Mets Protect Top Prospect Wheeler, Five Others from Rule 5 Draft
The New York Mets have made their move to avoid losing certain players to next month’s Rule 5 Draft. The first order of business, and rightfully so, was placing their top prospect, RHP Zack Wheeler on the 40-man roster. This protects the Mets from losing Wheeler to any MLB club.
The Rule 5 Draft is held at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn. this year. Under MLB rules, any player that was signed to his first pro contract before they turned 19 and have been with an organization for five years, or who signed after age 19 and has been with an organization four years, is able to be selected by any club, if they are not protected.
The other players that were protected are RHPs Greg Burke, Hansel Robles, Gonzalez Germin, LHP Darin Gorski and IF Wilfredo Tovar. The no-brainer, of course, was protecting Wheeler, who will be a spring training invite, but is not expected to be kept on the opening day roster.
Wheeler last season split his time between the Mets Double-A and Triple-A affiliates and was 12-8 with a 3.26ERA while striking out 148 in 149 innings. Robles was a finalist for MiLB.com Pitcher of the Year Award going 6-1 with a 1.11ERA in 12 starts for Class A Brooklyn, Gorski was the Organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2011 and Tovar was named to the mid-season Florida State League All-Star team.
It is evident throughout the organization that there is a wealth of good, young arms that need development. This is an attribute that too many teams do not have. The infield positions are also full of talented players like Tovar and others that are stalled by major leaguers like Ike Davis, David Wright and Ruben Tejada.
The two areas that the Mets need their help is in the outfield and at catcher, in which the wells seem to be dried up among their minors. Now may be the time to begin unloading some of these young arms to restock in a more balanced way. Let’s hope GM Sandy Alderson, and his scouts, know what they are doing and can set this team up for a brighter future.
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