The Rule 5 Draft marks the conclusion of the Winter Meetings each season, and while there weren't any highly notable selections in 2011, there have been several big names to come from the draft over the years. Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla, Shane Victorino and even Roberto Clemente have all been products of the Rule 5 Draft. Still, the adding of an extra year of player protection five years took much of the fizz out of the draft. Last season, Ryan Flaherty, Rhiner Cruz, Marwin Gonzalez and Lucas Luetge all lasted the full season with their new teams.
Here's a preview of the draft with some of the names you can likely expect to see selected...
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has his Top 20 Rule 5 Draft Prospects with scouting reports for each posted free to the public. The Indians, Red Sox, Nationals, Mets, and Dodgers all have members of their Top 20 Prospects lists (according to Mayo) available in the draft.
- Baseball America's J.J. Cooper and John Manuel provide a two-part (Part 1, Part 2) Rule 5 Draft preview (subscription required and highly recommended).
- If you're not into paying for that sort of thing, fear not! Manuel also has a free preview in which he identifies Rays lefty Braulio Lara and Dodgers right-hander Jose Dominguez as the top two names of the crop. Manuel reports that the Astros are rumored to take Lara with the No. 1 pick. Both flamethrowers have touched 100 mph, but Dominguez is facing a 25-game suspension for violating the drug-treatment program.
- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow hasn't ruled out selecting two players in this year's Rule 5 Draft again, writes MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com provides an overview of how the draft works and also lists some Orioles players who could be selected this year.