Rule 5 Targets - Miami Marlins

Marlins relief pitcher Steve Ames. - Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With the Rule 5 draft coming up, lets take a look at players left off their respective 40-man rosters and are eligible for the draft.

Continuing our series of Rule 5 Draft Targets, I am taking my talents to South Beach to take a look at the Miami Marlins. For a primer on the workings of the Rule 5 draft, please look at the previous post in the series featuring the Atlanta Braves for the particulars and examples of who would be eligible and who would not. Again, only players in full season leagues will be considered for this exercise.

Protected MiLB Players

Right Handed Pitchers (Highest level achieved in parenthesis)

  • RP Arquimedes Caminero (MLB)
  • RP Michael Brady (AA)
  • RP Sam Dyson (MLB)
  • SP Angel Sanchez (A+)
  • SP Jose Urena (A+)

Left Handed Pitchers

  • SP Brian Flynn (MLB)
  • RP Grant Dayton (AA)
  • RP Edgar Olmos (MLB)

Infielders/Catchers

  • C JT Realmuto (AA)
  • C Kyle Skipworth (MLB)

Outfielders

  • LF Kyle Jensen (AAA)
  • LF Brent Keys (AA)

Unprotected MiLB Players

For the Rule 5 eligible players, I'd like to go team-by-team through their system to look at players with the potential to be picked. I'll start with the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs and work my way down the ladder.

AAA New Orleans Zephyrs

Pitchers

  • RHP Steve Ames
  • LHP James Leverton
  • RHSP Elih Villanueva

Hitters

  • CF Kevin Mattison
  • LF Alfredo Silverio

Surprisingly Steve Ames was left off the 40-man roster after being a key piece in the Ricky Nolasco trade this past June. Ames was a 17th round pick in 2009 and features a low-90's fastball, a pair of breaking balls and a show-me change. His slider and curve are inconsistent but he has excellent control. That is until this year. In his first shot at AAA in his age 25 season, all of his rate stats went the wrong direction. His K/9 dropped from 10.2 to 6.6, his BB/9 went from 1.8 to 3.3, and his H/9 went from 7.4 to 11.5. These are some pretty drastic changes that must have scared away the Marlins front office. He is almost guaranteed to be selected as he could fit into a middle relief role immediately with closer potential. The lone left hander, James Leverton, turned in a great season after a rough start in AA. The 6'2 180 lb southpaw was originally drafted by the Cubs in the 8th round of the 2008 draft from Texas Tech. After just three years with Chicago where he reached AA, he was cut loose in April of 2011 and was picked out of the Independent Can-Am Association by the Marlins that August. This year he posted a combined 3.57 ERA between AA and AAA with 8.5 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 6.5 H/9 and limited lefties to a .165 average and .517 OPS. He throws a low-90's fastball and a slider from a low 3/4 arm slot. He has LOOGY potential and that is always in demand, so I expect him to be selected as well.

Elih Villanueva looked like he could be something after a great 2010 in AA, but he's stalled since. A former 17th round pick out of Florida State in 2008, he's a soft tosser that can start but was injured for a good bit of last year and will be 27 years old. There could be better finds for a swingman/mop-up type role.  I'm on the fence with Kevin Mattison as he could be a 4th outfielder/pinch runner type that can handle center with good speed, a little pop and a ton of swing and miss. The lefty swinger and thrower had a two week cup of coffee in 2012 but strikes out entirely too much for a guy with his profile (283 K's in last two years at AAA). His mustache would fit in well in Oakland. Alfredo Silvero is a long shot seeing as he hasn't hit the field since 2011 and had a gruesome leg injury he's been trying to work his way back from. Unfortunately, most of his previous value was tied to his legs (speed, OF defense).

AA Jacksonville Suns

Pitchers

  • RHP Pete Andrelczyk
  • RHSP Bryan Evans
  • RHSP Matt Montgomery

Hitters

  • C Taylor Krick
  • 2B Luis Ortiz
  • CF Isaac Galloway

The only player here for sure getting picked is Bryan Evans. The 6'3 205 lb right hander was a 14th round pick in 2008 out of UC Davis in California and spent the past season starting 11 games and coming on in relief 10 times. He had a 3.32 ERA in his age 26 season with 81 strike outs to just 7 walks in 78.2 innings. Coming strictly out of the bullpen he was money, striking out 24 to one walk in 19 innings with just 16 hits allowed. He's got a fastball that scrapes 90, an inconsistent curve that flashes plus and an average change up. There's sure to be a team willing to take a flyer on a swingman or mop-up guy with impeccable control.

I'm pretty sure Matt Montgomery can be scratched off. He's only thrown 5.2 innings in the last 2 seasons. Another guy I'm on the fence with is Pete Andrelczyk. The 6'1 185 pound right hander was a 5th round pick in 2008 out of Coastal Carolina, and had a great 2011 where he posted a 2.26 ERA over 71.2 innings and did well in the AFL. He missed just about all of 2012 to an injury and came back effective against much younger competition. He's a sinker/slider guy with the sinker in the low 90's and the slider in the low to mid 80's. Luis Ortiz has youth on his side coming into his age 22 season but he still hasn't seen a pitch in full season ball despite being listed on the AA roster and offers little in the way of power. I can't imagine a team trying to stash him on a major league roster as a back up middle infielder. Catcher Taylor Krick has been a back-up the majority of his career, even after a solid 2012 where he hit .293/.403/.361 in 88 games. He fell off this past year hitting .257/.371/.343 and only catching 3 of 30 attempted base thieves with 4 passed balls, and 3 errors in 27 games. Safe to say he's a very unlikely selection. Outfielder Isaac Galloway is just as unlikely with no plate discipline to speak of (57 walks in 1,695 career AB), and limited power. He does have speed and can handle center but hit just .173 in his 37 games at AA.

A+ Jupiter Hammerheads

Pitchers

  • RHP Miguel Fermin
  • RHP Joseph O'Gara

Hitters

  • 2B Terrence Dayleg

As a converted catcher, Miguel Fermin has only been on the other side of the battery for two seasons. Coming into his age 29 season, he showed good control and racked up strike outs this past season in A ball but is still way too raw to be considered for the Rule 5. 6'7 right hander Joseph O'Gara was a 31st round pick in 2009 from University of Indiana-Bloomington but has only thrown 21.2 innings the past two seasons. His 2012 season ended 5 days after opening day with an injury and in 2013 he only managed 7 appearances in a month. Even before the injuries he wasn't a hot ticket item so I highly doubt he will be taken. The same can be said for second baseman Terrence Dayleg. The former 22nd round pick out of Western Kentucky in 2009, Dayleg has stalled at High A Jupiter, spending parts of three seasons there. He also missed practically the entire 2013 season with a knee injury.

A Greensboro Grasshoppers

Pitchers

  • RHP Jheyson Manzueta

Hitters

  • CF Juancito Martinez

After being signed as an international free agent in November of 2007, Jheyson Manzueta tried starting but was not able to limit enough damage and work deep into games. A move to the pen last year helped him quite a bit as his ERA dropped over 5 runs, albeit after a demotion to the short season New York-Penn league. He was solid out of the pen for Greensboro this past season but it would be a major reach for any team to stash him for a year. Center fielder Juancito Martinez has a very similar profile to Isaac Galloway only Martinez has not advanced as far, topping out at 60 games with Greensboro this year. He's got speed, solid defense in center, but is a total hacker at the plate and does not make enough contact against lower level pitching. He's definitely not in any sort of consideration to be selected


Targets

All in all, it looks like 16 players are eligible but just three are likely to be picked; right handed starter Bryan Evans, right handed reliever Steve Ames and southpaw reliever James Leverton. Ames is the most likely of the three with Leverton second most and Evans bringing up the rear. The more I think about it, the more shocked I am that the Marlins front office would leave Ames unprotected, but that's up to them.

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