Free agency has taken over the baseball news cycle over the last few days, and despite the Minnesota Twins mostly taking that time off, the Rule 5 Draft also occurred yesterday, giving the team a chance to be a little more active.
The team passed on selecting a player during the major league phase of the draft, but they made picks in the first four rounds while seeing two players get selected by other organizations. With these new players, it’s time to break down the new additions and who was lost.
The Minnesota Twins added four players and lost two during the 2022 Rule 5 Draft.
The team’s first selection in the draft was outfielder Armani Smith. Smith, who was a seventh round pick in 2019 with the San Francisco Giants, is a very solid hitter who has also posted a .348 OPS while moving from Rookie Ball to Double-AA over the past three years.
He’s always struggled with strikeouts and doesn’t really offer a lot of power, but the team doesn’t have a lot of options in terms of outfield depth in the prospect ranks, so he’s an interesting pickup that can play corner outfield and a little first base.
In the second round, the team selected Yohander Martinez from the Houston Astros. Martinez burst onto the scene with a stellar year as a 17 year old but hasn’t really produced much since then, posting a .695 OPS.
The reason for optimism is similar to Smith though, as Martinez has a shown a keen eye at the plate, posting a .401 OPS over that time. He won’t ever hit for power, but there’s reason to hope the righty can keep posting those numbers as he advances. He’s still not even 21 yet, so there’s a lot of growth yet to occur.
In the third round, the team picked Yoyner Fajardo. Fajardo is cut from the similar mold as Martinez: infielder with good on-base skills and no power. The only difference is Fajardo is 23 and has good speed, stealing 64 bases in 238 games.
Their pick in the fourth round was the only pitcher the team drafted: right-hander Seth Nordlin. Drafted in the 13th Round in 20217, Nordlin looked very comfortable in his role as swingman reliever at Double-A. His first two Triple-A appearances didn’t go according to plan, but the freshly 25-year old can offer some depth to a team that always seems to need it.
On the flip side, the first person they lost was Bradley Hanner, picked up by the Cleveland Guardians late in the first round of the MiLB draft. Hanner, a 21st round pick in 2019, was hit hard last season but had some great strikeout numbers over 39 games in High-A.
The second pick was Ryan Shreve, taken with one of just six picks in the fourth round. Shreve has the best numbers of any players involved in the draft, but as a 24-year-old in High-A, he’s not a major loss.
Despite having several strong players left exposed, the Minnesota Twins were able to sneak by without losing any major players to the Rule 5, which is great news. Now, if they could just do something in free agency…