First basemen are rarely selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and only four have been chosen since the turn of the millennium (five if you want to count Justin Bour in the minor league phase in 2013). But LA Dodgers first base prospect Ryan Noda may be available. The Dodgers have Freddie Freeman locked down at first base, with Edwin Rios also on hand. Not to mention LA also has Miguel Vargas, Michael Busch, and Justin Yurchak as other first base capable options.
But Noda is still a prospect worth talking about. Last year, Noda batted .259/.395/.474 with the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate. Noda crushed 25 home runs in 574 plate appearances, posting an isolated slugging percentage of .216. Noda also walked a ton, drawing ball four in 16% of his plate appearances. Noda posted a strong .367 wOBA and 120 wRC+ during this past season.
Noda is also a surprisingly aggressive base runner. He swiped 20 bases last year in 24 attempts. He also stole 14 bases in both 2018 and 2019. Career-wise, he has an 80.6% success rate when he takes off for an extra base. Overall, he’s swiped 58 bases in 555 career games, which is very good for a first baseman.
But don’t get stolen bases confused with running ability. He’s a slightly below-average runner, with MLB Pipeline grading him out as a 45-grade runner (though that was when he was still part of the Toronto Blue Jays system). FanGraphs is even less bullish on Noda, grading him out with 30-grade speed. On top of so-so speed, Noda strikes out at a fair rate. His 28.2% K-rate was the second-highest single-season mark of his career.
But Noda grades out as an average defensive first baseman. He can play the outfield corners but lacks the range to do so regularly. The Pirates need some help at first base, and if Noda is available, it would be worth the risk. The Pirates aren’t going to find much better options on the free-agent market, and Noda does not have a clear path to playing time in LA.