Next week, top level executives from every Major League organization will congregate in Orlando, Florida for the Rule 5 Draft, which traditionally occurs at the end of the Baseball Winter Meetings. This year’s Rule 5 Draft will go down on December 9. As a quick refresher, here are the basics of the Rule 5 Draft:
- It is not the Amateur Draft, also known as the Rule 4 Draft, where high school, junior college, and juniors/seniors in 4-year universities are selected in the 50 round draft.
- To be eligible to be drafted, a player must not be on the 40-man roster and must have been in the organization for 4 years if signed at 19-years-old or older, or 5 years if signed at 18-years-old or younger.
- Triple-A players selected must be added to that team’s 40-man roster and kept on that team’s 25-man roster (and active for at least 90 days) for at least one full season. A team selecting a player must pay $50,000 that player’s former team a fee of $50,000. This is known as the Major League Phase.
- That player may be waived by the new team. If he clears waivers, the team that lost him in the Rule 5 draft has the option to take him back for a price of $25,000.
- Double-A players (or lower level) may be selected to play on a team’s Triple-A squad and Single-A players (or lower level) may be selected to play on a team’s Double-A squad.
The Rule 5 Draft is historically pitcher-heavy. Last year, 14 of the 17 players selected in the Major League Phase were pitchers; 8 were RHPs and 6 were LHPs. 15 of the 21 players taken in the Triple-A Phase were pitchers; 9 RHPs and 6 LHPs. All 4 players selected in the Double-A Phase were RHPs. The New York Mets and the Washington Nationals were very active in last year’s Rule 5 Draft. The Mets selected 6 and the Nationals selected 4 of the 42 total players taken.
Before you go ahead and discount the value of the Rule 5 Draft, realize the the draft is responsible for formerly changing the teams for the following players: Josh Hamilton, Dan Uggla, Joakim Soria, Carlos Monasterios, Darren O’Day, Jose Bautista, and Jay Gibbons.