Rule 5 Draft roundup

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

I somehow missed that Wilbur had already written this up, but I'm going to keep this article up here, since I also have some stuff on the minor-league portion of the Rule 5. Feel free to use Wilbur's thread to continue discussion.

The Pirates lost a pitcher in the Rule 5 Draft, but it wasn't the one we thought. Most of the previews of the draft understandably focused on Zack Thornton, who put up great numbers split between Class A+, Double-A and Triple-A last year.

Instead, Thornton wasn't selected, but the Brewers picked Wei-Chung Wang. I did a double-take when I saw that, because I didn't even know Wang was eligible -- he didn't even sign with the Pirates until after the 2011 season. Apparently, though, the Brewers could take him because the Pirates voided their original deal with him due to injury, which automatically made him eligible for subsequent Rule 5 drafts after he signed again. Anyway, Wang only has 12 appearances in the pros, and those were all the way down at the GCL. He was very good there, but I have no idea how the Brewers are going to keep him on their roster the whole season. I hope they don't try, both for the Pirates' sake and for his -- one would think that skipping all the way to the big leagues could mess with his development.

As expected, the Pirates didn't make a pick of their own in the major-league portion. In the minor-league phase, the Pirates lost Charlie Cutler to the Cubs and Roberto Espinosa to the Blue Jays. Cutler has repeatedly demonstrated good hitting ability, but no one has ever really taken him seriously as a prospect -- the only reason the Pirates had him in the first place is that they themselves took him in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 a couple years back. Espinosa hadn't yet advanced beyond short-season ball.

The Pirates also took pitchers Tyler Sample from the Royals, A.J. Morris from the Cubs and Felipe Gonzalez from the Yankees. Sample is already 24 and makes Andy Oliver look like a control specialist. Morris is 27 and posted unimpressive numbers in Double-A last year, although he's a former fourth-round pick who had posted decent numbers before that. Gonzalez is a 22-year-old who pitched in the GCL last year.

The minor-league portion almost never turns out to matter, though. The key points to remember: the Pirates didn't make a pick, they get to keep Zack Thornton, and they lost Wei-Chung Wang, who I imagine will have a fun four weeks in big-league spring training before being returned to the Pirates.

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