If you want to take the high-floor/low-ceiling approach to the extreme, look no further than Kansas City Royals’ former first round pick Asa Lacy. The Royals took Lacy with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft. Lacy is the highest drafted Rule 5 pick since 2016. While it’s far from certain that Lacy will ever figure it out, there’s a ton of potential in his left arm, and it would be a crime to leave him off a list like this.
Lacy’s major league career has not gone as planned. He has only pitched 80 innings since 2021, working to 7.09 ERA, 6.17 FIP, and 1.71 WHIP. Control has been the biggest detriment to Lacy’s career. He has dished out a walk to 21.3% of the batters he has faced. While he has a 29.3% strikeout rate and respectable 0.90 HR/9, his inability to prevent walks has been his downfall thus far.
The right-hander missed all of the 2023 season due to injuries, but when he last pitched, his stuff looked great. The southpaw was throwing mid-90s with a great slider. He wasn’t locating either very well, but on the occasions he hit his spots, you could see the reason why the Royals took him so high in the draft.
Lacy probably has the most separation between his floor and ceiling of any Rule 5 eligible player in this year’s draft. If he ever comes close to reaching the potential he has, he could be a dominant force out of a bullpen. But there are also dozens of minor league pitchers every year who have great stuff, but never figure it out.