Cubs 2016 Rule 5 Draft Watch List

As things stand right now...

CF Albert Almora Jr (Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick), RHSP Duane Underwood Jr (Cubs 2012 2nd round draft pick), RHRP Armando Rivero (ex-Serie Nacional closer who received a $3M+ bonus iwhen he signed with the Cubs in 2013) , LHSP Rob Zastryzny (Cubs 2013 2nd round draft pick), and switch-hitting C-1B-3B Victor Caratini (a Braves Top 10 Prospect acquired by the Cubs in a 2014 trade deadline deal for LHRP James Russell and IF-OF Emilio Bonifacio) are probably the five most-noteworthy Cubs minor leaguers who will be first-time eligible for the Rule 5 Draft post-2016, but (as with Willson Contreras and Jeimer Candelariio in 2015), others (perhaps OF Jake Hannemann, RHSP Tyler Skulina, and/or RHSP Paul Blackburn) could enter the picture during the course of the 2016 season. 

In addition, RHSPs like Daury Torrez and Jonathan Martinez will likely have had a year of AA under their belts by the end of the 2016 season, and so they very well could be more-likely to get protected on the "40," because they would probably be more-likely to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft post-2016 than they were post-2015. 

And fireballin' RHRP Corey Black (who basically pitched-himself out of the Cubs MLB 40-man roster pisture post-2015 with an atrocious performance in the AFL following a mediocre 2015 season) could pitch himself back into the picture with a strong 2016 season. 

"Five-tool" OF Jeffrey Baez will (once again) be eligible for selection in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, but unless he establishes himself in AA in 2016, I doubt that the Cubs would add him to the 40 post-2016, because he would still be unlikely to get selected (and even if he were to be selected, it would be difficult for the claiming club to keep him on their MLB 25-man roster for an entire season).  

Then there are the 30 players (6YFA and second-contract players) who are eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2016 (like RHSP Felix Pena, RHRP Starling Peralta, and C-INF Gioskar Amaya) and who could just walk away if the player is not added to the MLB 40-man roster or signed to a 2017 minor league successor contract by 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the last game of the 2016 World Series (and if the player signs a 2017 minor league successor contract, he would then become eligible for selection in the 2016 Rule 4 Draft). 

What's really intetresting about the 2016 Rule 5 Draft as far as the Cubs are concerned is that (at present) 73 Cubs minor leaguers (NOT counting the 30+ potential post-2016 minor league free-agents who could sign 2017 minor league successor contracts post-2016) are eligible for selection in the December 2016 Rule 5 Draft, and at most 38 (the AAA Reserve List limit, and actually probably more like 32 or 33, to leave slots open for players the Cubs might want to select in the AAA Phase, as well as for free-agents signed to minor league contracts or players outrighted to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft)  will actually be placed on the AAA Iowa Reserve List on 11/20, making upwards of 40 players (and likely some fairly decent ones, too) eligible for selection in the AAA Phase of the Draft.

As you may recall, the Cubs lost no players in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft this year, but they did lose four in the AAA Phase, and the most noteworthy player lost by the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft in recent years (1B Justin Bour)  was selected in the AAA Phase post-2013.

That's the problem the Cubs have right now..., a very deep farm systtem, but only a maximum of 38 slots available on their AAA affiliate's reserve list to keep decent prospects from getting selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (where there are no roster restrictions for the claiming club, and no right to re-claim by the player's former club). 

Albert Almora Jr, OF
John Andreoli, OF
Pedro Araujo, RHP
Jeffrey Baez, OF
Yasiel Balaguert, 1B-OF
Harrinson Bermudez, RHP
Corey Black, RHP
Paul Blackburn RHP
David Bote, INF
Matt Brazis, RHP
Cael Brockmeyer, C
Kevin Brown, OF
Stephen Bruno, INF 
Victor Caratini, C
Ben Carhart, INF-C
Roberto Caro, OF
Erick Castillo, C
Jesus Castillo, RHP 
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs)
Josh Conway, RHP
Rashad Crawford, OF
Taylor Davis, C
Andin Diaz, LHP
Shawon Dunston Jr, OF
Greyfer Eregua, RHP
Luiz Escanio, RHP
Bryant Flete, INF
P. J. Francescon, RHP
Scott Frazier, RHP
Robert Garcia, OF 
David Garner, RHP
Jordan Hankins, C-INF
Jake Hannemann, OF
Luis Hernandez, RHP 
Corbin Hoffner, RHP
Tyler Ihrig, LHP
Michael Jensen, RHP
Erick Leal, RHP
Danny Lockhart, INF
Mark Malave, RHP (ex-C)
Dillon Maples, RHP
Ricardo Marcano, OF
Trey Martin, OF
Jonathan Martinez, RHP
Trey Masek, RHP 
Ryan McNeil, RHP
Alberto Mineo, C
Jose Morel, RHP 
Yomar Morel, RHP
Yoanner Negrin, RHP
Jose Paniagua, 1B-OF
Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP 
Adonis Paula, 3B 
Jose Paulino, LHP 
Carlos Penalver, SS
Steve Perakslis, RHP
Chris Pieters, OF-1B (ex-LHP)
James Pugliese, RHP 
Bijan Rademacher, OF
Jasvir Rakkar, RHP
Will Remillard, C
Armando Rivero, RHP 
Carlos Rodriguez, LHP
Jacob Rogers, 1B
Alexander Santana, RHP 
Tayler Scott, RHP
Tyler Skulina, RHP
Daury Torrez, RHP
Duane Underwood Jr, RHP
Dilson Vasquez, RHP
Michael Wagner, RHP 
Sam Wilson, LHP 
Rob Zastryzny, LHP

Additionallyany player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent (6YFA) post-2016 who signs a 2017 minor league contract or a 2017 minor league successor contract prior to the December 2016 Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection, and any player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 Second Contract Minor League Free-Agent post-2016 who signs a 2017 minor league contract or a 2017 minor league successor contract prior to the December 2016 Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season. 

Gioskar Amaya, INF-C
Jeffry Antigua, LHP
Scott Barnes, LHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs) 
Frank Batista, RHP
Blake Cooper, RHP
Fernando Cruz, RHP
Luis Cruz, LHP
Ryan Dent, INF
Kelly Dugan, 1B-OF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs)
Kevin Encarnacion, OF 
Stephen Fife, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs) 
David Freitas, C 
Anthony Giansanti, IF-OF 
Brandon Gomes, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs) 
Jesus Loya, OF
Jean Machi, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs) 
Mike O’Neill, OF
Luis Parra, LHP
Felix Pena, RHP 
Starling Peralta, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs)
Juan Carlos Perez, OF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs)
Jose Rosario, RHP
Logan Watkins, INF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs)

Luis Aquino, RHP (previously released by CLE)
Jesus Arias, RHP (previously released by CLE)
Jack Leathersich, LHP (previously non-tendered by CUBS)
Miguel Mejia, RHP (previously released by DET)
Drew Rucinski, RHP (previously released by CLE) 
Roberto Vahlis, C (previously released by TOR)
NOTE: RHP Miguel Estevez (previously released by CIN) is a Rule 55 Second Contract Player, but he is not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft.    


It's very possible that there will be changes made to MLB Rule 5 and the Rule 5 Draft that will coincide with the next CBA (the current one expires after the 2016 season), but unless a new CBA is signed early, it's unlikely that any change in the rule would take effect before December 2017. 

Possible changes: 

1. Increase in MLB Rule 5 Draft price to $100K for players selected in the Major League Phase (with re-claim fee remaining at $25K), and an increase in Rule 5 Draft price in AAA Phase to $25K. 

2. Eliminate the AA Phase, leaving just two phases (the Major League Phase for players on minor league reserve lists, and a AAA Phase for players on minor league reserve lists below AAA). 

3. For players selected in the Major League Phase, the claiming club can option the drafted player to the minors after the player spends 90 days on the claiming club's MLB Active List (25-man roster), such that the player would not have to spend an entire MLB season on the drafting club's MLB Active List and/or MLB DL before Rule 5 restrictions are removed. 

4. A player who is 15 or 16 on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract would be eligible for selection beginning with the 6th Rule 5 Draft following the player's first qualified season if the player is Signed for Future Service (delaying the player's Rule 5 Draft eligibility for an additional season). 

Those would be some interesting changes that make sense.

I forgot about Caratini, assuming Caratini stays behind the plate he makes good sense. Ross will be gone, and Montero only 1 year left on contract, Contreras could be the back up to Montero and/or Schwarber (if he stays at C), leaving room for Caratini to sit at Iowa and get cups of coffee in Chicago as needed here and there. It'd just be a shame to lose a former 1st rd pick in Blackburn before finding out what he could be. That's where the being cautious with young SP innings and pitch counts especially the year they were drafted really comes back to bite you in the end.

i know some people in the org keep playing that "schwarber will catch" line, but i would be shocked to see him get into double digits for starts behind the plate...heck, i wouldn't be shocked if that number was 0. he's almost everything you don't want out of a catcher aside from receiving stuff thrown close to his glove. his ability to get a throw off and blocking anything that's not in front of him is really cruddy.

How about just the ability to catch? He dropped fastball strikes

One of the things I believe completely without evidence (one way or the other) is: if you want someone to hit worse, move them to catcher. I'd hate for the Cubs to fart around for the next three years finding out Schwarber can't/shouldn't catch at MLB level and limit his bat in the meantime. It's too damn much fun watching him hit. And jog 360.

Agree Catching is up there with QB for hardest sports position. Playing left field is comparable with long snapping.

People seem to overlook that the easiest thing to find is a left fielder who can hit. (Adam Dunn is the prototype of a one-way player that you could hide, sort of, in left field.) The hardest thing to find is a catcher who can hit. So the Cubs obviously would like Schwarber to succeed behind the plate. Why else would they keep talking about it? It looks like there were three season-long catchers under Epstein at Boston: Varitek, Victor Martinez and Saltalamacchia. Was any of them better than about league-average defensively? Saltalamacchia had a ridiculous 26 passed balls for Boston in 2011. Varitek led the league in passed balls twice. Varitek could throw out runners, but the other two couldn't. The Cubs don't care about that. They couldn't show the strong-armed Welly Castillo the door fast enough. I think the rule that is in force is this: put a player in the hardest position that he can play well. Bryant looks to be succeeding at third. (I think most people predicted he would not succeed.) Schwarber may not succeed at catcher but they would like him to.

No knuckle ballers on Cubs.(Wakefield) They are just keeping the catcher thing out their so in case another MLB org wants to knock their socks off for a trade. Bryant or Schwarber will be at first or left in future, don't get too attached to Rizzo if those two pan out the way they are suppose to.

Good point about Wakefield. The ideas about trading Rizzo, dangling Schwarber, and moving Bryant to first--not so good. You don't build a team by moving a guy to 1B when he handles 3B well and is reputed to be a good OF'er. Just because he's tall? You get an extra slugger in the lineup by not moving Bryant, just like you get an extra slugger by letting Schwarber catch. Life would have been easier for Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen and Cal Ripken--all listed at 6'4--if they had moved to first base early in their careers. Maybe they would have bulked up and hit a few more homers and made their agents happier. But it would have been at the expense of their teams. The people who calculate WAR know that the position a guy plays goes to the bottom line: wins.

Bryant is more Troy Glaus in stature than the great yous mentioned. Needs to bend more at the knees or he will end up like Glaus.

Based on the Bryant/Rizzo comments, I recommend you stick to comedy.

Rizzo is not only a player Theo and Jed traded for multiple times in a show of loyalty not born out by #s, he's also a player who signed a team friendly contract in a way Bryant is doubtful to do. Plus he is by all accounts the team leader and a great all around chemistry guy who does a lot for the community, all traits Theo and Madden love. Plus he's a better defender there than either Bryant or Schwarber would be and he's a contact guy with the bat. I would be highly surprised if he is traded unless they were completely blown away with an offer.

In a couple of years Dylan Cease will really be tough to judge. Having TJS costing him not only his draft year and basically all of his next rehabbing

Javy Baez with a 2-4 night at SS. 3 run HR, 4 RBI, 2K's and now has his average up to .250

.306/.375/.847 over his last 10 games. Starting to hit with some power -- 3 doubles and a HR in his last 5 games.