Who Says Things Should be in 10’s and 5’s?

If you understood the reference in the title of this blog post, I commend you. It’s from a show called Sports Night, which aired from 1998-2000 on ABC and was another quality series by Aaron Sorkin.  The title of this post was in reference to feeling the need to celebrate anniversaries and big moments only when they occur in 10’s and 5’s (not the 42nd or the 47th), which was a point brought up by one of the show’s characters when trying to run a 49th anniversary special on “The Shot Heard Round the World”.  Since this post will concern itself with the Rule 5 and the Top-10 prospects in the Pirates system, I thought it was an appropriate time to at least ponder the topic…well now I digress.

It’s a busy week in the baseball world with 40-man rosters having to be finalized by the end of the day today (November 20) in preparation for this year’s Rule 5 draft. What is the Rule 5 draft….

The Rule 5 draft

The Rule 5 draft is not like the Rule-4 draft, which most common baseball fans know about but under a different name. That draft is simply the MLB draft (or amateur draft) that is held in early June of each calendar year but no one refers to it as the Rule-4 draft.  Is it because people are only comfortable with things in 10’s and 5’s…. (probably not).  Nonetheless, the Rule-5 draft takes place during the last day of the Winter Meetings (a Thursday), which are normally held in the first or second week of December. This year’s draft will take place on December 12 and will unofficially conclude the Winter Meetings (which we’ll be attending) in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin.

How the draft works: 
Teams pick in reverse order of the regular-season standings. Another caveat, teams must have 40-man spots vacant to participate in the Rule 5 draft. If you do not, you cannot make a selection (in the MLB phase anyways).

– If your team (for example we’ll use our parent club the Pirates) selects a player from another team in the MLB phase of the Rule 5, they must keep that player on their 25-man roster for the duration of the upcoming season and the selected player must remain active – DL time does not count – for a minimum of 90 days). In this example, the Pirates must also pay $50,000 to the team they took him from.  If the Pirates do not meet the minimum requirements listed above, they must offer him back to his original club for $25,000. If the original club declines to take him back, then that player can go on waivers.

Any player that is selected in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 automatically is placed on the 40-man roster.

Who is eligible in the Rule 5?
Firstly, not just any minor league player can be taken.  An eligible player must NOT be on his parent club’s 40-man roster and meet one of the following two criteria to be eligible:
– Players who are signed when they were 19 years of age (or older) and have played professional baseball for a period of four years.
– Players who are signed when they were 18 years of age (or younger) and have played professional baseball for a period of five years.

The Different Phases of the Draft
There are also a Triple-A phase and a Double-A phase of the Rule 5 and players selected in these rounds do not need to be added to the parent club’s 40-man roster or remain on an active 25-man roster. There are cash breakdowns for these levels as well, though
– If a player is selected from the Triple-A reserve list, the team claiming him must pay his former team $12,000
– If a player is selected from the Double-A reserve list, the team claiming him must pay his former team $4,000

That’s pretty much the gist of the draft and it still might be a tad overwhelming but when mentioned you’ll now know what the draft is and what it’s all about. It is put in place so that organizations don’t stockpile talent in the minor leagues and some of it can find its way to the big leagues with a different organization.

One of the most famous players to have been taken in the Rule 5 was Roberto Clemente.  More recently, Josh Hamilton and Dan Uggla are a few other notable names.

As said above, the Pirates have some decisions to make as to who to protect by placing them on their MLB 40-man roster. For a solid list of players available, check out this article written by Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) that also covers some more Rule 5 information


Baseball America Top-10 Pirates’ Prospects

Gregory Polanco is the best prospect in the Pirates' system according to Baseball America (Photo: Mark Olson)
Gregory Polanco is the best prospect in the Pirates’ system according to Baseball America (Photo: Mark Olson)


The collective minds at Baseball America reveal the Top-10 prospects in a team’s organization and a few days ago they named the Pirates Top-10 prospects.  For the full read up, you can click here.  Listed below are the Top-10

1. Gregory Polanco (OF) – Curve 2013
2. Jameson Taillon (RHP) – Curve 2012-13
3. Tyler Glasnow (RHP)
4. Austin Meadows (OF)
5. Nick Kingham (RHP) – Curve 2013
6. Alen Hanson (SS) – Curve 2013
7. Josh Bell (OF)
8. Reese McGuire (C)
9. Harold Ramirez (OF)
10. Luis Heredia (RHP)

As you can see from the list, four of the 10 have already spent some time in Curve, Pa. and we could see one or two back for 2014 plus the possibility of a few others maybe making their way to Curve, Pa. at some point later in the 2014 campaign.

The Affiliation Station

It also became official today that the Pirates newest minor league affiliate in Bristol (Appy League) will be known as the Bristol Pirates. With the addition of another affiliate earlier this month, here is a look at what the Pirates minor league system currently looks like.

Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A, International League)
Altoona Curve (Double-A, Eastern League)
Bradenton Marauders (High-A/Advanced-A, Florida State League)
West Virginia Power (Low-A, South Atlantic League)
Jamestown Jammers (Short-Season A, New York-Penn League)
Bristol Pirates (Rookie, Appalachian League)
GCL Pirates (Rookie, Gulf Coast League)

This blog has gone on long enough…Until next time

— Mike


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