First, an explanation:
Players who signed at age 18 years old or younger in 2011 or earlier and players who signed at 19 or older in 2012 or earlier are eligible for the Rule 5 draft if they were left off their team’s 40-man roster. Anyone taken in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft must be kept on the major league roster for all of the 2016 season or be offered back to their original club.
Yep, that’ll do. Now, which former Valley Leaguers were named in the article? Here are the writeups that accompanied each (former Valley League) player. (J.J. Cooper wrote all of these!)
- Eric Stamets (Haymarket 2010), ss, Indians (24 (years old)): If you know what you’re getting, Stamets could be a smart pick for a team lacking in upper-level shortstop talent. Stamets is an above-average shortstop defensively. But the team picking him would also have to accept that he’s unlikely to hit at all. For his minor league career, Stamets has hit .257/.311/.343.
- Jacob Wilson (Luray 2009), 2b/3b, Cardinals (25): A righthanded hitter with significant power for a middle infielder (18 home runs last season between Double-A and Triple-A), Wilson has some defensive versatility as he’s an above-average defender at second and third base with an above-average arm. He can play a little bit of outfield as well, adding to his versatility. He did struggle to make contact this past season, but that power could get him picked.
- Austin Adams (Staunton 2011), rhp, Angels (24): It’s very easy to understand why the Angels left Adams unprotected, even if they had room to spare on the 40-man roster. Adams walked 47 batters in 54 innings this past season. That wasn’t an aberration as he’s walked nearly seven batters per nine innings during his career. But his combination of a 92-93 mph two-seamer, 94-97 mph four-seamer and an exceptional slider also means he misses bats—he’s struck out 11.3 per nine innings for his career. That plus stuff could still entice a team to take a chance.
- Chris Devenski (Woodstock 2011), rhp, Astros (25): Devenski has the coolest pitch in the Rule 5 draft, as he gets his strikeouts with what he calls his “changeup of death.” Devenski profiles as a spot starter, low-leverage reliever after a very solid season (7-4, 3.01) at Double-A Corpus Christi that he capped with a win in the Triple-A National Championship for Fresno.