Don’t Jizz Yourself Over the Padres Rule 5 Draft But It’s OK To Maintain a Partial

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So AJ Preller did it again at the Winter Meetings. Not acquiring Major League talent, honey don’t be silly. This isn’t 2014 and Mike Dee isn’t pulling the strings. It’s 2016 and the Padres are getting ready to battle for 100+ losses as they tank, baby, tank. Following up last year’s performance of drafting four Rule 5 players, AJ’s 2016 Rule 5 draft was described by the Padres Twitterati as “dominating the Rule 5 draft.” DOMINATING! Can you believe it?!?! AJ ended up acquiring the top three draft picks: Miguel Diaz, Luis Torrens and Allen Cordoba. Exciting! I mean, as long as you don’t think about it being the Rule 5 draft.

And here’s the thing. The Rule 5 draft is generally a draft of piles of trash. These are players that were unable to advance in their team’s minor league systems after FIVE YEARS. Teams invested in signing bonuses, development, medical costs, etc. for FIVE YEARS and decided to pull the cord on these players. Sometimes these are players that are just Quad-A players that can’t find a spot on the Major League roster. A lot of these players are guys that haven’t advanced out of A ball after five years, or in the case of Allen Cordoba, haven’t advanced out of Rookie League. But to the Padres credit, they have somewhat of a successful recent history of Rule 5 draftees. Everth Cabrera never advanced beyond A ball, stuck with the Padres for the 2009 season, and eventually rose to the Padres’ token All Star in 2013 before he went off the deep end. And in more recent history, Luis Perdomo, pressed into starting rotation service due to injuries and general awfulness, stuck with the big league club and turned in a wildly inconsistent but somewhat promising performance that has him as the current, likely Opening Day starter. And in the world of Rule 5 picks, two picks sticking and contributing in 7 years is a good performance for a team’s front office.

But this year is different, right? The Padres supposedly DOMINATED the Rule 5 draft. So I wanted to take a look at the top five Rule 5 picks of the last seven years to see how many stick, and if “dominating” the top of a Rule 5 draft really means anything significant for the long term future of the Padres.

2009:

Jamie Hoffmann, John Raynor, Benjamin Snyder, Edgar Osuna, Hector Ambriz
Total WAR: -0.9
There was nothing noteworthy in this Rule 5 draft. They all flamed out.  They were piles of trash.

2010:
Josh Rodriguez, Jose Flores, Joe Paterson, Adrian Rosario, Nathan Adcock
Total WAR: -0.7
Another unsuccessful year for the top picks of the 2010 Rule 5 draft. Nathan Adcock stuck around the longest, enough to accumulate -0.6 WAR over 123 Major League innings. It should be noted that former Padre George Kontos was taken later in the 1st round of the Rule 5 and has been a good RP for the Giants. But this exercise is to see if owning the top of a Rule 5 draft means anything, so it is kind of irrelevant.

2011:
Rhiner Cruz, Terry Doyle, Lucas Luetget, Ryan Flaherty, Cesar Cabral
Total WAR: 0.9
This Rule 5 class is buoyed by Ryan Flaherty who turned in a serviceable 1.5 WAR season for the Orioles as a utility infielder. Alas, none of the other four provided anything positive.

2012:
Josh Fields, Hector Rondon, Danny Rosenbaum, Ryan Pressly, Chris McGuiness
Total WAR: 7.3
This year was big for the Rule 5. Hector Rondon is the clear standout as a key bullpen contributor for the World Series champion Cubs. Rondon has contributed 3.6 WAR already and is positioned to become as valuable, if not more, in the coming years. Fields has been a serviceable pitcher for Houston, and Pressly has been a contributor to the Twins bullpen. This is the high water point for the top of the recent Rule 5 drafts.

2013:
Patrick Schuster, Adrian Neto, Kevin Munson, Tommy Kahnle, Brian Moran
Total WAR: -0.5
Patrick Schuster has turned in some sub-league average performances, and this class hasn’t shown much else.

2014:
Oscar Hernandez, Mark Canha, Delino DeShields Jr., Jason Garcia, J.R. Graham
Total WAR: 2.0
Delino DeShields Jr. turned in a nice year during his Rule 5 year, and Mark Canha put up .9 WAR in his. It should be noted that both players were playing in AA and AAA before they got drafted.

2015:
Tyler Goeddel, Jake Cave, Evan Rutckyj, Luis Perdomo, Colin Walsh
Total WAR: -1.5
Tyler Goeddel turned in an especially bad -1.4 WAR year. Luis Perdomo, during his inconsistent season managed to post a positive 0.2 WAR. At this point, it’s unsure if Perdomo will stick.

So, out of 35 players drafted in the top 5 of the Rule 5 looked at here, 6 players managed to put up positive WAR during their careers. So roughly 1 out of 7 players will do SOMETHING good. Only 1 out of the 35 examined have accrued 3 WAR over their entire career (extend this analysis one year and Everth Cabrera is a 2nd 3 WAR player).  The clear highlight is Hector Rondon who has established himself as a top setup man. The rest of the positive WAR contributors were mediocre at best, with the book still open on Perdomo. So basically, don’t go jizzing yourself over the Padres “dominating” the Rule 5 draft. It means little to nothing, and more often than not, involves disappointment from players that were likely destined for moving on from their baseball careers.
But all hope isn’t lost. There are major success stories. They are few and far between, but and the odds would say it is highly unlikely that one of the Padres three Rule 5 picks will be one of them, but if that lottery ticket hits, you may have a Dan Uggla, George Kontos, Hector Rondon, or Everth Cabrera. And that’s the point here. The Padres are playing to lose next season. They are fielding a minor league team and Wil Myers next season and possibly in 2018 too. They have room to experiment and see if one of the three can contribute. After all, when they lose, they win. So while I’d suggest no one bets their kid’s college fund on any Rule 5 draftee to be successful or a major contributor, and to realize that getting the top 3 Rule 5 draftees has no historical record of adding much to a team’s future. It’s not time to jizz yourself. It’s premature. No need for a sticky mess here. But it’d be OK to be kind of tenting. At least for a while. Just in case.

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One response to “Don’t Jizz Yourself Over the Padres Rule 5 Draft But It’s OK To Maintain a Partial

  1. I envision Preller hanging out at the Miramar landfill watching someone to throw out an old sofa and saying, “hey, I bet I could reupholster this”. Then he finds out it’s full of bedbugs instead of loose change, oh, and it had been on fire and smells like urine and beer. I’d rather him dig around in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela to find a really cool sofa that nobody’s seen and nobody has pissed on.

    Like

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