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Will the Cardinals make any selections in the Rule 5 Draft?

Here are a few players that should garner some interest in the Cardinals front office.

Could we stick it to Luhnow and pick off one of his prospects?
Could we stick it to Luhnow and pick off one of his prospects?

The Rule 5 Draft begins at 11:00 CST this morning and with the Cardinals currently sporting open spots on the 40 man roster there's at least the possibility that they could select a player.

Here's a quick summation of Rule 5 eligibility:

  • Only players not on a 40 man roster are eligible.
  • Players must have four years in the minor leagues if signed at age 19 or older and must have 5 years experience if signed at age 17 or 18.
  • The drafting team must have an open spot on their 40 man roster.
  • The drafting team must pay the team currently holding the player's rights $50,000 and keep the player on their 25 man roster for the ensuing season.  The player must also be active for at least 60 days, so you cannot draft an injured player and DL him for the entire season.
  • If the player is removed from the 25 man roster, the original team has first right of refusal to the player's rights for $25,000
  • Drafted players may be traded by the drafting team, but the roster implications still apply
There is also a AAA and AA phase of the draft that do not have 25 man active roster implications, but teams must place those players on their 40 man roster.

Here's a few players t he Cardinals might target:

Delino Deshields Jr., 2B/OF, Houston Astros

I was a bit surprised when the Astros left him unprotected, as he is a former first round pick and has moderately good production in the minor leagues.  Hit hit .236/.346/.360 in AA last year at age 21, played average defense at both 2B and the OF, and swiped 54 bases while being caught just 14 times.  He doesn't have the great contact skills his father, and former Cardinal, had, but he draws a fair amount of walks due to his above average approach and can steal a bag when you need him to.  If he didn't hit left handed, I'd think the Cardinals might really be in on him as a possible utility candidate, but his left handedness and his struggles with contact likely take him off the Cardinal shopping list.  Astros GM Jeff Luhnow doesn't think that DeShields will get drafted, most likely due to the fact that he just isn't ready for the big leagues quite yet.

Oscar Hernandez, C, Tampa Bay Rays

Here's what John Sickels had to say about Hernandez coming into 2014:

Oscar Hernandez, C, Grade C+: Excellent defensive reputation and scouts say he has a chance to hit despite .227/286/.364 line in the lower minors last year. Posted a 1.236 OPS in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2011; that was misleading, but at age 20 he has time to develop the offense and his defense will keep the Rays patient.
He proceeded to hit .249/.301/.401 in A ball last year which compares him awfully well with current Cardinal farm hand, and newly minted catcher, Carson Kelly.  He's still young and toolsy and might yet come around with the bat, but hard to make a case for a 40 man spot on a competitive organization for a guy who hasn't yet played above Class A.  A project, to be sure, and not one the Cardinals are likely to take a chance on given the three catchers on the 40 man roster already.

J.R. Graham, SP/RP, Atlanta Braves

Graham has one of the better fastballs in the minor leagues, a hard, sinking heater than can touch 100 mph in short stints (sound familiar El Gallo fans?) -- he gets a ton of ground ball outs with it but strikes out fewer than you might suppose (again, seems familiar, right?). Graham had a breakout year in 2012, was named the pitcher of the year in a Braves farm system that had a bevy of pitching talent in it at the time (Julio Teheran, Brandon Beachy, among others) then suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the entire 2013 season, despite being able to avoid surgery. There's a lot of upside here, especially as a reliever, but if he could get all the way back to 2012 form Graham is #3 starter material.

For a team that was likely going to use a 40 man spot for Tyrell Jenkins before trading him, it seems like Graham is a natural fit in the organization should they want to add another power arm to the stable the organization already has.


As for who the Cardinals might lose in the Rule 5?  John Mozeliak is on record stating that the Cardinals having anyone drafted is unlikely:

Color me a bit skeptical with young players with utility and exceptional talent such as Breyvic Valera are exposed.  I could see a club snapping up Valera, as he can play anywhere and is a good bat-to-ball hitter as a potential option for their utility man or even snagging Boone Whiting as a potential bullpen arm for a team that doesn't want to pay the exhorbitant market prices that middle relievers seem to be fetching.