The 2012 MLB Rule 5 draft begins at 10 AM Eastern time. We will update and analyze the results here for you when the time arrives. In the meantime, here is a discussion thread for you.
The Rule 5 draft is not as interesting as it used to be, thanks to the rule change back in 2006 that added a year to each minor league player's eligibility clock. Players who signed at age 18 or younger get five years in the minors before they are eligible. This would include most high school and international signees. Players age 19 or older when they sign get four years, which would account for most college prospects.
Thanks to this rules change, there aren't many Johan Santanas (who was chosen by the Twins under Rule 5 back in 1999) left for teams to pick through, and even Joakim Sorias (selected by the Royals in 2006) are hard to come by.
Here are five possible names to watch:
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Cleveland Indians: A power-hitting right-handed first baseman, age 22, knocked 15 homers this year between High-A and Double-A. His name comes up frequently when Rule 5 is discussed, but finding an open slot for a right-handed-hitting first baseman might not be easy.
Ryan Chaffee, RHP, Los Angeles Angels: Age 24, owns a low-90s fastball and a decent slider, put up strong numbers this year with 84 strikeouts in 66 innings and a 2.60 ERA between High-A and Double-A. He has a good sabermetric case and there's nothing wrong with his stuff. He seems like he could help several teams in the bullpen.
Marcus Hatley, RHP, Chicago Cubs: Age 24, the 6-5, 220 pound right-hander owns a mid-90s fastball and a breaking ball with movement, but has been held back by command issues. He posted a 3.40 ERA with a 46/20 K/BB in 45 innings in Double-A. His ERA in Triple-A was ugly at 8.22 due to a few bad outings, but he whiffed 18 in 15 innings and held right-handed hitters to a .105 average.
Braulio Lara, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays: 23-year-old southpaw with a mid-90s fastball and a fair slider, got knocked around in High-A (5.71 ERA, 82/58 K/BB in 112 innings, 123 hits) but has one of the best pure arms available. Someone might stash him in a pen.
Carlos Perez, LHP, Atlanta Braves: A hot prospect a couple of years ago, Perez has pitched poorly in Low-A but fanned 50 in just 31 innings this year in the Appy League and is still just 21. Like Lara, he has arm strength that someone might want to work with.
UPDATE: Real Rule 5 RESULTS AND SCOUTING SUMMMARIES