Getting the Atlanta Braves Roster Ready For The Rule Five Draft

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Rule 55: The Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent

Rule 55 free agents – commonly called or six-year free agents – are, as noted, another special case. Here’s the criteria for Rule 55 free agency.

A player is a Rule 55 free-agent five days after the World Series ends at 5 PM (Eastern) if:

  • The player had his first contract renewed six times and has spent all or any part of at least seven separate seasons on a minor league roster and/or
  • The player has been previously released or non-tendered in his career and his present contract has expired.

As it relates to this rule a player is not credited with a minor league year if:

  • The Player spends the entire season on an MLB Active List, MLB Disabled List(s), and/or other MLB Inactive List, or
  • The player spends an entire season on the Restricted List, Disqualified List, Suspended List, Ineligible List, Voluntarily Retired List, and/or Military List.

Taking part in the AZL, or winter league ball doesn’t count as a minor league season.

Got all that? Good there will be a test later…open book. . . So with those things in mind off we go into eligibility.


Here’s a list of players I believe are Rule 55 free agents and would have to be signed back to be protected.

Player Pos Lvl
Willians Astudillo C AA
Carlos Franco 3B AA
Ryan Gebhardt INF A+
Sean Kazmar SS AAA
Steve Kent LHP AA
Emerson Landoni 2B AAA
Victor Mateo RHP AA
Jimmy Moran RHP A+
Jordan Pacheco 1B AAA
Braeden Schlehuber C AAA
Luis Valenzuela SS A+
Rob Wooten RHP AAA

Aside from Max Fried, players below AA are unlikely Rule 5 claims as they have to be on an active roster all year. Those players can be protected from the later phases through addition to a minor league reserve list.

Below is a list of the players I see as at risk. The table includes midyear prospect rankings from various sources including our list of course.

Max Fried LHP A 11 8 9 6
Lucas Sims RHP AA 14 10 11
Rio Ruiz 3B AAA 15 12
Joey Meneses OF/1B AA 16
Joseph Odom C AA 25
Connor Lien OF AA 10 37
Johan Camargo 2B AA 41
Steve Janas RHP AAA 48
Reed Harper SS AA
Levi Hyams 1B AA
Matt Lipka OF AAA
David Peterson RHP AA
Jake Schrader 1B AA

(Note:The BA and BP midseason lists only rank the their top ten players thus not having a rank in their column doesn’t mean they aren’t prospects just not top ten prospects.)

Several names jump off the list as ranked players whose protect is assured;  Fried, Sims, and Ruiz. Others like Janas, Lien and Dave Peterson are also likely to earn protection and a case can be made for Camargo, Odom and Meneses.

Alan suggested protecting Lipka in an earlier post but he seems in the same category as Cunningham. For that reason I doubt he’s added.

That’s a Wrap

The roster isn’t as jammed up as was once thought. Admittedly determining who is Rule 5 eligible is confused by the Rule 55 free agent issue. I asked the folks at Roster Resource and they indicated they have the same issues so I don’t feel so bad.

Next: GCL Braves End fo Season Report

The roster is also more of a moving target than I expected this far into September. The AJ saga and odd addition of Lalli so late forced a rewrite this morning. He is however a free agent after the year so in the long run it made no difference to the final list.

I polled the writers here for there must save guys and found most were covered in this list. Teams willing to carry an A ball player for a year might grab Bird or Parsons but that’s unlikely. I’m sure you all have opinions; let’s hear them.