Atlanta Braves leave 36 players unprotected for Rule 5 Draft

Atlanta Braves General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Atlanta Braves General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Yesterday, the Atlanta Braves replaced three players on the 40-man roster with three players they wanted to protect from the Rule 5 Draft

After several 40 man roster moves on Tuesday, the Atlanta Braves system has 36 players eligible for selection, but the rules or the draft make it likely that few, if any, will leave,

Rules 5 rules

Baseball’s had some variation of the Rule 5 draft for over 120 years. The rule is designed to prevent teams from hoarding players at a lower level to prevent other teams from signing or acquiring them.

Rule 5 consists of separate drafts for the Major League and Minor League rosters. Players are eligible this year if they are not on their team’s 40-man roster, and

  • If they were 18 or younger and signed in 2018 or earlier, or
  • If they were 19 or older and signed in 2019 or earlier.

Players at every level of the minor league system are eligible for the Major League portion of the draft, but only players left off of their team’s offseason Triple-A roster are eligible for the minor-league bracket.

(If you know – or don’t care about – the restrictions, feel free to skip the next paragraph. I won’t tell anyone.)

The Major League half of the draft

In the Major League portion of the draft:

  • The team losing a player receive $100K.
  • Players selected must remain on the new club’s active roster for one full season.
    • A selected player cannot be sent to the minors without clearing waivers. If the player clears waivers, he must be offered back to their former club for $50,000.
    • The player’s new team may work out a trade to avoid the waiver process.
  • Players placed on the injured list must remain on the active roster for 90 days in the next season before the team may assign the contract to a minor league team without passing the player through waivers.
  • It’s possible to trade a selected Rule 5 player, but the team acquiring the player faces the same restrictions.

Players selected in the Minor League portion of the draft aren’t subject to the same roster rules as their Major League counterparts.

Eric wrote about the Braves’ roster moves yesterday, but which players did they leave unprotected?

Atlanta Braves AAA eligibles

According to Roster Resource, the Atlanta Braves have 14 players eligible In AAA, including one DFA, 10 more in AA, 9 in High-A, and three in A-ball. While the Atlanta Braves have a lot of names on the list, every team is in the same boat.

The players in the list played at least part of the season in AAA, and Roster Resource projects them to start 2023 at that level.

AAACJavier Valdes23.9
AAA1BDrew Lugbauer26.2
AAA2B/SS/1BCade Bunnell25.4
AAACF/2B/LFCody Milligan23.8
AAACF/RF/LFJustin Dean25.9
AAARF/1B/LFGreyson Jenista25.9
DFARPWilliam Woods23.9
AAASPNolan Kingham26.2
AAARPJustin Yeager24.8
AAARPVictor Vodnik23.1
AAARPIndigo Diaz24
AAARPHayden Deal28
AAARPJake Higginbotham26.8
AAARP/SPConnor Johnstone28.1

(Roster provided by Fangraphs)

William Woods is the only name that jumps out as having a chance to stick on an active roster.

I was surprised that the Braves DFA’d Woods: he was a mid-teens-ranked player in 2021 and had a cup of coffee in Atlanta this year. I could see a team like Oakland, Cincy, or the Rockies taking a shot at grabbing a hidden gem with Woods.

Big arms like Yeager and Diaz are on the list, but they don’t look ready for prime time. Diaz has a big 2021 but lost command this year, making him a risky bet.

Braves AA eligibles

The story is much the same at AA. Clouse and Hernandez haven’t pitched lately, and none of the everyday players have an OPS worth mentioning.

AA3B/2B/SSBeau Philip24
AALF/RFWillie Carter25.5
AACF/RF/LFDrew Campbell25
AASPAllan Winans27.2
AASPLuis De Avila21.4
AASP/RPTanner Gordon25
AARPAlex Segal24.6
AARPDaysbel Hernández26.1
AARPAlec Barger24.6
AARPBenjamin Dum26.1

Alex Segal and Alec Barger have interesting stats, but they compiled those numbers at lower levels, and it’s a stretch to think either is the next Garrett Whitlock (2020) or Brad Keller (2017) right now, and most teams have similar questions on their list.

The Minor League portion of the draft is hard to predict, and I haven’t seen an updated roster that suggests the Atlanta Braves moved anyone to the AAA roster to protect them. But everyone likes a list, so here it is.

A+1B/RFBraulio Vasquez23.5
A+LF/RFBrandon Parker23.4
A+RF/CF/LFBrandol Mezquita21.3
ASS/3B/2BFrancisco Floyd20.4
A+SPLuis Vargas20.5
A+SPJordano Perez22.1
A+RPTrey Riley24.5
A+RPMiguel Pena23.9
A+RPRonaldo Alesandro24.5
A+RPJames Acuna25.1
ASPRainiery Rodriguez22.2
ASPJorge Bautista21.9

That’s a wrap

The Atlanta Braves signed 69 players combined in the 2018 and 2019 Amateur Drafts, but only nine were high school players. Then the 2020 Minor League season vanished, and those players lost a year of development time.

Is he related to Carlos?. dark. Next

Teams must have an open roster spot to select a player during the Rule 5 draft. The Braves’ roster is full at the moment, and I don’t expect that to change. There’s nowhere to hide an underperforming player on a championship team unless, of course, he has a huge, untradeable contract.