Rule 5 protections coming due

Andy Wilkins in a completely un-candid moment. // Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The mothership thinks a fun way to grab page views and attention is to review who needs to be protected and who might be available in the Rule 5 draft.

I cannot imagine why this is true.

Since an extra year was added to the requirement for players to become eligible in 2006, it’s become a lot friendlier to prospect hoarding, and a lot more irrelevant. Angel Sanchez‘s selection last season was the first major league selection (the minor league phase in the draft is even more irrelevant) the White Sox had made since the rule change, and he appeared in one game in 2013.

Just reviewing last year’s list, the most lucky teams snagged replacement-level bullpen work, and the A’s got Nate Freiman (only after his original team waived him) to claw out an OPS barely over .700 while playing first base. Perhaps the juiciest nugget that the Rule 5 has brought us in recent memory was Jordan Danks being left available for the 2011 draft. Of course, the draft being the non-entity that it is, how much insult Danks (and older Danks) took away from it wound up being the only takeaway anyone had.

Decisions?

There are a few players the White Sox might take action on and protect on their 40-man roster (currently at 36) by the Wednesday deadline, since they are reasonably close to the majors and could contribute at some point, but one of the benefits of being a bottom-half farm system is there is not a lot of major league-ready talent milling about off the 40-man.

Andy Wilkins – 1B

The 25 year-old lefty just earned a foothold in Triple-A this year after a slow and steady rise through the system. His approach breaks down against same-handed pitching, and while his physical strength is impressive, the in-game power production is not remarkable.

It’s more of a simply nice development that he wasn’t initially overwhelmed by Triple-A pitching than something to actually prompt excitement that he’s ready to be a useful platoon bat. He doesn’t quite have the appeal of a Quad-A masher, and even if the Sox had some fear that a team might be ready to let him learn on the job, there’s little reason to keep Mike McDade on the 40-man over Wilkins.

Brandon Jacobs & Trayce Thompson – OF

Two high school draftees that have been around for a while and have name recognition, but it would take a lot of liquor, and then some sadism, for anyone to submit these two to major league pitching after the seasons they just finished at Double-A. Hysterical contact issues for both.

Stephen McCray – RHP

Even as a 25 year-old facing far younger competition, McCray’s performance profile is pretty easy to unpack. He’s doesn’t overwhelm anyone and has no mitigating skills to hide that weakness. Buzz around him comes from the types who cite “being a part of a Southern League Championship rotation” as a meaningful prospect credential. It’s doubtful he’s taken and the Sox shouldn’t sweat it if he is.

Dan Black – 1B

Big, hulking OBP-machine with good, not great pop who has been tearing up the minors while being around two years too old for the level at every stop. His latest trick was posting a .411 OBP at Double-A Birmingham while turning 26 in July. Not having sniffed Triple-A, and a career spent beating up on youngsters but not posting so much as a .500 slugging percentage at any point are enough red flags that none should be surprised if chucking him at the majors is a complete disaster.

Still, tt’s not a resume too different from what got Nate Freiman plucked in the second round last season. If the Sox actually liked him, there are some unusably wild LOOGY’s he could take the spot of without pushing the roster total up any farther. If the Sox actually liked him, they wouldn’t be courting Paul Konerko to come in and block him.

Or maybe they would. I can’t pretend that practice is following logic.

Alex Liddi – 1B/3B

Signing him but not protecting him would be a curious move, but he was just a minor free agent. It’s not like the Sox just won a bidding war to land him. As with David Purcey, the opportunity to bring him on without dealing with the restrictions and costs of a Rule 5 pick just passed without incident.

 

Interesting players who might be available for selection

Probably no one. I feel bad about using up your time like this.

 

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan

 

Topics: Alex Liddi, Chicago White Sox, Rule 5 Draft

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