lefties to a .197/.267/.265 batting line last season, showing that he may be able to succeed as a left-handed specialist. Standing 6'5", the southpaw's height sometimes causes control problems when his limbs and trunk get out of sync, but these issues have only caused minimal problems for Heesch, who has had nothing but success in his four-year MiLB career.
|High-A (Carolina League)||33/2||64.1||2.24||57||2||24||49|
Minnesota Twins, RHP, 24
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of San Jose State University, Zach Jones has great stuff but has been held back by spotty command. The right-hander is a two-pitch reliever, throwing a mid-to-high 90s fastball and a slider that flashes plus. After missing most of the 2014 season due to an aneurysm in his upper right arm and a blood clot in his leg, Jones returned to success in the first half of the 2015 season, but tailed off after being promoted to the Double-A Chattanooga.
|High-A (Florida State League)||18/0||24.2||2.19||14||0||10||38|
|Double-A (Southern League)||27/0||27||6.00||24||3||18||30|
Miami Marlins, RHP, 25
Possessing a plus fastball and plus slider, when Matt Milroy is able to repeat his release point and keep on top of his pitchers, the right-hander can be dominant. When he is unable to repeat his delivery and keep his pitches consistent, his control falters and he struggles. The stuff is there, but the right-hander needs to eliminate the inconsistency in his delivery in order to become an effective major league pitcher.
|High-A (Florida State League)||36/1||61||3.25||53||2||43||80|
St. Louis Cardinals, RHP, 22
Luis Perdomo is still very young, but the right-hander shows the promise of a bright future. He throws a mid-90s fastball and compliments it with a mid-80s slider that flashes plus at times, but that he has trouble controlling. The Dominican right-hander has been hittable at times, but is still developing physically, mentally, and as a pitcher.
|Low-A (Midwest League)||17/17||100.1||3.68||103||7||31||100|
|High-A (Florida State League)||6/5||26.1||5.13||31||1||6||18|
Kansas City Royals, LHP, 25
Drafted in the second round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of Vanderbilt University, Sam Selman has not developed as the Kansas City Royals intended. The left-hander has good stuff, but control problems have limited his effectiveness. The potential to be a left-handed specialist is there, as he held lefties to a .211 batting average and .296 slugging percentage, but with a .400 on-base percentage, the southpaw needs to better control his pitches before he can thrive in such a role.
|Double-A (Texas League)||41/7||56.1||5.27||56||3||42||69|