The 2019 Rule 5 draft is upon us! Will the Blue Jays take advantage of the extra roster spot for the 2020 season? Or will they pass on taking someone to help bolster their club down the line? Here we go!
The Blue Jays didn’t make a selection in the major league phase Rule 5 draft, despite having the fifth pick, choosing to pass completely and not take a chance on anyone.
To refresh your memory, the Rule 5 draft is designed to prevent major league teams from hoarding talent in their minor league system. Teams pay a small fee to select a player who has either four years of minor league experience (players older than 18 when they signed their first contract) or five years of minor league experience (players 18 years old or younger when they signed their first contract) who is not protected on a team’s 40-man roster. That player then must remain on a major league 26-man roster or the injured list for the entire season (and be on the active roster for at least 90 days) or he can be offered back to his original team for half the price of the selection. If the team refuses, the player can be placed on waivers and if the player gets through waivers, he can be sent to the minors.
In the minor league phase, any player who isn’t on the major league (40-man) or Triple-A roster is eligible with no roster restrictions on the new team.
The Blue Jays lost right-hander Dany Jimenez to the San Francisco Giants. People were speculating that the hard-throwing righty could go in the Rule 5 draft and he was dominant in the minor leagues last year, really developing his offspeed pitch to go with a 95+ mph fastball. In New Hampshire, he had a 1.87 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, striking out 46 batters and walking 12 in 33 2/3 innings while striking out another 47 batters in 25 1/3 innings with Dunedin. Last year, San Francisco selected lefty Travis Bergen in the Rule 5 draft, another guy who was dominant in Double-A the previous year but Bergen was returned later in the season.
In the minor league portion of the draft, the Blue Jays selected right-handed pitcher Hobie Harris from the New York Yankees’ Tampa Tarpons (Advanced-A) affiliate. Harris is 26 years old and has pitched as high as Double-A but has spent most of his time in A-ball since 2015 and had a 4.62 ERA and 1.32 WHIP over 48 2/3 innings in Tampa in 2019, striking out 59 but walking 29. Brooks Baseball, which houses PITCHf/x data. He pitched in the 2018 Arizona Fall League and the data suggests that “his fourseam fastball [averaging 95 mph] generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers.” I have a feeling that the Trackman data tells the Blue Jays that he’s a guy with high spin rates and despite his more advanced age, he could be someone who could move quickly with good command and using the high-spin rate fastball more.
The Jays also lost Brock Stewart, who was picked up by the Blue Jays on waivers at the trade deadline in 2019, throwing 21 2/3 innings with Toronto and posting an 8.31 ERA and 1.57 WHIP, striking out 16 and walking six. Stewart was sent outright to Buffalo and then must have been moved to the Fisher Cats’ roster, making him eligible to be selected.
The Jays also lost Danny Young, a lefthanded pitcher who is a long-time minor league hurler for the Blue Jays. Young struggled in brief stint in Buffalo last year, posting a 7.27 ERA and 2.08 WHIP, stirking out 10 with six walks but he was much better with New Hampshire, getting 2.28 Ground ball outs per air out while tossing 40 1/3 innings with a 1.79 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, striking out 32 and walking 20. We wish Danny the best in his new organization.
Additionally, the Jays lost Jose Espada, a 22-year-old righty drafted out of high school in Puerto Rico. Espada didn’t pitch much in 2019 due to injuries but reached the Lansing Lugnuts, tossing 7 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits and a walk with nine strikeouts. Not a hard thrower, he earned praise in his debut for his pitchability and strike throwing, but his numbers have tailed off as he spent a year in Bluefield and two more in Vancouver although he did see a big increase in strikeouts in his second year in Vancouver in 2018 with 70 strikeouts in 59 innings.
If you like us here, like us on Facebook!
The 2019 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is available now! Visit the Handbook page for more information!
Now is a great time to subscribe to the Blue Jays from Away Premium Content Section!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2019) and may not be used without permission.