Rule 5 Draft Prospects
Last year, the Mets had a high pick in the Rule 5 Draft and inexplicably sold their rights to it to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who plucked pitcher Carlos Monasterios from the Phillies organization.
Monasterios wound up making the Dodgers and sticking around all year, spending half of his time in the bullpen and the other half in their starting rotation. He’s no Johan Santana, but Monasterios did show some promise — certainly, the Mets could have used him and wouldn’t mind having him now.
But bygones are bygones, and the Mets have a new, and purportedly more efficient front office in place — the type that may take advantage of a high pick in the Rule 5 Draft.
It’s hard to say who stands out — there are so many players available — but let’s go over a few intriguing players who may pique the Mets’ interest.
Brad Emaus (3B / 2B, Blue Jays)
Emaus hasn’t hit with enough power for 3B — where he played most of his games in ’10 — but has good pop for 2B, where he spent most of ’08 and ’09. Last year he hit 15 HR and posted an .874 OPS in a season split between AAA (87 games) and AA (38 games). He has a reputation for having excellent plate discipline, as evidenced by his .397 OBP last year — which should cause an alert to pop up on Paul DePodesta’s PowerMac. He’s ready for a shot to hit at the MLB level, the only question is what position he’ll play.
Ryan Adams (2B / 3B, Orioles)
Adams has had his troubles defensively, but has some pop with the bat — he hit .298 with 15 HR and a .829 OPS at AA in 2010, and hits the ball to all fields. At the end of ’09, he was sent home after an argument in the dugout with manager Richie Hebner. Argument with Richie Hebner? If that’s not enough evidence to win a Mets’ fans heart I’m not sure what is. Think of him as a righthanded-hitting Daniel Murphy, though with extensive experience at 2B.
Brett Sinkbeil (RHP, Marlins)
He has had unimpressive numbers since being picked 19th overall in the 2006 draft, but Sinkbeil sports a filthy slider and a hard low-90s sinker that generates plenty of ground balls. Despite another year of poor stats, the Marlins brought him up for a September look. He could be a low-cost sleeper for someone’s bullpen.
Joe Savery (P / OF?, Phillies)
Savery is a particularly interesting individual – a big lefthanded pitcher and former #1 pick who has not progressed as expected on the mound and is being transitioned into a position player (a la Rick Ankiel). Savery was probably a better hitter in college, but when you are lefthanded and can touch 94 MPH, you are a pitching prospect. However, Savery had some injury issues in college, suffered a drop in velocity upon turning pro, and now sits around 88-90 with his fastball — the common thought is that he wasn’t able to physically handle the rigors of throwing 6 innings once every four days. His stats aren’t great for a former first-rounder, but he did win 16 games in ’09 and is considered a “gamer”. He’s also known for his work ethic, which is what prompted the Phillies to move him off the mound while there’s still time to salvage his career. However, I wonder if he’d be worth picking up as a possible reliever — a role that the Phils never tested him in.
Michael Dubee (RHP, Pirates)
The son of Phillies pitcher coach Rich Dubee has bounced from organization to organization, and was traded for Andy Phillips in early 2009 — so it’s hard to see him as a prospect. However, in 2010 at AA he struck out 8 batters per 9 innings while walking only 2.2, and posted a 2.24 ERA and 1.06 WHIP; pretty good numbers. The 25-year-old could step into a middle-relief role.
George Kontos (RHP, Yankees)
Kontos was an up-and-coming prospect in the Yankees organization before an elbow injury and Tommy John surgery stunted his development. He returned this past June and proved healthy, throwing in the low 90s and showing the same plus slider that helped him strike out a batter per inning before the injury. He could step right into an MLB bullpen and be effective in 2011.
Lance Pendleton (RHP, Yankees)
Another Yankees pitcher who had TJ surgery (and also like Savery, a former two-way player from Rice), Pendleton has succeeded at every level, and projects as a back-end starter / long reliever. He’s 27 years old, so a little old to be a prospect, but the point is not that he’s a prospect, but rather, an able and cheap solution to fill out an MLB pitching staff.
Jeremy Horst (LHP, Reds)
This 25-year-old, 6’4″ lefty struck out 75 in 72 innings and sported a 2.62 ERA across three levels of the minors last year. Those numbers could be misleading, though, since he has been slightly old for the levels at which he’s excelled, and his fastball tops out at 90 MPH. Still, he gets batters to swing and miss and doesn’t walk many, so he’s worth taking a long, hard look at.
James Adkins (LHP, Dodgers)
Adkins was a first-round pick in the 2007 draft, stands 6’6″, and struck out 10 batters per nine innings last year. What more do you need to know? OK, he has some control issues, but isn’t that expected from a big young lefty?
Scott Van Slyke (OF, Dodgers)
The son of possible Mets batting coach Andy Van Slyke followed up a huge year in the California League (A) in ’09 with a so-so year split between A, AA and AAA in ’10. Like his father, he’s an outstanding fielder with a strong arm. Unlike his dad, he’s a towering 6’5″ and still filling out his frame. He is 24 years old and probably not ready for MLB, but if his father becomes the Mets’ batting coach, who knows?
Wilkin Ramirez (OF, Braves)
Once a top prospect for the Tigers, Ramirez has the rare combination of raw homerun power and running speed. However, he can’t recognize nor hit a breaking pitch, and his defense is suspect. If he can ever learn how to lay off the spinner, he could be scary good. He turned 25 in October, and is running out of time.
There are literally dozens and dozens of other players eligible for the Rule 5 draft (you can review one unofficial list here); it is impossible to cover all the possibilities. If someone in particular catches your eye, mention him in the comments.