The annual Rule-Five Draft will take place this morning at the MLB winter meetings in San Diego, could the Pirates make a selection?
The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates made a rule-five selection was 2016 when the team selected left-handed pitcher Tyler Webb from the New York Yankees, however, the team did trade for Nick Burdi after the Phillies selected him in 2017, Burdi figures to be a part of the Pirates bullpen in 2020.
The Pirates will be selecting Seventh overall this morning and there are a handful of players that could make a lot of sense but I have narrowed it down to a list of three prospects that intrigue me the most. Could the Pirates look to swipe a player from another team? Let’s dive into it and see which players the Pirates could select that have a chance to stick with the team!
First, is Jose Rojas, a slugging utility guy who can play all over the place and would make a solid bench addition. Rojas hit .293 with 31 home runs at Triple-A Salt Lake City while playing in the field primarily at first base and third base, while also being able to play second base and some outfield.
Overall Rojas could be a deadly bat to add to the lineup especially if he stops striking out as much as he did in 2019 (131 times). Rojas is expected to possibly go high in the draft, so like many on this list, he may not be available when Pittsburgh’s turn comes around but if he is, the Bucs could very well jump on the opportunity and at least give him a chance to compete with Jose Osuna in spring training.
Another target the Pittsburgh Pirates could look at is Baltimore Orioles’ 17th ranked prospect, right-hander Cody Sedlock. The former first-round pick (2016) had early struggles in Baltimore but suddenly reemerged in 2019 with a healthy and solid season between Single and Double-A and is now a very interesting choice for teams in the rule-five draft. Sedlock has an average fastball sitting from 90-93 MPH along with two breaking pitches and isn’t still unlocking his potential.
The Orioles believe he still has a season or two until he reaches the MLB so they left him unprotected but he has some numbers that really stand out to me, striking out 100 batters and only walking 46 through 95 innings of work. Like Rojas, if the Pirates were to claim him, Cody Sedlock could grab a spot in the bullpen if he has a solid spring training. Solid potential in the young (24 years-old) former 27th overall pick.
The third and final prospect I Ann going to mention is another New York Yankees left-handed reliever, Trevor Lane. One glaring need for the 2020 team currently is a left-hander in the bullpen. Lane is exactly that and put up solid numbers in Double and Triple-A this year for the Yankees. Lane finished the year with a total of 7 2/3 innings ERA of 2.05 and a WHIP of 0.951 all while striking out 74 batters and walking only 26.
Lane is a three-pitch guy with an above-average slider and a fastball that sits in the low to mid 90’s, so he has the tools to be a useful addition to the pen. With only three current left-handers on the roster (unless you believe that Steven Brault is a starter) it may be nice to take a flyer on one to battle in spring training with the current group of Brault, Chad Kuhl, and Sam Howard.