Rule 5 Draft decisions looming for the Pittsburgh Pirates


Teams have until 8 p.m. ET on Monday to protect minor league players from the Rule 5 Draft, this means the Pittsburgh Pirates have decisions to make.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have already made their first roster decisions of the offseason. These came when they picked up Andrew McCutchen‘s 2018 option while declining the options of Chris Stewart and Wade LeBlanc. Now, more early offseason roster decisions are looming.

Every year at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings the Rule 5 Draft takes place. In this draft, any player that has been in a team’s minor league system for five years is eligible to be drafted by another team.

To be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, a player must be on a team’s 40-man roster. The deadline to add players to a 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft is 8 p.m. ET on Monday night. This means more roster decisions are loomings for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Currently, the Pirates’ 40-man roster has 36 players on it. While I am no math whiz, this tells me that the Bucs have room to add four players to their roster before Monday’s deadline without having to take anyone off the 40-man roster.

While no roster moves have yet been made official, one upcoming move is known. According to Adam Berry, the team’s top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows will be added to the 40-man roster by Monday’s deadline. This move is a no brainer for the Bucs. Even with Meadows’ injury issues, if left unprotected he’d be the first player selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

21-year-old right-handed pitcher Luis Escobar would also appear to be a lock to be added to the 40-man roster. Escobar posted a 3.52 FIP while averaging 11.48 K/9 at High-A last season. He pitched in the Future’s Game last year and has become one of the organization’s top pitching prospects.

Fellow right-handed pitcher Tyler Eppler is likely to be protected as well. The 24-year-old Eppler pitched 136 1/3 innings in 27 games (21 starts) at Triple-A last season. Eppler owned a 4.89 ERA and a 4.94 FIP, however, he averaged just 2.18 BB/9 and his 4.22 xFIP indicates he is due for improvement in 2018. Eppler could be a strong rotation depth option moving forward.

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Between now and 8 p.m. ET on Monday night there will be roster moves from the Pittsburgh Pirates. These will be done in order to protected players from the Rule 5 Draft. Stay tuned here at Rum Bunter for more about these moves as they are announced.