Editorial: As of last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates had to add prospects to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule Five Draft. Any player who was left off the 40-man roster would be eligible to be drafted.
For those of you who do not know how the Rule Five Draft work, it is quiet simple. Any minor league player who has spent at-least five years in a team’s organization is eligible. This includes Latin American prospects who sign at the young age of 16. Now these players can be protected is by giving them a spot of the 40-man roster. This insures that they will be likely be given a chance at the major league level sooner rather than later. The Pittsburgh Pirates had many options to protect this year, including three key prospects. The prospects worth noting were pitcher Clay Holmes, outfielder Barrett Barnes, and infielder/outfielder Eric Wood. The Bucs decided to only protect the projectable pitcher in Holmes.
Now typically during the Rule Five draft you mainly see teams who expect to be bad take players. They usually look for prospects who can stick in the majors due to certain tools. It is a pitcher who has a big fastball and can be effective out of the bullpen. A player who gives elite defense in the infield including shortstop, and can provide the team a reliable backup. Or just an outfielder who is really fast and can provide solid defense and steal bases off the bench. Regardless, the Bucs felt that none of their players other than Clay Holmes would fit the mold of a typical player a team would take a flyer on.
J.J. Cooper of Baseball America some what disagrees. He feels the Pittsburgh Pirates to let one of the prospects unprotected and could lose him. Cooper says:
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"Wood creates an interesting debate for scouts and front offices. If you believe his 2016 season was a breakout, there’s a lot to like. Wood hit 16 home runs with plenty of walks in a .249/.339/.443 season with Double-A Altoona and he was even better in the Arizona Fall League (.330/.388/.489). But that season was dramatically better than anything he’d done before–he came into the season with 15 home runs in his first four pro seasons. Wood is headed to the Dominican Republic after his AFL stint, so scouts will get some further pre-Rule 5 looks.Read more on the Rule Five Prospects"
If Wood is taken it will be because of his right-handed bat, ability to play multiple positions, and solid last year of play. However, the fact that he has not played above Triple-A could affect his chances. Remember if a team does decide to pick him up they have to keep him on the their big league 25-man roster all season long. If they do not keep him on the roster then they have to return him to the original club. The acquiring team could also work out a deal. Most likely Wood will remain in the organization as there are many other options that seem more likely to stick in the big leagues.
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