10 Prospects The New York Mets Could Protect From The Rule 5 Draft

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10 Prospects The New York Mets Could Protect From The Rule 5 Draft

10 Prospects The New York Mets Could Protect From The Rule 5 Draft
Brad Penner - USATODAY Sports

In just a few weeks time, the highlight of the Major League Baseball offseason, The Winter Meetings, will get underway. As usual, the meetings will conclude with The Rule 5 Draft, a complicated but necessary part of the MLB rulebook that prevents teams from stockpiling too much talent in the minor leagues. Teams have until November 20 to add minor leaguers to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from being selected. If selected, a player must stay in the major leagues for the entire season, or else be offered back to their original team.

The New York Mets, like every other team in baseball, have a large assortment of prospects that are eligible to be selected. Most will be left unprotected and go completely ignored by other teams, as there aren’t usually a lot of players selected. However, the Rule 5 Draft is a minor detail that can make a major impact, and needs to taken seriously. After all, players like Johan Santana, Jayson Werth, R.A. Dickey and Jose Bautista have come out of the Rule 5 Draft and gone on to have great big league careers.

The bind that the Mets find themselves in this year is that they have a lot of prospects that need to be protected, but little roster space available, especially if they plan on signing free agents and making noteworthy trades this offseason. The Mets probably won’t be taking anybody in Rule 5 this year, but they have plenty of players that they will need to consider protecting. The Mets won’t have room for everyone, but here are 10 prospects the Mets will consider protecting.

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10. Darrell Ceciliani, Outfielder

Darrell Ceciliani, Outfielder
Joe Camporeale - USATODAY Sports

Ceciliani has a nice skill set and could draw some interest from teams if left unprotected, which he probably will be. He’s had trouble staying healthy for a full season, which has held back his development and kept him from being closer to the big leagues. The Mets will give some consideration to protecting him, but ultimately they don’t have enough space for him, and because he’s likely nothing more than a fourth outfielder in the big leagues, there’s no need to make space for him.

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9. Jacob deGrom, Pitcher

Jacob deGrom, Pitcher
Twitter.com/JdeGrom19

There’s no way the Mets will allow deGrom to go unprotected. He’s one of their top pitching prospects after finishing the 2013 season in triple-A. The Mets will need him in 2014 to either provide rotation depth in triple-A or be a hard-throwing part of their bullpen. He’s a shoe-in to be added to the 40-man roster.

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8. Erik Goeddel, Pitcher

Erik Goeddel, Pitcher
Joe Camporeale - USATODAY Sports

Goeddel is an interesting case; he probably doesn’t warrant protection considering the Mets’ roster jam, but his stuff is good enough for a team to draft him in Rule 5 and put him in the bullpen for a season, which is where he’ll probably end up anyway. He has a chance to have two above-average, if not plus pitches, especially if he is able to transition to pitching out of the bullpen with consistency. The Mets would like to keep him, but they don’t have the roster space to protect him, so he’ll be exposed to Rule 5 and there will be teams that consider taking him.

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7. Darin Gorski, Pitcher

Darin Gorski, Pitcher
Brad Barr - USATODAY Sports

The Mets protected Gorski last year only to remove him from the roster later, and now they have to make a decision about protecting him again. He struggled in four outings at triple-A, but had a phenomenal season at double-A, putting up a 1.83 ERA in 13 starts. The Mets probably won’t protect him again this year, but it’s certainly something they’ll have to consider because he could last an entire season of a big league roster if taken in the Rule 5 Draft.

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6. Steven Matz, Pitcher

Steven Matz, Pitcher
Brad Penner - USATODAY Sports

Matz has three levels in the minor leagues to get through before reaching the big leagues, which would make it tough for him to last an entire season on a major league roster, but the Mets can’t afford to risk it and leave him unprotected. He was able to stay healthy for an entire season for the first time in his professional career in 2013 and emerged as one of the Mets top five pitching prospects, arguably one of their top three. It could be another couple of years until Matz reaches the big leagues, but he’s worth protecting from the Rule 5 Draft; he could be special.

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5. Bret Mitchell, Pitcher

Bret Mitchell, Pitcher
Joe Camporeale - USATODAY Sports

Mitchell lost all of 2012 due to injury, so he’s behind where he should be, and is yet to make it out of A-ball. However, he had a great season in 2013 and dominated A-ball, putting him on the Mets’ radar. It would be a stretch for a team to take him in the Rule 5 Draft, but he would be an easy guy to hide in a bullpen for a full season, which is why the Mets will consider protecting him.

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4. Greg Peavey, Pitcher

Greg Peavey, Pitcher
Joe Camporeale - USATODAY Sports

There has been some speculation that Peavey could get added, but it’s probably unlikely. He spent most of the season pitching out of the triple-A bullpen, and he does have good velocity in short outings, but the Mets shouldn’t be afraid of losing him.

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3. Aderlin Rodriguez, Third Base

Aderlin Rodriguez, Third Base
Joe Camporeale - USATODAY Sports

The Mets passed on protecting Rodriguez last year, but they’ll have to reconsider that again this year. Rodriguez has the most raw power potential of any prospect the Mets have, which could make him an enticing pick in the Rule 5 Draft, especially for an American League team. After missing most of the 2013 season due to injury, teams may be hesitant to take him in the Rule 5 Draft, which means the Mets may be able to get away with leaving him unprotected.

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2. Cory Vaughn, Outfielder

Cory Vaughn, Outfielder
Brad Penner - USATODAY Sports

The Mets had high hopes for Vaughn when they drafted him, but it hasn’t worked out quite as they planned. They sent him to the Arizona Fall League to audition for a spot on the 40-man roster, but in the end he probably doesn’t get protected. Vaughn strikes out way too much and will probably end up being nothing more than a platoon player in the big leagues, and he’s just not worth a roster spot at this point.

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1. Jeff Walters, Pitcher

Jeff Walters, Pitcher
Brad Penner - USATODAY Sports

Walters is a virtual lock to be added to the roster. He saved 38 games in double-A this season, showed good control, and struck out over a batter an inning. He has a plus fastball that he throws in the mid 90’s and a big league slider, and he should have a fair shot at breaking camp next year as a part of the Mets’ major league bullpen, and there’s no way the Mets will let someone steal him in the Rule 5 Draft.

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