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2017 MLB Rule 5 Draft: Summary and reports

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Who are these guys? Let’s find out.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers
Anthony Gose
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Here are capsule summaries for players picked in the major league portion of the 2017 Rule 5 Draft.

1) Detroit Tigers: Victor Reyes, OF, Diamondbacks: Age 23, switch-hitter from Venezuela originally signed by the Braves; hit .292/.332/.399 in Double-A with four homers and 18 steals; plus speed, can play all three outfield positions reasonably well; probably ready to help now as fourth outfielder who might be a regular eventually if he adds more power.

2) San Francisco Giants: Julian Fernandez, RHP, Rockies: Age 22, from Dominican Republic, posted 3.26 ERA in 58 innings in low-A with 57/18 K/BB; throws extremely hard, up to 102 MPH; although his control improved in 2017 he was left unprotected due to erratic secondary pitches; he could stick as back of the bullpen arm.

3) Philadelphia Phillies: Nick Burdi, RHP, Twins: Immediately traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates; age 24, second round pick in 2014 from University of Louisville; posted 0.53 ERA in 17 innings with 20/4 K/BB in Double-A until blowing out elbow and needing Tommy John; hit 100 and dominates when his command is on; seems likely the Pirates will be as patient as possible through injury rehab given his upside.

4) Chicago White Sox: Carlos Tocci, OF, Phillies: Immediately traded to Texas Rangers; age 22, from Venezuela, hit .294/.346/.381 between Double-A and Triple-A; long-time denizen of prospect lists; superior defensive ability will play in majors now; makes contact well but lack of power and overall offensive upside left him unprotected by Phillies; will be interesting to see if the Rangers can change that.

5) Cincinnati Reds: Brad Keller, RHP, Diamondbacks: Immediately traded to Kansas City Royals; eighth round pick in 2013 from high school in Georgia; 4.68 ERA with 111/57 K/BB in 131 innings in Double-A; heavy fastball in low-90s, flashes solid breaking ball and change-up but inconsistent; could stick as long reliever in back of bullpen.

6) New York Mets: Burch Smith, RHP, Rays: Immediately traded to Royals; Age 27, former San Diego Padres hot prospect missed two seasons with Tommy John but pitched well in 2017 with 2.40 ERA in 56 innings, 56/24 K/BB, finishing season strong in Triple-A; post-surgery fastball is in mid-90s and he looked good in the Arizona Fall League; very likely to stick with KC.

7) Atlanta Braves: Anyelo Gomez, RHP, Yankees Age 24, from the Dominican Republic, posted 1.92 ERA in 70 innings between Low-A, High-A, Double-A, Triple-A, with 87/21 K/BB; legit stuff with mid-to-upper-90s fastball, plus change-up, and good-enough breaking ball; would have been protected in most systems but the Yankees had so much minor league pitching depth they couldn’t keep everyone.

8) Pittsburgh Pirates: Jordan Milbrath, RHP, Indians Age 26, 35th round pick in 2013 from Augustana College in South Dakota; 3.02 ERA in 57 innings between High-A and Double-A with 63/25 K/BB; former mediocre A-ball starter converted to bullpen in 2016 and saw velocity pick up, in mid-to-upper-90s now, command can wobble but stuff is attractive.

9) Baltimore Orioles: Nestor Cortes, LHP, Yankees: Age 22, drafted in 36th round in 2013 from high school in Florida; 2.06 ERA with 105/32 K/BB in 105 innings, finishing the year with a 1.49 ERA in 48 Triple-A innings; holds a career 2.08 ERA in 324 innings with 344 strikeouts; despite all that he does not throw hard at all, just 87-89 MPH, but hitters can’t pick him up; Wayne Cavadi filed a detailed report on him in August; read it; he knows how to pitch; like Anyelo Gomez, Cortes would have been protected by many teams but the Yankees are stacked.

10) Miami Marlins: Elieser Hernandez, RHP, Astros Age 22, from Venezuela; posted 3.98 ERA in 63 innings in High-A, 74/21 K/BB; fastball in low-90s, three pitch mix, throws strikes, nothing spectacular about him but he might play up in the bullpen.

11) Seattle Mariners: Mike Ford, 1B, Yankees: Age 25, non-drafted free agent from Princeton signed in 2013; hit .270/.404/.471 in Double-A/Triple-A with 20 homers, 94 walks, 72 strikeouts in 429 at-bats; power/patience approach, older prospect with defensive limitations but could make noise if he gets hot at the right time.

12) Los Angeles Angels: Luke Bard, RHP, Twins: Age 27, comp round pick in 2012 from Georgia Tech, brother of Daniel Bard; history of injuries and command problems but has been effective when healthy, posting 2.76 ERA in 65 innings in 2017 with 99/24 K/BB in the high minors; plus slider and a fastball that can hit 96; could be very effective in major league pen.

13) Minnesota Twins: Tyler Kinley, RHP, Marlins: Age 26, 16th round pick in 2013 from Barry University; posted 3.54 ERA in 53 innings between High-A and Double-A, 72/22 K/BB; throws 97-100 MPH fastball but breaking stuff and command are weaker than Bard; interesting that the Twins chose to leave Bard unprotected so that they would have a chance at Kinley.

14) Arizona Diamondbacks: Albert Suarez, RHP, Giants: Age 28, from Venezuela, spent much of 2017 in the majors with 5.12 ERA in 32 innings, 34/11 K/BB; ERA is a bit misleading, mixes low-90s fastball with full assortment of secondaries; also started 12 games for the Giants in 2016 so he could be a useful long reliever/spot starter.

15) Houston Astros: Anthony Gose, LHP, Rangers Age 27, former major league outfielder with the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers; converted to pitching, hit .240/.309/.348 in 1128 major league at-bats; posted 7.59 ERA in 11 innings in High-A in 2017 but with decent 14/6 K/BB and a fastball that can hit 98; he pitched in high school so it isn’t completely new to him.

ROUND TWO
16) Orioles: Pedro Araujo, RHP, Cubs Age 24, from the Dominican Republic; 1.81 ERA in 65 innings in High-A with 83/17 K/BB; fastball reported at 90-95 but it plays up due to contrast with slider and willingness to attack hitters; middle relief profile.

17) Marlins: Brett Graves, RHP, Athletics Age 24, third round pick in 2014 from University of Missouri; posted 4.47 ERA in 56 innings between High-A and Double-A with 57/13 K/BB; mid-90s fastball with a plus slider but results have never matched the stuff; used mainly as a starter with Oakland but could fit better in bullpen.

ROUND THREE
18) Orioles: Jose Mesa, RHP, Yankees: Age 24, 24th round pick in 2012 from high school in Florida; 1.93 ERA in 84 innings in High-A/Double-A with 101/32 K/BB, only 48 hits allowed; big league bloodlines as son of Jose Mesa; another guy with a mid-90s fastball who could contribute in the pen and another Yankee arm who would have been protected by many systems.