The Rays lost a few players and added one through the rule 5 draft. We take a look at each and the impact it has on the Rays depth chart.
You can get a full rundown of who took who in the rule 5 draft here, from Baseball America. Here’s a list of those that impacted the Rays and what it means for the future.
Phillies selection 1st overall – Tyler Goeddel – OF – TB
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Goeddel was a 1st rd selection in 2011 (41st overall) and had his first year in AA in 2015, hitting .279/.350/.433 with 39 extra-base hits and 28 SB in 473 AB.
Because we believe strongly in his skills, we don’t expect to see Goeddel back with the Rays. His power/speed combination and defensive abilities will work well in Philadelphia and he’ll likely add depth to another rule 5 selection in Odubel Herrera. The likely use for him will be in LF, splitting time with Cody Asche or stealing the job from him outright.
The interesting thing with Goeddel is that while he spent most of his time in 2015 in LF and RF, he does have experience playing 3B, which increase his flexibility for the Phillies.
Impact for Rays: with Steven Souza, Kevin Kiermaier, Desmond Jennings, Brandon Guyer, and Mikie Mahtook all ahead of him, it was hard to see him have an impact with the Rays in 2016. He may have been the first OF called up – or the next on our list – but there’s also a chance that Taylor Motter would have gotten the call. Lower down in the minors Garrett Whitley is expected to rocket through the minors, and Johnny Field, Justin Williams, and Joe McCarthy provide depth between SS and AA. In short, the Rays OF looks deep enough even after these two losses.
Orioles selection 15th overall – Joey Rickard – OF – TB
Joey Rickard has some time in AAA, something that may help him stick with the Orioles. However, he’ll be battling the likes of Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, and Ryan Flaherty for playing time. If the O’s are also able to get Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo to split time at 1B/DH, there won’t be much room left for the likes of Rickard.
Where Rickard does have an edge, however, is that he can be a decent option off-the-bench since he hits extremely well and he can also cover all 3 OF spots. He has enough speed to be an option to get a late run across, and keeping him aboard would allow them to keep their closest-to-the-majors OF Mike Yastrzemski in AAA. Really not sure at this point if Rickard will stick it out with the O’s, but he’s got the tools to be an asset for them off-the-bench.
Rays selection 14th overall – Adam Kolarek – LHP – BAL
Kolarek spent 2015 as a reliever in AA for the Orioles and managed a 4.70 ERA / 67 IP / 59 H / 28 BB / 51 SO / 1.299 Whip
With the possibility of relievers being deal this offseason, including LHR Jacob McGee, the rays decided to increase their depth at the position. It’s hard to tell how well Kolarek will do with the Rays, but he has improved by a fair margin year-over-year. They may see something in him that they know they can improve and that will get him to perform better.
Kolarek was not listed on MLB.com’s top 30 Orioles prospects list.
Marlins selection 5th overall – Maxx Tissenbaum – C – TB
Tissenbaum was not on most people’s radars as a top Rays C prospect but he did manage a decent 2015 in HiA. The Canadian catcher hit .257/.337/.318 for Charlotte. He only threw out 28% of runners but did manage a much more impressive 43% in 2014. His defensive capabilities are definitely what attracted the Marlins to him and he could surprise many if the bat can come around more.
The catcher position is a very deep one in TB. Justin O’Conner is almost ready for MLB play, and Chris Betts, Nick Ciuffo, David Rodriguez and Rene Pinto all offer depth that is likely envied by other teams.
Rays selection 11th overall – Yoel Espinal – RHP – NYY
Espinal managed a total of 68 IP / 60 H / 55 BB / 69 SO / 6.09 ERA / 1.691 Whip
It’s important to note that most of his struggles were as a starter. He did manage a .218/.374/.327 line as a reliever. However, Espinal is a big, long project for the Rays that will take a long time to come to fruition. He has a lot to work on and won’t be making an impact on the big club anytime soon. With his control being the most severe issue to this point, look for the Rays to attack that part first.
All-in-all this was not a great rule 5 draft for the Rays. Not only did the team lose much of its almost MLB-ready depth in the OF, but they failed to add anyone that may have an impact in 2016. Of note, however, is the fact that the Rays had a full 40-man roster in order to protect players that would have otherwise been selected in this draft. That occurred when TB added Taylor Guerrieri, Blake Snell, German Marquez, Taylor Motter, and Jacob Faria to the 40-man roster.
If you ask me, they made the right calls there and I’m much rather lose those they lost than any of the 5 added to the 40-man in November. With that in mind, don’t be too hard on the Rays. They did their best with the limitations they had.