Yesterday, we took stock of the results of the most recent Rule 5 draft, which resulted in five players sticking with their new organizations by holding a roster spot all year long (and three others staying around by other means). Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper puts those results in context, explaining that it was a fairly typical success rate by historical measure, though the last four years all saw a higher percentage of players kept. He also looks at some of the players who had substantial major league impact in 2016 despite being passed over in the draft last winter. Cooper’s BA colleague Matt Eddy also takes a close look at some of the minute details of Rule 5 eligibility, focusing on the case of Mariners lefty Luiz Gohara — who won’t need to be protected by being added to Seattle’s 40-man roster because he was assigned to the now-defunct Venezuelan Summer League upon signing. Eddy goes on to explain the importance of future Rule 5 eligibility to the international market, where players sign at a much younger age — often forcing tough, early decisions on their organizations.
Here are a few more notes from around the game:
- It’s tough to deny that relievers are playing an ever-more notable role in this year’s postseason, as Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight and Dave Cameron of Fangraphs explore. Though Arthur notes that the run-scoring gap between the postseason and regular season isn’t much different than usual, Cameron argues that hitters are performing worse than ever thanks to aggressive bullpen usage.
- As Arthur suggests in his piece, postseason trends can be reflected in regular seasons that come thereafter. (Of course, as Orioles reliever Zach Britton explains in an interesting chat with Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com, it’s much easier to push high-leverage arms in the postseason because there are more built-in off-days.) In this case, the value of employing a variety of high-octane pen arms might be reflected on a free agent market that offers several top-end relievers. ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden argues, further, that there may be a related impact on free agent starters. Obviously, the weak crop of rotation pieces available this winter will lead to a much lower overall outlay on starters than we saw in the last free agent class. Beyond that, though, Bowden says that a shift northward in relievers’ value, along with improved defensive positioning, will weaken market demand for back-end starters whose primary appeal lies in the ability to gobble up innings.
- The looming idea of an international draft has led to many warnings about its possible ramifications, and Latin American “trainers” are among the groups who are most concerned. Ben Badler of Baseball America looked at the subject a few years back. It isn’t a universal viewpoint, Badler noted, but many trainers, agents, and also team personnel have expressed worry that a draft is being negotiated by a union that doesn’t truly represent the young amateur players whose future will be impacted by any decision. Badler’s piece represents a worthwhile look at some of the viewpoints of people who live and work in the areas that will be directly impacted by any changes to the system, focusing on the trainers who exercise significant influence over players who seek opportunities with major league organizations.