The Dodgers and other MLB teams must decide by Tuesday which prospects to protect who are rule five draft eligible. The Dodgers have some tough decisions to make.
The 2018 rule five draft is scheduled for Thursday, December 13th at the MLB winter meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada. For a thorough explanation of the rule five draft, here is a good site. In short, the Dodgers have a handful of prospects in their organization that they must add to their forty man roster by Tuesday or teams can select them in the rule five draft.
If a Dodger prospect is picked in the rule five draft, then the opposing team must keep them on their active big league roster for the entire 2019 season or they have to be offered back to the Dodgers. In order to make room for some of their prospects, the Dodgers are going to have to cut some people from their current roster. Here is a rundown on the prospects facing rule 5 eligibility:
Keibert Ruiz – Catcher – 2nd ranked Dodger prospect
This is an obvious move that will be made for the Dodgers as they will protect one of the crown jewels of their farm system. Ruiz is the Dodgers’ catcher of the future and second-ranked prospect behind only Alex Verdugo. While Ruiz is at least one more year away, he is the catcher of the future and a lock to be protected.
Yadier Alvarez – Pitcher – 10th ranked Dodger prospect
Perhaps the most frustrating Dodger prospect of them all. Alvarez missed time this season after abandoning his teammates and although he features a stellar fastball he has never seemed to put it all together in the minor leagues. This season Alvarez posted a 4.66 ERA for the Tulsa Drillers after posting a 1.29 ERA in the Arizona rookie league. Alvarez still has some value so the Dodgers will protect him.
Edwin Rios – First baseman – 13th ranked Dodger prospect
All Rios does is rake. After hitting 27 home runs in 2016 and 24 home runs in 2017, Rios hit 10 homers in only 88 games this season. Rios was limited by injuries but when healthy he was back to his usual self. Rios is listed as a first baseman but he has played parts of third base and the outfield. He may be better suited to be a designated hitter which makes it questionable if the Dodgers will protect him. They could try to deal him to an AL club.
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Drew Jackson – Shortstop – 19th ranked Dodger prospect
Jackson is on the older side for the minor leagues as he will turn 26 years old next season. He is in the Chris Taylor mold as he played second base, shortstop, and centerfield in 2018. Drew Jackson also set a career high for home runs with fifteen home runs for the Tulsa Drillers this season. While Jackson is not a lock to be protected he is still valuable depth so there is a good chance the Dodgers add him to their forty man roster.
Matt Beaty – First/Third baseman – 21st ranked Dodger prospect
Like Drew Jackson, Matt Beaty is another older minor leaguer who will turn twenty-six years old next season. Beaty is also a utility man who has played first base, third base, and outfield this past season. After cranking fifteen homers in Double-A a year ago, Beaty was limited to just 34 games this season with almost all of them coming with the Triple-A Dodgers. Beaty will likely be left unprotected as he is older and coming off a down season.
Cristian Santana – Third baseman – 24th ranked Dodger prospect
The soon to be 22-year-old lead the entire Dodgers minor league system with 109 RBI’s for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes this season. Santana also blasted 24 home runs to put together a monster season in Single-A. The Dodgers will protect their talented young third baseman who will likely spend the 2019 season with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers.
Andrew Sopko – Pitcher – 29th ranked Dodger prospect
The 24-year-old reliever posted a 3.52 ERA across Single-A and Double-A this season. While Sopko’s stats are nothing special he is a handy younger bullpen arm that the Dodgers could try to protect by non-tendering a player like Zac Rosscup. Like Beaty, the Dodgers could choose to leave him unprotected and risk another team plucking him away.