Another offseason milestone was passed on Wednesday as the Rule 5 Draft was officially held at the Winter Meetings in Nashville. Hardly the most exciting part of the week, there was nonetheless some drama heading into it for Minnesota Twins fans wondering if any prospects would be lost to other teams.
Not sure what the Rule 5 Draft is? It's one of those baseball things that feels like a deep cut and makes you feel smart for knowing about.
Basically it's a draft where teams are allowed to minor league players who haven't been added to a 40-man roster before a certain date. Players who signed with a team at 19 years or older need to be added to the 40-man roster within four years, while any player who signed at 18 years or younger needs to be added within five.
If that doesn't happen, they can be essentially stolen by another team and given a second chance to catch on. Just because a player is eligible doesn't mean he's a bad player, as guys like Marwin Gonzalez, Darren O’Day, and Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. Shane Mack helped the Twins win a World Series in 1991 and came to the team as a Rule 5 draft pick in 1989.
What did the Twins do in the Rule 5 Draft this year?
One bit of drama around the Rule 5 Draft this year was whether the Twins would lose someone from their deeply talented farm system. The name everyone kept an eye on was DaShawn Keirsey, as the speed demon who doubles as an outfielder was left unprotected. Jose Salas, the 18-year-old infielder who was part of the Luis Arraez-Pablo Lopez deal was also left unprotected.
It turned out that the Twins didn't lose anyone. Keirsey, Salas, and guys like Aaron Sabato and Anthony Prato will remain in the minor league system. They will remain eligible to be selected next year, though, unless they are added to the 40-man roster before next November's deadline.
Minnesota didn't lose any players, but it did add a few from other teams. In total the Twins selected four prospects:
Florida Coast League
Angel Del Rosario
Update: Since all of these players were selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, none of them count against the Twins 40-man roster size.
Minnesota cleared some 40-man roster space last month to potentially add players now but mostly to protect players like Austin Martin, Jair Camargo, and Yunior Severino. Less enthusiastically, the Rule 5 Draft marks the only action the Twins have engaged in so far at the Winter Meetings, so take that for what it's worth.