Rule 5 Draft Primer: The Pittsburgh Pirates Need A Big Win


The Rule 5 Draft is today at 10AM.  We released a preview earlier this week of players that might be available when the Pirates get their turn this morning.   (The preview is on the bottom of the article as well.)

The Pirates have a few pitchers we think could gain some attention in Kyle Kaminska and Jeff Inman.  It would be an outright shame to lose Kaminska.   Even though his success in the Arizona Fall League was a surprise, it seemed to showcase his ability at mastering the instruction the Pirates gave him.   Inman can throw cheese, there could be a small chance a team might snatch him before Kaminska.

For some valid reasons, Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington mentioned that the Pirates are different this year.   Yeh, we get that, but the 2012 Rule 5 Draft is pretty deep with talent.   Surely the Pirates scouting department realizes that right?   The Pirates can carry the pick, it will just be very hard.

We distinctly remember Huntington glowing about the selection of Evan Meek back in 2007.  It was evident that he had an inside track on the right handed reliever and felt highly of the selection.  Meek went on to become a very effective pitcher until an injury sapped his velocity.

Our main man Donnie Veal was also a Rule 5 pick.  Veal is now pitching out of the bullpen for the Chicago White Sox, and he’s doing it at a very high level.

Somebody nailed the selections of Meek and Veal.  Somebody has whiffed since then.  Which leads us to the comments Huntington made yesterday.   The GM said that the team is different this year than a few years ago.  We  think that is a valid point, but still don’t see why they shouldn’t make a pick.   It’s an opportunity to add a talented, yet likely flawed player to the organization.

For pennies.   The argument that the player is unlikely to stick is silly.  The Pirates need to make a pick today.  It’s not impossible for the Pirates to keep a player that they select, it will just take a bit of work.


Our preview

The Rule 5 Draft will occur on December 6 this year, which is the final day of the GM meetings. Those meetings are in full swing now in Nashville. Every year we provide a quick sneak peek, but the Pirates brass typically hits Bucco fans with a surprise, off-the-radar pick.

The list is always a little painful to put together seeing former big time power hitters and once-promising pitchers now left unprotected, out in the cruel draft eligible world. The Pirates seem to have little use for the Rule 5 anymore, but we thought we would make a list anyway, especially focusing on potential bullpen help.

Miguel Celestino

He’s a tall, lanky starter in the Red Sox organization who can touch 95 on the gun. The Pirates could move Celestino from his role as a starter to a reliever. A good sinking fastball from the 6’6″ right hander could be mixed with his curve and change to provide a bullpen arm on the cheap.

The 23-year old started one of the best baseball brawls we’ve seen in a long time when he drilled Charleston’s Slade Heathcott in the head with the second pitch of the game.

Tim Crabbe

Want to piss off Marty and the Reds? Grab this 6’4″ puzzling, swing-and-miss, firing right hander. With a nearly double digit strikeout percentage, the fearless Crabbe appears to be one of the arms that will be plucked at some point in the Rule 5 due to a low 90’s heater and a plus changeup.

Braulio Lara

A left hander always garners attention and the soon to be 24-year old Lara will open eyes with smoke clocked in the 97 mile per hour range. The command has been lacking, but if the6’1″ 180 pounder pitches as he has in the bullpen during his time in the Winter Leagues, a pickup looks to be a lock.

Chris McGuiness

The Arizona Fall League MVP came to the Rangers in Jarrod Saltamacchia trade two years ago. The first baseman put up nice numbers in Double-A this season with 23 bombs and 25 doubles. He is 6’1″ and is said to be working on playing the outfield this offseason before he turns 25 in April. Shows great plate awareness for a power hitter, a skill learned when he was at the Citadel.

Carlos Perez

The left hander has always made scouts swoon. But after a couple sub-par seasons, the shine has lost its’ luster. In 2011, he was the fifth best prospect, but fell to the low teens in 2012.

The 6’2″ reliever posted some sick numbers while assigned to the lower leves of the Braves system, including 14.7 strikeouts per nine. But in 2011, Perez gave up more hits than innings thrown and adding to the challenge was the awful walk rates–which earned him the worst WHIP in the Sally League. But we give him some slack, he was a teenager.


Ryan Pressly

The soon to be 24-year old showed nice command in the Arizona Fall League. The 6’3″ righty has a mid-90’s fastball that he flashed regularly and effectively after being moved to the bullpen by the Red Sox Double-A Portland club. Also as you will see in the video, the 2007 eleventh round high school pick has a wicked power curve. You want Brad Lincoln back?

Coty Woods

The 6’2″ righty throws funny, but does have a low 90’s fastball. A 33rd round pick back in 2009 had a nice AFL season (after a weak Triple-A season) and because the Bucs don’t have a sidewinder, we threw him in the mix.

Jon Keck

A 6’6″ left-hander left unprotected? What are the Royals thinking? A 6’6″ southpaw that can pump 95 mph fastballs? What are we missing after Keck displayed the heat this year in the AFL, it’s hard to see a team passing on Keck before the Bucs get a crack despite some weak command history.