Four former San Jose Giants - Jake Dunning, Chris Heston, Nick Noonan and Juan Perez - were added to San Francisco's 40-man roster last week. Dunning and Heston were both standout pitchers on San Jose's 2011 squad while Noonan and Perez made significant contributions to recent California League championship teams. The quartet all played in the upper levels of the San Francisco farm system this year. By virtue of their placement on the 40-man roster, all four players have been protected from next month's Rule 5 draft.
Dunning was San Jose's co-Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2011 after ranking second on the team with 10 saves. Originally drafted as a shortstop, Dunning made the transition to the mound prior to the 2010 season. He spent all of this year working out of the bullpen for Double-A Richmond and amassed a 5-2 record with a 4.10 ERA in 44 games.
Heston has produced back-to-back spectacular seasons in the Giants farm system. In 2011, he shared San Jose's Pitcher of the Year award after leading the California League in ERA at 3.16 to go with a 12-4 record. Heston continued to impress while in Richmond this season posting a 9-8 record with a league-best 2.24 ERA. The right-hander was remarkably consistent yielding two earned runs or fewer in 19 out of his 25 starts en route to claiming Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors.
Noonan was San Jose's primary starter at second base during the 2009 championship season while also seeing time in the California League in 2011. The former supplemental first round draft pick enjoyed a breakout year offensively with Triple-A Fresno in 2012. He batted .296 for the Grizzlies while also contributing 26 doubles, nine home runs and 62 RBI's. A versatile infielder, Noonan saw most of his playing time at shortstop this season.
Perez was a key member of San Jose's 2010 championship club before spending the last two years in Richmond. He led the Flying Squrrels with a .302 batting average this season to go with 26 doubles, 11 home runs, 53 RBI's and 18 stolen bases. Perez has shown the ability to play all three outfield positions throughout his professional career.
The San Francisco Giants also added pitcher Edwin Escobar to their 40-man roster. Escobar is a candidate to open the 2013 season in San Jose after an excellent year with Augusta. As a member of the GreenJackets starting rotation this season, Escobar fashioned a 2.96 ERA (third-lowest in the South Atlantic League) to go with a 7-8 record.
Currently, the San Francisco Giants have filled 35 of the 40 spots on their roster. 23 of the 35 are former San Jose Giants.
With the inclusion of these players on the 40-man roster, not only do they greatly increase their chances for a big league call-up in 2013, but the organization has now protected them from other teams in the upcoming Rule 5 draft.
Players signed at age 18 or younger must be added to the 40-man roster after five years or they become at risk to be drafted by another organization through the Rule 5 process. Players that are signed at 19 or older have to be protected after four years or they also become eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft.
It costs teams $50,000 to add a Rule 5 player to their major league roster. However, the team must then keep that player on the major league roster all season, otherwise they have to offer the player back to their original team for half the price ($25,000). There are also Triple-A and Double-A phases to the Rule 5 draft with price tags of $12,000 and $4,000 respectively.
The Rule 5 Draft is scheduled for December 6 at Baseball's Winter Meetings in Nashville.
Notable Rule 5 eligible players left unprotected by the San Francisco Giants include catchers Johnny Monell and Jackson Williams, infielder Brock Bond, outfielder Chris Dominguez and pitchers Justin Fitzgerald and Chris Gloor. Top minor league prospects such as Gary Brown, Heath Hembree and Joe Panik are not yet Rule 5 draft eligible and thus don't need to be protected on the 40-man roster this offseason.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.