The last MLB expansion draft took place on November 18th, 1997. Each of the 28 existing teams was able to initially protect 15 players, with the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks mostly alternating picks to fill their new rosters.
The first round consisted of one player being taken from each of the 28 teams, giving the Devil Rays and D’Backs 14 players each. At that point, each of the 28 teams was able to protect an additional three players. After the completion of the second round, each team added another three players to their protected list. In the third round, the Rays and D’Backs would each take an additional seven players, with each new club ending up with 35 in total.
Detailed rules can be found here, but basically each team’s best prospects were not eligible for the draft. Still, about a quarter of the players chosen were minor leaguers. Also, players with no-trade clauses or ten-and-five rights had to be put on protected lists unless they waived those rights. And there would be no reason to protect players eligible for free agency.
We thought it would be fun to determine each team’s current 15-player protected list, as if a new two-team expansion draft is scheduled for November. For simplicity’s sake, only players with MLB experience will be eligible for our mock expansion draft.
We’ll begin by shaping the Yankees’ 15-player protected list.
Free agents James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, DJ LeMahieu, J.A. Happ, and Brett Gardner will be excluded. Gardner has a club option the Yankees might like to pick up, but we’ll assume they don’t have to burn a protected spot on him.
Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aroldis Chapman automatically take up three of the 15 spots due to their no-trade rights. That leaves 12 more players to protect. The MLBTR staff generally agreed that these eight additional players should be protected:
That leaves four spots for these 16 players:
With that, we turn it over to the MLBTR readership! In the poll below, please select exactly four players that you think the Yankees should protect in our upcoming mock expansion draft. Click here to view the results.