With the deadline to add minor league players to the 40-man roster coming up on November 20, let's look at who's eligible, and more importantly, who needs to be protected.
The Atlanta Braves already has its hands full with trying to sort out its major league club, as the 2020 offseason is now in full swing. However, there are still a few dilemmas that pertain to the organization's minor league system… and one of them is the Rule 5 Draft.
The Rule 5 Draft comes around every December — this year it's December 12 — as an unofficial ending to MLB's Winter Meetings.
This draft allows teams with open slots on their 40-man to fill them by selecting long-time minor leaguers players from other organizations... if they want to keep them in the majors for the entire year.
The draft operates similar to the MLB Draft in June every year, except the Rule 5 Draft order runs in reverse order of the standings from the previous season.
You can read more about all of the various details regarding the Rule 5 Draft, here. But I want to look at the draft as it pertains to the Braves.
This year there are 25 Braves minor leaguers that are eligible to be selected in the draft. The parameters for Rule 5 eligibility are as follows:
Players who signed with their current club at age 18 or younger and have played professionally for at least five years are eligible to be selected, as are those who signed at 19 or older and have at least four years of professional experience.
The list of Braves
Below is the list of all 25 Braves minor leaguers that are eligible for the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, including the minor league level I believe they'll start at in 2020:
- Cristian Pache
- Jonathan Morales
- Jason Creasy
- Luis Marte
- Sean Kazmar Jr.
- Tucker Davidson
- Phillip Pfeifer
- Jose Rafael De Paula
- Corbin Clouse
- Bradley Roney
- Ryan Casteel
- Riley Unroe
- Thomas Burrows
- Josh Graham
- William Contreras
- Ray-Patrick Didder
- Jasseel De La Cruz
- Kurt Hoekstra
- Justin Kelly (UPDATE: No longer in the Braves system. Released in May)
- Nick Shumpert (UPDATE: No longer in the Braves system)
Now, obviously not all of the players above can be protected. And for those of you that don't know… protected simply means to be added to the 40-man roster, which in turn, protects the player from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft.
As you look through the list, several players stand out as obvious guys to protect: Cristian Pache, Tucker Davidson, William Contreras, Jasseel De La Cruz and Thomas Burrows; and maybe even pitchers Brandon White, Philip Pfeifer and Corbin Clouse.
Though the kicker is that the Braves can't just load up all of the players they like and put 'em on the 40-man. There's not enough room, as the 2020 roster is still in the beginning stages of construction.
However, usually a team has a few slots it stands to burn on these protection adds, and this off-season I expect the Braves to protect at least half of those eight players I listed.
Last offseason the Braves protected four players — Patrick Weigel, Huascar Ynoa, Jacob Webb and Alex Jackson; all rather obvious picks. Thankfully, this season shouldn't be too difficult, either, save for a few pitchers that would hurt a little if they were picked up.
With General Manager meetings set to take place next week in Scottsdale, AR; and the start of MLB's yearly Owners Meetings the week after that (in Arlington, TX), the Braves have plenty of time to compile its list of players to protect.
The deadline to set the rosters is November 20.