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2016 MLB Rule 5 draft: Major League phase profiles

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Josh Rutledge
Josh Rutledge
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Here are profiles for all players picked in the major league portion of the 2016 MLB Rule 5 Draft. Players selected in the minor league phase of the draft will follow in a separate article.

2016 MLB Rule 5 Draft results and profiles

1. Twins: Miguel Diaz, RHP, Brewers (traded to Padres): Diaz was originally signed by the Milwaukee Brewers out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. His development was initially slowed by control problems and an elbow injury but he earned notice in 2016 by posting a 3.71 ERA with a 91/29 K/BB in 95 innings for Wisconsin in the Low-A Midwest League, featuring a fastball up to 94-95 MPH and a slider which flashes plus. Age 22, he has a fair chance to stick in the back end of the Padres bullpen.

2. Reds: Luis Torrens, C, Yankees (traded to Padres): Torrens is from Venezuela and was signed by the New York Yankees as a free agent back in 2012 for $1,300,000. At the time he was viewed as having above-average potential on both offense and defense but a significant shoulder injury hampered his progress. He was limited to 52 games in 2016, hitting a combined .250/.350/.337 in 184 at-bats between the New York-Penn and South Atlantic Leagues. He has not tapped his power yet but has shown good plate discipline and threw out 40% of runners trying to steal this year, although he is vulnerable to giving up passed balls and needs to improve his receiving. Age 20, he needs playing time more than anything and it may be difficult for him to stick on the Padres bench without hurting his development.

3. Padres: Allen Cordoba, SS, Cardinals: Cordoba is from Panama and was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. Both his 2015 (.342/.401/.421) and 2016 (.362/.427/.495) seasons were highly successful, although he has yet to play at any level higher than the Appalachian League. Cordoba features impressive tools including a strong throwing arm, shortstop-quality range, and better-than-average speed. He uses that speed very well, swiping 33 bases in 40 attempts over the last two years, and also does a good job making contact and controlling the strike zone. The main concerns here are lack of power and his birthday: he’s already 21 and the Cardinals promoted him quite slowly despite his strong performance. Like Torrens, he needs to play and it remains to be seen if the Padres can keep him on the roster without harming his career.

4. Rays: Kevin Gadea, RHP, Mariners:
Gadea is from Nicaragua and was signed by the Mariners as a free agent back in 2012. He has performed very well at the lower levels, posting a 2.64 ERA in 225 career innings including a 2.15 ERA in 50 innings this past season for Clinton in the Low-A Midwest League, with a sharp 72/11 K/BB. Gadea is a 6-5, 190 pound right-hander, age 22, featuring a low-90s fastball, a solid-average breaking ball, and sharp control. He is a very intriguing sleeper prospect and should not be under-estimated.

5. Braves: Armando Rivero, RHP, Cubs:
Rivero is a Cuban right-hander, signed by the Chicago Cubs back in 2013. He has spent the last two years pitching in the bullpen for the Iowa Cubs in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and has been quite successful, posting a 2.13 ERA with a 105/35 K/BB in 68 innings in ’16, allowing just 41 hits. Listed at 6-4, 190, Rivero is older than most Rule 5 picks at age 28 due to his Cuban background but has nothing left to prove in Triple-A and is ready for a trial. His fastball runs in at 93-97 MPH and both his slider and splitter are strikeout pitches. His control is inconsistent, but he seems like a good bet to stick in the bullpen.

7. D-backs: Tyler Jones, RHP, Yankees:
Tyler Jones was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 11th round in 2011 from Louisiana State University. Signed by the Yankees as a free agent last year, he had a successful 2016 season for Double-A Trenton with a 2.17 ERA and a 67/11 K/BB in 46 innings, saving 11 games in 13 attempts. Jones is a 6-4, 240 pound right-hander age 27. He’s been clocked up to 96 and his breaking ball has impressive moments but his career development was slowed by erratic command. He’s made progress with that over the last two seasons and has maintained a career strikeout pace well over one per inning (361 K in 296 innings). He could be solid in the bullpen.

9. Brewers: Caleb Smith, LHP, Yankees (traded to Cubs):
Caleb Smith was drafted by the Yankees in 2013, a 14th round pick from Sam Houston State University in Texas. He was a successful starting pitcher for much of his career but moved to the bullpen early in 2016 and posted a 3.96 ERA with a 70/20 K/BB in 64 innings for Double-A Trenton. He moved back to the rotation in August and threw six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts in his last start. Age 25, the 6-2, 205 southpaw features a fastball up to 93 MPH and a circle change-up, but his breaking ball is inconsistent. He had reverse platoon splits in ’16 (.297 vs. LHH, .247 vs RHH) and a similar pattern in other seasons, meaning that he may not fit well as a LOOGY.

10. Angels: Justin Haley, RHP, Red Sox (traded to Twins): Haley was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the sixth round in 2012 from Fresno State University. He made 26 starts for Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in 2016, posting a 3.01 ERA with a 126/45 K/BB and just 119 hits allowed. Age 25, the 6-5, 230 pound right-hander has a complete four-pitch arsenal with a 90 MPH fastball, slider, curve, and change-up. He’s not overpowering but is deceptive and throws strikes, giving him a chance as a fifth starter or long reliever.

12. White Sox:
Dylan Covey, RHP, Athletics:
Covey was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the fourth round in 2013 from the University of San Diego. He missed most of 2016 with a strained oblique but posted a 1.84 ERA in 29 innings for Double-A Midland over six starts with a 26/17 K/BB. Covey was first drafted by the Brewers in the first round in 2010 but did not sign after being diagnosed with diabetes. His best pitch is an above-average curveball, while his fastball generally sits around 91 MPH with good action low in the zone. His control needs work but the 25-year-old could fit well in the bullpen and could start some games eventually.

13. Pirates: Tyler Webb, LHP, Yankees:
The Yankees drafted Webb in the 10th round in 2013 from the University of South Carolina. He has had nothing but success in the farm system and has two strong Triple-A seasons under his belt, posting a 2.84 ERA in 2015 and a 3.59 ERA in 73 innings in 2016 with an 82/23 K/BB. Webb is a 6-6. 225 pounder, age 26. He held lefties to a .225 average this year and projects as an effective LOOGY, with an 89-92 MPH fastball and a slider that he will use aggressively against left-handed hitters. He changes speeds well enough to hold his own against right-handed hitters as well and has maintained strong whiff rates at all levels.

20. Tigers:
Daniel Stumpf, LHP, Royals:
Stumpf was drafted in the ninth round in 2012 from San Jacinto Junior College. He was drafted by the Phillies under Rule 5 in 2015 but ended up being suspended 80 games for PED use. He gave up six runs in five innings of work in the majors then was sent back to the Royals system, where he posted a 2.11 ERA in 21 innings in Double-A with a 26/4 K/BB. Stumpf was drafted last year due to an 89-94 MPH fastball and a decent slider. That’s why he was drafted this year, too. He could stick in the bullpen.

23. Orioles:
Aneury Tavarez, OF, Red Sox:
Tavarez was signed by the Red Sox out of the Dominican Republic back in 2011. His ’16 season was highly successful: he hit .335/.379/.506 for Double-A Portland with 19 doubles, 13 triples, 18 stolen bases, and a 29/64 BB/K ratio in 385 at-bats. Age 24, the left-handed hitter has 60-grade speed and a line drive, contact-hitting approach, giving him a chance to stick as a fourth or fifth outfielder in the majors.

24. Blue Jays:
Glenn Sparkman, RHP, Royals
: Sparkman was drafted by the Royals in the 20th round in 2013 from Wharton County Junior College. Age 24, the 6-2, 210 pound right-hander missed 2015 with Tommy John surgery. His ’16 recovery season resulted in a 5.22 ERA in 60 innings across four levels of play, albeit with a fine 65/10 K/BB ratio. His fastball is in the 89-93 range but tends to play up due to the contrast with a solid curveball and change-up. Control is his best attribute and he could be a useful long relief asset who can start in an emergency.

26. Red Sox:
Josh Rutledge, SS, Rockies:
A 27-year-old major league veteran, Rutledge has hit .262/.312/.397 in 994 MLB at-bats since 2012, including a .265/.345/.388 mark in 49 at-bats for the Red Sox this past season, missing much of the campaign with a knee injury. He was signed by the Rockies as a free agent on November 23rd, but the Sox wanted him back and used their Rule 5 pick to re-acquire him. There’s no reason to expect him to be anything but what he normally is: a solid reserve infielder.

27. Indians
Hoby Milner, LHP, Phillies:
Milner was a seventh round pick by the Phillies from the University of Texas in 2012. Thin and scrawny at 6-2, 165, he was a moderately successful starter in the low minors but converted to the bullpen in ’15 and has been effective in that role, posting a 2.49 ERA in 65 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in ’16 with a 76/15 K/BB. Milner is so thin he looks like he will blow away in the wind and he doesn’t burn radar, topping at 90 and usually pitching at 86-89, but his change-up is excellent and he has a decent breaking ball, along with a fearless approach and sharp control. He could be a useful 11th man on a staff.

29. Rangers:
Mike Hauschild, RHP, Astros:
Hauschild was a 33rd round pick in 2012 from the University of Dayton by the Astros. Used primarily as a starting pitcher by Houston, he made 24 starts for Triple-A Fresno in the Pacific Coast League in ’16, posting a 3.22 ERA in 140 innings with a 119/40 K/BB. Listed at 6-3, 210, the 26-year-old features a 90 MPH sinking fastball (helping him post a 1.70 GO/AO in ’16 and 2.06 in his career) along with a slider and change-up. He’s not overpowering but he is durable and throws strikes and could be a useful fifth starter or long relief type.

Round Two

31. Reds:
Stuart Turner, C, Twins:
Turner was drafted by the Twins in the third round in 2013 from the University of Mississippi. He has spent the last two seasons with Chattanooga in the Double-A Southern League, hitting .223/.322/.306 in ’15 and .239/.322/.363 in ’16. Although his bat has been disappointing, Turner is an excellent defensive catcher who has thrown out 36% of runners in his career with very low passed ball and error rates behind the plate. He’s a strong guy at 6-2, 220, but the 24-year-old has been unable to tap his raw power very often, leading to projection as a glove-oriented reserve.

35. Orioles:
Anthony Santander, OF, Indians:
Santander was signed by the Indians out of Venezuela in 2011. He had an excellent 2016 season, hitting .290/.368/.494 with 20 homers and 42 doubles in 500 at-bats for Lynchburg in the High-A Carolina League. Age 22, he was one of Cleveland’s better offensive prospects but recently had surgery for a shoulder injury. His health status is unclear at the moment and the Indians gambled that they could leave him off the 40-man roster due to that uncertainty. His ability to stick on the Baltimore roster will depend on how quickly he recovers and even if healthy his bat is unproven above A-ball. That said, there is considerable power upside here if the Orioles can manage to hold onto him.