The Rule 5 Draft is always a fun portion of the annual Winter Meetings. Players from all levels are up for grabs in hopes of making a team better.
This year’s draft, however, is one the Pittsburgh Pirates will want to forget.
In the MLB portion of the draft, the Pirates selected Jose Hernandez, a left-handed pitcher from the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the third overall pick. Hernandez made it as far as Double-A last season and throws anywhere between 94-96 miles per hour on his four-seam fastball.
The 24-year-old made it as far as Double A last season and posted a 4-4 record with a 3.32 ERA over the season.
Here is some footage of Jose Hernandez.— Kody Duncan (@KodyDuncanPGH) December 7, 2022
He can touch 99mph on his FB
Then, in a seemingly cruel twist of fate, the Cincinnati Reds selected catcher Blake Sabol from Pittsburgh with the following pick.
Sabol excelled with Altoona last season with a slash line of .281/.347/.486 and posted 14 home runs and 60 RBIs. Sabol’s future with the Pirates may have looked dim, due to fellow catchers Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis seemingly blocking him from getting time behind the plate, but he also played a decent outfield and could have provided a nice utility option for the Pirates in the future.
The funniest part of this pick? The Reds traded him to the San Francisco almost an hour later.
Blake Sabol hit his first Triple-A home run tonight! pic.twitter.com/M53cvUlRw5— Young Bucs (@YoungBucsPIT) September 3, 2022
In the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, other teams pretty much stripped the Pirates of their Single-A rosters. The following is a list of prospects who were taken in the first, second and third rounds:
- RHP Joelvis Del Rosario (A-) — Oakland A’s
- LHP Joe Jacques (AA) — Boston Red Sox
- RHP Wilkin Ramos (A-) — New York Mets
- RHP Domingo Gonzalez (AA) — Atlanta Braves
- RHP Austin Roberts (AA) — Miami Marlins
- OF Jared Oliva (AAA) — Los Angeles Angels
- LHP Trey McGough (AAA) — Baltimore Orioles
- RHP Emmanuel Mejia (AA) — Tampa Bay Rays
- RHP Christian Charle (A+) — Tampa Bay Rays
- RHP Peter Solomon (AAA) — Arizona Diamondbacks
- INF Yoyner Fajardo (A+) — Minnesota Twins
None of the prospects taken were part of the Pirates’ Top 30 list, but it still stings knowing that most of these guys could be a part of the future. One guy in particular is McGough. He doesn’t possess lightning-speed on his pitches, he’s posted a 10-6 in the minor leagues with a 3.31 ERA over 163.1 innings pitched.
Additionally, he played high school ball at Ferndale, about an hour and forty minutes away from PNC Park.
An interesting question was also brought up following the draft: could the Pirates have protected some of these guys? The answer: possibly.
I don't know what the Pirates were thinking with the minor league side of the Rule 5 draft, but when you protect only 31 players and have 38 spots for 40+ interesting names, this is what happens. Joelvis Del Rosario had no business being available on the minor league side— John Dreker (@JohnDreker) December 7, 2022
Ben Cherington now holds a duty to replenish these gaps, which he could do so with minor league free agents or promotions from rookie ball and other levels.