Could The Pittsburgh Pirates Lose Brandon Waddell In The Rule 5 Draft?


Of the players left unprotected from the Rule Five Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, a left-handed pitcher seems like the most likely to be lost

Part of the yearly Major League Baseball Winter Meetings is the Rule Five Draft. The Rule Five Draft is designed to give players that have been stuck in the minor leagues their entire career a shot at reaching the MLB level. Any player that has spent the past four years in the minor leagues, and is not on a 40-man roster, is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.

Last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates protected four players from this year’s Rule 5 Draft. You can read more about that and those players here. However, one player that was left unprotected was left-handed pitcher Brandon Waddell. And Waddell being scooped up in the Rule Five Draft seems like a possibility.

The Rule Five Draft always takes place on the final day of MLB’s Winter Meetings. This year, it will be at 9 AM EST on Thursday, December 14th.

The 24-year-old Waddell was a fifth round pick in the 2015 June Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The former College World Series star spent the 2018 season with the Double-A Altoona Curve and Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.

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With Altoona, Waddell posted a 2.68 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 8.9 percent walk rate, and a 20.1 percent strikeout rate. These results came in nine games (eight starts) and 59 2/3 innings pitched for the Curve. This success led to Waddell earning a promotion to the Triple-A level.

As a member of the Indianapolis Indians, Waddell pitched in 19 games while making 15 starts. In these 19 games he logged 81 2/3 innings and posted a 4.19 ERA, 3.74 FIP, a 9.9 percent walk rate, and a 16.9 percent strikeout rate.

While Waddell’s numbers took a bit of a dip after his promotion, they remained strong. He also was better after struggling in his first three Triple-A outings, posting a 3.53 ERA in 71 1/3 innings pitched in his last 16 appearances, 12 of them being starts, for Indy.

Even though Waddell has never pitched in the Major Leagues, there is reason for other clubs to find him intriguing. Left-handed pitching is always at a premium, and Waddell is coming off a strong season in the minors. Combine this with his ability to work as a reliever or a starter, and he is a player worth monitoring in the Rule Five Draft.