The season is (mercifully) nearly over. There are some of us who, instead of being tormented by Boston’s poor play, took solace in the relatively decent play of the Red Sox’ minor league affiliates.
The minor league season has been over for a while now, and we have gotten a taste of a few of the players the high minors had to offer. Come December, the Red Sox will have to make some choices regarding some players in their minor league system and decide who is worth adding to their 40-man roster.
The Rule 5 Draft comes sweeping in every December and picking teams get to select players from within any other teams system. Never fear, they can’t go picking Rafael Devers or Trey Ball. According to SoxProspects.com players are “first subject to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft in the fourth or fifth draft following the date of that player’s original minor league contract. Whether that player will be eligible in the fourth or fifth year depends on that player’s age at the time of his original contract.” So while some of Boston’s top prospects are off the board, there are some who are still left.
SoxProspects.com has an extensive list of every Red Sox player eligible for this year’s draft: Mario Alcantara, Jonathan Aro, David Chester, Keith Couch, Sean Coyle, William Cuevas, Jacob Dahlstrand, Keury De La Cruz, Luis Diaz, Jason Garcia, Matt Gedman, Sergio Gomez, Dreily Guerrero, Chris Hernandez, Jayson Hernandez, Williams Jerez, Ellis Jimenez, Matty Johnson, Zach Kapstein, Aaron Kurcz, Mike McCarthy, Matty Ott, Mickey Pena, Aneudis Peralta, Oscar Perez, Kendrick Perkins, Carlos Pinales, Noe Ramirez, Henry Ramos, Tim Roberson, Eduardo Rodriguez, Robby Scott, Travis Shaw, David Sopilka, Blake Swihart, Jose Vinicio, Shannon Wilkerson, Madison Younginer.
Of that list, only a small handful might be added to the 40-man and likely an even smaller handful could get selected in one of the draft phases. Last year, the Red Sox lost only Michael Almanzar to the Orioles, only to have him returned and then subsequently traded back to Baltimore.
There are three guys who are likely definite locks to be protected. Blake Swihart, Sean Coyle and Eduardo Rodriguez. Obviously, nothing is set in stone and any one of these guys could be traded or otherwise shipped out. But for now, this is my list. Conveniently, this also works out because Boston has three spots opening up on the roster, those vacated by Burke Badenhop, David Ross and Koji Uehara. That’s not to say more places won’t open, or even that these guys are goners, but hey convenience is my middle name.
Swihart is a top-50 prospect and is arguably the best catching prospect in the game, though I’m an Austin Hedges guy myself. Coyle will probably get the addition just thanks to his upside and the monster season he had this year, following a down year. And Rodriguez will definitely get the nod thanks to his pure annihilation of the eastern league once coming over from the Orioles.
The two other guys I can see getting consideration are Travis Shaw and Noe Ramirez. I think Ryan Lavarnway‘s days are numbered so a Shaw addition wouldn’t really surprise me. And Ramirez would just be another valuable bullpen arm, though he hasnt ever been above Double-A.
Obviously there are people who get paid way more than I do who will actually make these calls. But going with my gut tells me it’s going to be those three for sure. There may be a couple of dark horses on that list, but I guess we wont know until that day comes.