12/06/2006 9:58 AM ET
A look back at last year's Rule 5 Draft
Uggla's success story highlights 2005 draftees
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
Some forced their way onto teams. Others didn't fare as well or were squeezed out in a numbers game and sent back to their original teams. There was an interesting mix of successes and failures among the dozen Minor Leaguers taken in the Major League phase of the 2005 Rule 5 Draft. Here are the haves-and-have nots in this game of Rule 5 survivor, listed in order of selection:
Fabio Castro, LHP
Drafted by the Royals from the White Sox and then traded to Texas, Castro initially stuck as a member of the Rangers bullpen. He pitched sparingly, but fairly effectively in three April outings before landing on the disabled list on May 2 with a strained left groin. He made six rehab appearances in the Minors before being recalled in the middle of June. One outing later, he was designated for assignment then traded to the Phillies for lefty Daniel Haigwood. He was extremely effective for the Phillies, appearing in 16 games and posting a 1.54 ERA in 23 1/3 innings. He yielded just 12 hits for a .158 batting average against. Considering left-handed hitters hit just .043 average against Castro, he probably has a long bullpen future ahead of him.
Luis Gonzalez, LHP
The Rockies took the southpaw reliever from the Dodgers, then dealt him to the Mariners. After walking 12 and posting an 8.18 ERA over eight games in the spring, the Mariners sent him back to the Dodgers. He spent the year with Triple-A Las Vegas and went 2-4 with a 5.52 ERA. Command continued to be a problem as he walked 40 and struck out 39 in 44 innings. He's still not on the Dodgers' 40-man roster, so there is the chance he could get selected again.
Steven Andrade, RHP
OK, try to follow along here. The Devil Rays selected Andrade from the Blue Jays; the Rays traded him to the Padres after the draft; the Royals claimed Andrade off waivers when the Padres put him there; the Royals designated Andrade for assignment and when no one claimed him, they signed him to a Minor League contract and sent him to Triple-A Omaha; he appeared in 12 games for Omaha, compiling a 4.63 ERA in 23 1/3 innings; the Royals brought him up on May 1 and optioned him back on May 12, pitching in four games and giving up five runs; he was designated for assignment on June 9; the Padres picked him up and sent him to Triple-A Portland, where he finished up the year with 26 appearances and a 2.44 ERA over 44 1/3 innings. To bring things nearly full circle, Andrade was recently signed by the Devil Rays and invited to Spring Training.
Victor Santos, RHP
The Pirates snagged Santos from the Royals and he stayed with the Pirates all year. He moved in and out of the Pirates rotation, compiling 115 total innings and a 5.70 ERA. He was outrighted by the Pirates at the end of the season after not pitching the final month, making him a free agent.
Chris Booker, RHP
The Tigers took Booker from the Nationals, then sent him to the Phillies for the world-famous "cash considerations." A knee injury landed him on the DL and he stayed there until early May as he made rehab assignments in the Minors. Once his rehab time was up, the Phillies put him on waivers and the Royals claimed him. He made one bad big-league outing then landed back on the DL with a strained groin. He made some rehab assignments in Double-A and Triple-A before being designated for assignment in early July. He cleared waivers and was returned back to his original organization where this all began, the Nationals. He made 15 appearances for Triple-A New Orleans before getting a September callup by the Nats. He tossed 7 1/3 innings over 10 outings, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out seven. He's currently on the Nationals' 40-man roster.
Seth Etherton, RHP
After the Padres selected Etherton from the Royals, he made six spring appearances for San Diego. The Padres outrighted him to Triple-A Portland due to a lack of roster space. The Royals didn't want him back initially, so Etherton made nine starts for Portland, going 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA. Then, in a slightly odd twist, the Royals traded for Etherton, sending a player to be named or cash for the right-hander they had first signed last November. He came to the big leagues right away and won his first start. His second start didn't go as well (7 ER, 2 2/3 IP) and he was sent down to Triple-A the day after that loss. He finished the season with Omaha and went 1-4 with a 6.49 ERA in 10 games, six of them starts.
Mitch Wylie, RHP
It didn't look like Wylie had a future with the Mets, who took him from the Giants, when they released him. The Giants didn't want him back, so he became a free agent. The Mets then signed him to a Minor League contract and sent him to Triple-A. He missed some time with injuries, but pitched in 27 games and posted a 2.96 ERA with 53 strikeouts over 48 2/3 innings. He's now a Minor League free agent.
Dan Uggla, 2B
Johan Santana is clearly the best pitcher taken in the Rule 5 Draft over the past 15 or so years, but Uggla may prove to be the best hitter. Taken by the Marlins from the Diamondbacks, Uggla became the young Marlins' everyday second baseman and never let go of the spot. He became the first Rule 5 draftee to become a Major League All-Star in the year following his selection in the draft. He then finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .282 average, 27 homers and 90 RBIs.
Jason Pridie, OF
The Twins decided they didn't have room for Pridie and sent him back to the Devil Rays last spring. He spent the year with Double-A Montgomery, hitting .230 with 16 steals in 132 games. He then hit .423 over seven games in the playoffs to help the Montgomery Biscuits win the Southern League title. That wasn't enough, however, to earn Pridie a spot on the 40-man for a team with a very young and crowded outfield, meaning he's got a shot to be a two-time Rule 5er on Thursday.
Jamie Vermilyea, RHP
The Red Sox returned Vermilyea to the Blue Jays before the regular season began. He began the season in Double-A, but moved up to Triple-A after posting a 1.65 ERA after five outings with New Hampshire (all but one coming in relief). When he moved up to Syracuse, he spent most of his time in the rotation, making 17 starts and eight relief appearances. Vermilyea had a 3.85 ERA with Syracuse over 114 2/3 innings, though he didn't miss many bats (64 K's) and allowed 129 hits. He was left unprotected again this offseason.
Juan Mateo, RHP
The Cards had no room for Mateo on their staff, so he was sent back to the Cubs in late March. He went to Double-A and pitched very well for West Tennessee, going 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA over 18 starts (spanning 92 2/3 IP). Less than a year after being left unprotected, the Cubs called Mateo up to the big leagues and he made 11 appearances (10 starts) following his late July callup. He finished with a 5.32 ERA over 45 2/3 IP, but he's now secure on the 40-man roster this offseason.
Mike Megrew, LHP
Megrew has always had an intriguing arm -- and a left one at that -- but tends to be injury-prone. He threw just nine innings in 2005, but the Marlins decided to take a chance on him. They put him on the DL in late March with shoulder tendinitis, but that only delayed his return back to the Dodgers organization. That happened on April 14 and Megrew eventually returned to Vero Beach where he had had some success back in 2004. He didn't make his debut until June and he worked his way back at first out of the bullpen before finishing the season in Vero's rotation. He pitched well out of the pen, with a 1.93 ERA in 10 games (compared with 4.37 in eight starts) and he held left-handed hitters to a .167 batting average, enough for the Dodgers to actually protect him on the 40-man roster this go-round.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.