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).
CUBS MINOR LEAGUERS ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN DECEMBER 2016 RULE 5 DRAFT (last updated 12-23-2015):
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
Additionally, any 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.
POST-2016 RULE 55 SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FA:
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)
2016 MLB RULE 55 SECOND CONTRACT PLAYERS :
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.
crunch 11 hours 49 min ago (view)
minor league baseball has to provide housing for minor leaguers starting 2022 (paid for by MLB parent clubs). this is HUGE news and will make it possible for guys to stick around longer without having to quit the game just to earn a basic living. for minor league players working in expensive housing markets this is a life saver.
activist players from the OAK and LAA minor league teams as well as minor league player labor advocacy organizations were a huge part of making this happen. good work.
bradsbeard 15 hours 31 min ago (view)
Did you have any occasion to observe Pedro Ramirez? Not sure if he got into any games or not (now that I think of it, you wrote up at least one game he played in).
Arizona Phil 20 hours 45 min ago (view)
azbobbop: Certainly LHSPs Drew Gray and Luke Little have emerged as legit significant high-end SP prospects. RHSP Luis Devers has probably displaced Koen Moreno as the top "pitchability" SP prospect in the lower levels of the Cubs system. Tyler Schlaffer (another "pitchability" guy) also had an impressive Instructs, although Devers is a better SP prospect because he has a solid three-pitch mix and knows how to use it, while Schlaffer has just the 92-94 FB & CV (although both are solid offerngs) and isn't as polished as Devers is.
Hagsag 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
This is the first time I have heard about the four month program in November.
azbobbop 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
Phil, now that instructional scare finished, which players impressed you the most and who are disappointments.
tim815 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
Cool. Should help his trade value if the bat plays.
Arizona Phil 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
TIM: Peter Matt looks very comfortable at 3B. He is a classic "four-corner" guy (1B-3B-LF-RF).
Arizona Phil 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
KKvG: I strongly suspect Koen Moreno's outing was more about getting out on the mound and throwing in a game than anything. He did get several swings & misses from his CH (which is a plus-pitch), and he uses his low 90's FB to set-up the CH.
I didn't see any breaking balls, although it's possible I might have mistaken a CH for one.
Koen Moreno is what scouts call a "pitchability" guy. Nothing wrong with that, BTW. MLB starting rotations are full of pitchers like that.
Arizona Phil 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
Childersb3: Not much bat speed. Just "lug-power." I actually like Matt Mervis better.
Hagsag 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
Thanks wrigley rat.
Wrigley Rat 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
HAGSAG - Not Phil, but I think this info was from him in the past:
RHP/OF (signed as a two-way player - seems to be sticking with hitting for now), R/R, 5'11 180, Age 18, SPAIN
Childersb3 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
Does Bryce Ball have any real bat speed, or is he just a big guy that waves at the ball and makes contact 1of5 times?
Hagsag 2 days 3 hours ago (view)
Phil, tell me about Frank Fernandez.
tim815 2 days 10 hours ago (view)
If Matt is "not horrible" at third, that could be useful.
crunch 3 days 10 hours ago (view)
bonds got a standing-O after being introduced between innings at LAD @ SF.
as he sat down, dude looked extremely genuinely happy to hear the park errupt in cheers for him again.
it's not his first time back, nor his first set of cheers, but the park is packed and loud.
Cubster 4 days 10 hours ago (view)
Jed's GM search wrapping up, and the winner is: (Athletic write up): 37 yr old "Carter Hawkins, Cleveland assistant general manager, deals with all aspects of baseball operations in a front office admired for its stability, creativity in turning over the roster and ability to keep churning out pitchers.