It’s that time of the year, time to add Rule 5 eligible players to the Astros 40-man roster before the deadline today.
After a flurry of moves made by the Astros last night, the 40-man roster is at capacity. While there are not the big names on this list like after the 2014 season, there are some people who might be taken. That season, Michael Feliz was left unprotected for a few hours but was added later.
This year, it will be harder to find players to remove from the 40-man roster. The team would have to designate for assignment or release players to remove them. The players would be placed on waivers so that any team could claim them. Unlike previous years, the team does not have have a lot of dead weight on the 40-man roster. How many people will be added before the clock runs out?
According to Brian McTaggart, the players eligible for the Rule 5 are players who are not on the 40-man roster. Another qualification is if they signed in 2012 at the age of 18 or older and in 2013 at the age of 19 or older.
Some of the names are familiar ones, including Jon Kemmer, Jordan Jankowski, Mike Hauschild, and many more. While these guys don’t represent the core of the Astros farm system, they do offer other teams one thing. These three players mentioned above have had at least one full season at the Triple-A level. Jankowski was the Fresno Triple-A pitcher of the year in 2015 and followed with a strong season in 2016.
Who could the Astros lose?
These type of players are more likely to be taken in the Rule 5 draft during the meetings. Kemmer could be some teams 25th man on the roster if claimed, even if he is not quite ready for big league action. A team claiming a Rule 5 eligible player must pay that team $50,000 and keep that player on the 25-man roster all year.
Jankowski has pitched well in Fresno and could be part of a rebuilding team’s bullpen in 2017. The Pacific Coast League is known for its offensive friendliness, for Jankowski to post those numbers is impressive (10-6, 3.49 ERA, 180 strikeouts in 134 innings). What is also impressive is the fact that the Astros have not needed him with their beefed up bullpen.
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He might fly under the radar though because he is not a top prospect. Kemmer flies under the radar as well, but he is a left-handed hitter with decent power and contact ability (.265 with 18 homers). Hauschild could be seen as the dark horse of this Rule V draft. He has spent 1.5 seasons in Triple-A with the Fresno Grizzlies (16-15, 3.33 ERA, 119 strikeouts in 139 2/3 innings).
McTaggart also suggested that Tyler Heineman might be protected, but he doesn’t think it is likely. With Brian McCann and Evan Gattis in the fold as a catcher for the next two seasons, not sure it would hurt that much if they lose him.
There are always a few surprise names that might arise. I asked Kemmer this past week if he was thinking about it. He said that he was not, there are certain things out of his control. He is focusing on getting ready for 2017 and competing for a job on the 25-man roster. I will go into more details later today as we learn the names not protected.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***