Well, one last chance for the Pirates to accomplish something at the winter meetings apart from claiming Engelb Vielma.
The Rule 5 draft starts at 9:00am today. As most know, Rule 5 is totally unpredictable. Baseball America put it like this:
This is the draft where there is very little consensus. When teams get around to putting together their final Rule 5 draft pref lists next week, there will likely be little overlap. A player one team may love to have would have zero chance of making a different team.
The Pirates have two open spots on their 40-man roster, so they can make a selection without making any other moves. Last year, they selected LHP Tyler Webb from the Yankees, but at the end of spring training they chose to keep Antonio Bastardo and sent Webb back to New York.
There are a handful of players whom the Pirates could conceivably lose, although the odds of any of them both getting selected and sticking in the majors for a year are probably very low. Most of these players appeared either at BA or MLB Pipeline as Rule 5 candidates:
RHP Tyler Eppler
RHP Montana DuRapau
LHP Jake Brentz
3B Eric Wood
IF Pablo Reyes
SS Adrian Valerio
Of this group, the most likely selections, to me, are probably Brentz and Reyes. BA added Brentz to its very long list of candidates at the last minute. He has major control issues, but he’s a lefty who hits 100 mph. Reyes does most everything pretty decently and can play second, short and center. He could probably be useful right now to a team that needed a non-zero-bat utility player.
Pirates take RHP Jordan Milbrath from Cleveland. As far as I can tell, he’s a complete nonentity. BA has nothing on him. He’s never made a prospect list. Originally a starter, he’s been a reliever the last two years. He split 2017 between high A and AA, with dominant numbers in the former and just decent numbers in the latter.
Pirates lose nobody in the major league phase.
In the minor league phase, the Pirates took RHP Damien Magnifico from the Angels. He got into one game for them last year, but struggled badly in AAA. In round 2, they took Tampa Bay catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He’s a low-level catcher, so he’ll probably be catching depth in short season ball somewhere.
Pirates lose nobody in the minor league phase.
The Pirates have acquired RHP Nick Burdi from the Phillies for international pool money: