Purchased the Contracts of RHSP Fausto Carmona, RHSP Jake Dittler, and OF Franklin Gutierrez
No big surprises here. Carmona, Dittler, and Gutierrez are all legimate top prospects; I’d rank Carmona and Guierrez in the Tribe’s top 5 prospects, and Dittler would be solidly in my top 10. As we’ve seen in the past, the Indians are going to get some prospects plucked in the Rule 5 draft. Guys like Jason Cooper and Pat Osborn are certainly the more high-profile players unprotected, but you have to consider how many Rule 5 prospects are used as middle infielders or backup catchers or relief pitchers. I’d be very surprised if Jason Cooper gets selected; he struggled in AA this season, and isn’t the athletic, toolsy player that tends to be picked. Shea Douglas would be the prototypical Rule 5 pick (left-handed, high strikeout rates), but he injured his shoulder late this year. Eider Torres might be a good bet to be picked; he’s speedy and plays a middle infield position. Obviously Ivan Ochoa can easily be taken and stowed as a backup infielder as well. Pat Osborn may get some attention because he did play some shortstop while at Kinston. A sleeper pick would be Joe Inglett; he’s fairly old for a prospect, but he’s posted fantastic on-base numbers as a second baseman.
This begs the question….why don’t the Indians protect more if they always get hammered in the Rule 5 draft? Because frankly, the club that drafts a player has to jump through a lot of hoops to hold onto him. Of the four players selected from the Indians last year, two were offered back, and two were kept. The year before, three of the four were eventually returned. Of this year’s “class” of eligibles, I’d really only be upset about losing maybe two; Pat Osborn and Jason Cooper. As I said before, Cooper doesn’t fit the profile of a Rule 5 pick; he’s slow, he’s not a good defensive player, and he hasn’t had success at AA or AAA. Osborn hasn’t even seen AA, and has spent a lot of his three years in professional baseball on the disabled list. Dittler, Gutierrez, and Carmona were by far the right choices to protect.