Major League clubs protect their players ahead of Rule 5 Draft
Gregory Polanco (left) and Oscar Taveras are both among MLB.com's top four outfield prospects.
By MiLB.com Staff | November 20, 2013 1:17 PM ET
It's not as big a day on the baseball calendar as, say, Opening Day or the All-Star Game, but it was a fairly important offseason day for several Minor Leaguers and their parent clubs. Wednesday -- more specifically, midnight ET -- was the deadline for players to be added to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place Dec. 12 at the Winter Meetings.
Players who signed when they were 19 or older and have been in pro ball for four years or who signed at 18 or under and have played in pro ball for five years are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Teams can protect their players who fit the description from that process by adding them to their 40-man rosters. (A more in-depth primer of the Rule 5 Draft can be found here.)
That's where Wednesday's bevy of moves comes in.
Perhaps the biggest name added to a 40-man roster was top Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras. The 21-year-old outfielder, who ranks as theNo. 2 overall prospect, was expected to join the Major League club at some point during the 2013 season but was limited due to an ankle injury that eventually required surgery. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training, where he will compete for a starting job in the St. Louis outfield.
MLB.com's No. 13 overall and No. 2 Pirates prospect Gregory Polanco also earned a spot on the Pirates' 40-man roster after a breakout season across the top three levels of the Minors. The 22-year-old outfielder owned a .285/.356/.434 slash line with 12 homers, 30 doubles, 71 RBIs and 38 steals across those three levels while developing into an exciting five-tool player.
Other Top 100 prospects added to 40-man rosters were the the Yankees' Gary Sanchez (26), the Pirates' Alen Hanson (39), the Rangers' Luis Sardinas (70), and Red Sox prospects Anthony Ranaudo (79) and Garin Cecchini (82).
Here's a breakdown of prospects who are ranked in the Top 10 in their respective organizations and were added to 40-man rosters Wednesday: