Reyes, multiple picks headline Rule 5 Draft

Outfielder goes to Tigers; Orioles pick three; Royals, Bucs take two

Victor Reyes ranked fourth among D-backs farmhands with 18 steals last season. (MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | December 14, 2017 11:45 AM

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Eighteen Minor Leaguers were given new life Thursday morning.

That's how many players were picked during the Major League phase of this year's Rule 5 Draft, held as part of the Winter Meetings. All 18 will be given chances to crack the MLB roster with their new club next year. If a player fails to remain on the 25-man roster for the entire 2018 season, he must be offered back to his original club.

With picks going in order of worst-to-best record from the 2017 season, the Tigers made the first selection, taking No. 18 D-backs prospect Victor Reyes. The 23-year-old outfielder has good speed and a strong arm and should be a solid fourth outfielder for Detroit as it begins its rebuild. A switch hitter, Reyes hit 292/.332/.399 with 18 stolen bases in 126 games last season for Double-A Jackson, but showed little power with only four home runs.

Elsewhere, three clubs ended up with multiple Rule 5 players by the time the dust settled.

The Orioles, who began the day with only 34 players on their 40-man roster, made three selections -- left-hander Nestor Cortes, right-hander Pedro Araujo and right-hander Jose Mesa. All three should get shots to crack Baltimore's bullpen. Cortes and Mesa, in particular, both came from the Yankees system after dominant relief runs in the lower ranks.

The Royals did not make an official selection but did trade for both right-handers Brad Keller and Burch Smith. Keller was Arizona's No. 12 prospect and posted a 4.68 ERA in 130 2/3 innings as a starter at Double-A Jackson. Smith comes from the Rays system and just returned to the mound after missing all of 2015 and 2016 due to elbow surgery.

The Pirates made one pick of their own, taking former Indians right-hander Jordan Milbrath, but also traded 2017-18 international bonus money to the Phillies for Twins right-hander Nick Burdi. The latter has hit triple digits out of the bullpen but underwent Tommy John surgery last May and probably won't be able to make his Major League debut until the middle of the summer, at the earliest.

The most interesting pick might have come from the defending World Series champions. The Astros chose Anthony Gose and made a point to call him a left-handed pitcher. The 27-year-old reached the Majors with the Tigers as an outfielder but moved to the mound in 2017, allowing nine earned runs while striking out 14 in 10 2/3 innings at Class A Advanced Lakeland. He had recently signed a Minor League deal with the Rangers, who had said they'd entertain letting him play both ways, but with Houston's selection, it sounds like he'll be given an immediate chance to crack the Majors as a pitcher.

Here are the rest of the selections made in the Major League and Triple-A portions of the 2017 Rule 5 Draft.

Rule 5 Draft selections
MAJOR LEAGUE ROUND 1
PICK TEAM PLAYER POS OLD ORG 2017 NOTES
1 DET Victor Reyes OF ARI ARI No. 18 prospect; .292/.332/.399, 18 SB at Double-A
2 SF Julian Fernandez RHP COL 3.26 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 57 K, 18 BB in 58 IP at Class A
3 PIT (from PHI) Nick Burdi RHP MIN traded for international money; underwent Tommy John surgery in late May; 0.53 ERA, 20 K in 17 IP at Double-A
4 TEX (from CWS) Carlos Tocci OF PHI traded for cash; PHI No. 23 prospect; .294/.346/.381, 3 HR, 7 3B, 19 2B at Double-A, Triple-A
5 KC (from CIN) Brad Keller RHP ARI traded for PTBNL; ARI No. 12 prospect; 4.68 ERA, 111 K, 57 BB in 130 2/3 IP at Double-A
6 KC (from NYM) Burch Smith RHP TB traded for cash; 2.40 ERA, 56 K, 24 BB across three levels; missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to Tommy John surgery
7 ATL Anyelo Gomez RHP NYY 1.92 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 87 K, 21 BB in 70 1/3 IP across four levels; NYY Org All-Star
8 PIT Jordan Milbrath RHP CLE 3.02 ERA, 63 K, 25 BB in 56 2/3 IP at Class A Advanced, Double-A
9 BAL Nestor Cortes LHP NYY 2.06 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 105 K, 32 BB in 104 2/3 IP across three levels
10 MIA Elieser Hernandez RHP HOU 3.68 ERA, 88 K, 22 BB in 73 1/3 IP at Rookie-level, Class A Advanced
11 SEA Mike Ford 1B NYY .270/.404/.471, 20 HR at Double-A, Triple-A; NYY Org All-star
12 LAA Luke Bard RHP MIN 2.76 ERA, 99 K, 24 BB in 65 1/3 IP at Double-A, Triple-A
13 MIN Tyler Kinley RHP MIA 3.54 ERA, 72 K, 22 BB in 53 1/3 IP at Class A Advanced, Double-A
14 ARI Albert Suarez RHP SF 5.12 ERA, 34 K, 11 BB in 31 2/3 IP in MLB; designated off 40-man earlier in offseason
15 HOU Anthony Gose LHP TEX 7.59 ERA, 14 K, 6 BB in 10 2/3 IP at Class A Advanced Lakeland (DET); signed with TEX in November
MAJOR LEAGUE ROUND 2
16 BAL Pedro Araujo RHP CHC 1.76 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 87 K, 18 BB in 66 2/3 IP at Class A Advanced, Double-A
17 MIA Brett Graves RHP OAK 4.47 ERA, 57 K, 13 BB at Class A Advanced, Double-A
MAJOR LEAGUE ROUND 3
18 BAL Jose Mesa RHP NYY 1.93 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 101 K, 32 BB in 84 IP at Class A Advanced, Double-A
TRIPLE-A ROUND 1
1 SF Eduardo Rivera RHP CIN 1.90 ERA, 33 K, 13 BB in 23 2/3 IP at Class A Short Season (NYY)
2 CWS Yermin Mercedes C BAL .276/.340/.455 16 HR, 20 2B at Class A Advanced, Double-A
3 CIN Mitch Nay 3B TOR .222/.265/.393, 10 HR at Class A
4 NYM Andrew Ely SS CHC .259/.356/.355, 3 HR at Double-A
5 SD Jose Carlos Medina LHP NYM 3.27 ERA, 47 K, 14 BB in 74 1/3 IP at Class A Short Season
6 ATL Skyler Ewing 1B SF .246/.359/.455, 13 HR at Class A
7 OAK Brallan Perez SS BAL .289/.358/.352, 4 HR, 9 SB across three levels; also played in TEX system
8 PIT Damien Magnifico RHP LAA 6.24 ERA, 58 K, 38 BB in 53 1/3 IP at Double-A, Triple-A; played for three organizations; made one MLB appearance
9 BAL Martin Cervenka C SF .278/.343/.418, 8 HR, 4 3B, 24 2B at Class A Advanced
10 TOR Drew Muren RHP SF 3.29 ERA, 45 K, 25 BB in 38 1/3 IP across three levels; also pitched in ARI system
11 MIA B.J. Lopez C ARI .252/.350/.311, 6 2B across three levels
12 SEA Joe Odom C ATL .266/.329/.359, 1 HR at Double-A, Triple-A
13 TEX Locke St. John LHP DET 2.94 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 74 K, 17 BB in 64 1/3 IP at Class A
14 TB Francisco German RHP DET 6.00 ERA, 32 K, 21 BB at Rookie-level, Class A Short Season
15 LAA Riley Unroe SS TB .206/.314/.301, 3 HR, 9 SB at Class A Advanced, Double-A
16 KC Daniel Duarte RHP TEX 1.96 ERA, 32 K, 10 BB in 36 2/3 IP in Mexican League
17 STL Angel Moreno OF TB .229/.290/.288, 5 SB at Class A Advanced
18 MIN Yancarlos Baez RHP NYY 3.51 ERA, 16 K, 7 BB in 25 2/3 IP at Rookie-level; previously played as INF
19 COL Mitch Horacek LHP BAL 3.88 ERA, 68 K, 24 BB in 53 1/3 IP at Class A Advanced
19 NYY Junior Soto OF CLE .172/.208/.408, 9 HR at Class A
20 ARI Jay Gonzalez OF BAL .273/.380/.354, 31 SB at Class A Advanced, Double-A
21 BOS Andy Ferguson RHP KC Pitched only 2 1/3 IP due to injury
22 WAS Jacob Wilson 2B STL .248/.337/.417, 17 HR at Double-A
23 HOU Chris Nunn LHP CHC 4.76 ERA, 14 K, 10 BB in 17 IP at Double-A
24 CHC R.C. Orlan LHP WAS 4.06 ERA, 53 K, 16 BB in 51 IP at Class A Advanced, Double-A
25 LAD Angelo Mora SS BAL .291/.334/.435, 9 HR, 5 SB at Double-A, Triple-A in PHI system
TRIPLE-A ROUND 2
26 SF Wander Franco SS TEX .279/.319/.376, 4 HR, 8 3B, 19 2B, 5 SB at Class A Advanced
27 ATL Tyler Smith SS TEX .231/.321/.330 6 HR at Triple-A; played in 10 MLB games for SEA
28 OAK Carlos Diaz LHP MIA 0.00 ERA, 7 K, 3 BB in 6 1/3 IP at Rookie-level, Class A
29 PIT Rafelin Lorenzo C TB .250/.291/.375, 3 HR at Class A Short Season
30 TOR Alberto Mineo C CHC .278/.374/.358, 4 3B, 20 2B at Class A
31 MIA Sharif Othman C NYY .223/.265/.345, 7 HR at Class A Advanced, Double-A
32 SEA Tyler Baker C ARI .238/.321/.383, 6 HR at Class A, Class A Advanced
34 LAA Matt Ball RHP TEX 5.67 ERA, 38 K, 10 BB in 33 1/3 IP at Class A
35 STL Jean Selmo OF ARI .232/.332/.372 3 HR, 6 3B in DSL
36 MIN Sandy Lugo RHP CIN 5.01 ERA, 88 K, 42 BB at Class A, Class A Advanced
37 ARI Lane Ratliff LHP SEA 5.13 ERA, 33 K, 22 BB in 40 1/3 IP
38 BOS Luke Tendler OF TEX .245/.315/.405, 13 HR at Double-A
39 WAS Kaleb Fleck RHP ARI 5.30 ERA, 55 K, 23 BB in 54 1/3 IP at Triple-A
TRIPLE-A ROUND 3
40 OAK Jaimito Lebron RHP SD 9.72 ERA, 26 K, 13 BB in 25 IP at Rookie-level
41 TOR Ivan Castillo SS CLE .267/.341/.354, 1 HR, 4 SB at Class A Advanced, Double-A
42 MIA Will Allen 1B DET .240/.303/.388, 9 HR at Class A Advanced, Double-A
TRIPLE-A ROUND 4
43 MIA Brandon Barker RHP BAL 4.48 ERA, 109 K, 45 BB in 122 2/3 IP at Double-A, Triple-A

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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