With the Rule 5 Draft coming up next month, teams had until yesterday to add minor league players to the 40-man roster to protect them from being drafted by competing teams.
This is an odd little nuance the MLB has over any other league. The reason for this is to keep teams from hoarding young talent in the minors, without giving them a shot at the main stage.
The rule is actually very simple, any player who was signed at 18 years old must be added to the 40-man roster within five seasons or they become available for other teams to draft them. There are disadvantages to drafting players as well. If a player is drafted by another team, that player has to remain on the team’s 25-man roster for the entire season, or he gets returned to his original team.
So, what did the Los Angeles Dodgers do?
Pretty much what every other team did and added at least their two top prospects to the 40-man roster. Both Mitchell White, the team’s 9th ranked prospect, and D.J. Peters, the number 12 prospect, was protected. No surprise there. What did seem questionable was the addition of Zach McKinstry over Cristian Santana and Jordan Sheffield.
Santana is the more intriguing prospect to many, including myself, who has a great bat and a glove that plays best at third, but also good enough to play second or even shortstop. While he still may go unselected in the draft next month, it’s a big risk to a team without a long term plan at third base.
That is, unless Andrew Friedman and the team are fully intent on moving Justin Turner to first base, and welcoming in a player to play third on a four or five-year contract who is going to have a significant impact. See: Anthony Rendon. If you can read between the lines, this has the makings of exactly that.
Why waste a kids talent in the minors, if you know you are going to sign a free agent who will essentially block him until he is in his mid 20’s?
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