Saturday, December 10, 2016

What Did the Yankees Lose in the Rule 5 Draft?

This is the busiest and most stressful, and wonderful of course as the Christmas song states, time of the year for me and my family. For that I apologize because I am a bit behind on my news so this morning and for most of today I’ll be trying to play catch up a bit. We begin with the Rule 5 Draft that happened on Thursday which saw the Yankees lose seven of their players to other teams, four in the Major League phase and three in the Minor League phase.

In the Major League phase the Cincinnati Reds took catcher Luis Torrens second overall and immediately traded him to the San Diego Padres, the Arizona Diamondbacks took RHP Tyler Jones 7th, the Milwaukee Brewers took LHP Caleb Smith 9th and immediately traded him to the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates took LHP Tyler Webb 13th. Meanwhile in the minor league phase the Tampa Bay Rays took RHP Ty Hensley 4th, the Kansas City Royals took RHP Kelvin Magallanes 15th and the Chicago Cubs took infielder Kevin Cornelius.

Losing Torrens hurts a bit as he was once thought of to be the Yankees best catcher in the system, including Kyle Higashioka and Gary Sanchez. Torrens hasn’t hit much and he has missed parts or all of the last two seasons with shoulder injuries (torn labrum surgery) but he is still just 20-years old and was ranked as high as 17th on Yankees Top 20 Prospects lists by and Baseball America. I can’t see how a player who has played just 49 games in Low-A Ball can stick on a roster for an entire season, especially in the National League, and I can’t see why they would want him to as that would surely stunt his development in a huge way but there may be some sort of loophole or under-the-table type agreement where the Yankees are offered him back and refuse or something like that. Who knows?

Losing Webb, a MLB-ready left-handed relief pitcher, isn’t the biggest loss but that’s what I am saying now. Give the Yankees bullpen another injury or three and we may be all missing Webb here in a few months. He was almost a lock to be picked and he isn’t coming back without an injury or an implosion in Spring Training. Good luck to him in Pittsburgh.

Smith is also a left-handed reliever but he hasn’t pitched above Double-A during his minor league career. He is going to be a tough “stick” on the defending World Series champs roster but at this point in the game it doesn’t hurt to try. The Cubs obviously see something in him that other teams did not or they wouldn’t have used their selection on him.

Moving on to the minor league phase and the loss of Ty Hensley. As a fan and as a follower of his true determination, hard work and class this is crushing to me personally to lose him. I have the utmost respect for him and his family, especially his wonderful mother, but on the baseball side of things I don’t know whether to be upset or not. Since being drafted in 2012 Hensley has thrown just 42.1 professional innings and is not in the middle of rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery since the draft. Throw a few other injuries on that pile including a hip and a hernia surgery and Houston, well now Tampa, we have a problem.

Magallanes is in Rookie ball and admittedly a name I had never heard before the draft while Cornelius is an organizational depth player at this point for the Cubs. They aren’t huge losses yet I hope they prove me wrong and get the playing time they need while in Kansas City and Chicago respectively.

As a reminder the four players in the Major League phase have to stick on the team’s 25 man roster all season long or they have to be offered back to the New York Yankees. This is not the case obviously in the Minor League phase, Hensley and company are no longer members of the organization going forward.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)