This morning at the Winter Meetings, the Orioles selected two players from the Rule 5 draft; both of which are outfielders.
The rules for the Rule 5 draft can be somewhat complicated but thankfully, Fangraphs has a page dedicated to explaining the draft better than I ever could.
The Rule 5 Draft occurs in three phases, the MLB phase, where eligible players can be selected and placed on the 25-man roster for a $50,000 fee, and the Triple-A and Double-A phases, where players can be selected for a fee if they are not on the protected list, but in this phase, they do not need to go to the 25-man roster.
If a team removes a player from the MLB 25-man roster before the end of the year, the player must pass through waivers and then be offered back to the original team. Only if the original team does not want the player can the organization demote the player to the minor leagues. Drafted players can be and often are traded, but the Rule 5 rules apply to the new team just the same (unless it is the player’s original, pre-draft team).
The Orioles selected Aneury Tavarez, an outfielder from the Red Sox organization, with their first pick and Anthony Santander, another outfielder but from the Indians organization, with their second pick.
In 2016, Tavarez played 106 games at Double-A Portland and six games at Triple-A Pawtucket where in the 111 games total, he had a slash line of .330/.374/.495 with 7 HR’s, 47 RBI’s and a K% around 15%.
Tavarez has spent the majority of his time in the minors playing right field, a very weak spot on the Orioles club. He is also a left handed hitter; another factor the Orioles are taking into consideration when looking for an outfielder.
As for their second pick, Anthony Santander, he is another outfielder but the highest level he has reached in the minor leagues in High-A. In 128 games for Lynchburg in 2016, Santander had a slash line of .290/.368/.494 with 20 home runs, 95 RBI’s and a K% around 20.5%.
Santander has spent all of his time in the outfield in the minors while mostly playing left field but with the flexibility of playing right field as well.
The current 40 man roster for the Orioles had four other Rule 5 selection before today which includes Ryan Flaherty, Jason Garcia, T.J. McFarland and Joey Rickard. Logan Verrett was once a Rule 5 selection for the O’s but Garcia was picked to go on the 25 man roster in 2015 over him.
The O’s also selected Jefri Hernandez, a right handed pitcher from the Reds organization, and Brian Moran, a left handed pitcher from the Braves organization, in the minor league phase of the draft. They do not have to be placed on the 25 man roster to stay on the team.