Will any of the Astros Rule V eligible prospects be protected from the draft by being added to the 40-man roster?
The Houston Astros are coming off a great season where they won it all. While the team is already great as is, the team will look to improve in the offseason. Will they add a big-time free agent this offseason? Will they go out and make a big trade? While the answer is probably no, they will look to add some supplemental players for the bullpen and bench.
There are some moves that Jeff Luhnow and company need to make pretty soon that may be minor moves now, but big decisions later. The deadline to protect players from the Rule V Draft is Monday at 7 pm CT. In the past with the Astros stacked system, this has been a big deal. Before the 2016 season, any team could have claimed Chris Devenski or Teoscar Hernandez.
Luckily, no one claimed either one, even though Hernandez was traded this past year for Francisco Liriano. While maybe not to that extreme, Blue Jays fans could look at that trade like we look at the Larry Anderson–Jeff Bagwell trade. Either way, these players need to be added to the 40-man roster or they will risk losing them to another team. One of my first posts at CTH was the Michael Feliz drama.
Who are the big names who are Rule V eligible this offseason?
If you listen to Talking Stros, one of our frequent guests has been Jon Kemmer. He has quickly become a fan favorite in the minor leagues and could find his way to Houston in 2018. While he has never been a top prospect, he has shown an ability to hit for average and mid-range pop. The outfielder has nothing left to prove in Triple-A, and he could be a cheap option to replace Carlos Beltran.
Another outfielder could be compared to Hernandez is Ramon Laureano, struggled last year in his first full season at Double-A. He broke out as a prospect in 2016, stealing 42 bases and hitting 15 homers with a .955 OPS. Last year, his numbers went down across the board, but the .668 OPS was worrisome. However, he could have a Hernandez type rise in 2018.
The other top name would be Dean Deetz, who was drafted in 2014 like the other two. After dominating to a 4-2 record and a 1.82 ERA in AA last year, he struggled in Triple-A. He has been a starter, but there is not much room after the Justin Verlander acquisition. He throws a low 90’s fastball with a big slider.
Jason Martin and Cionel Perez are two others, but Perez will have to be added to the 40-man roster as result of his signing this past offseason. If he’s not, he would be eligible to be selected in the Rule V draft. Players from Jonathan Mayo’s article. Except for Kemmer, the other four are all top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline.
Will they be added?
Any of the three players could have roles on the 2018 Astros roster, but it’s hard to imagine them all reaching. Deetz could be another reliever in the mold of Devenski but needs to prove himself in Triple-A first. You can imagine Kemmer getting a shot to make the roster if the Astros seek a cheap replacement for Beltran. Like 2016 Hernadez, Laureano will need to get off to a great start.
There are currently two open spots on the Astros 40-man roster. My guess is that they would add Deetz and Kemmer, but we don’t know at this point. Kemmer has been one of the prospects that I have met and kept up with, so it’s hard to not root for him. Watch the Astros not protect any of them. We should find out over the weekend.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***