An Early Look At The A's Rule 5 Situation

Once the major league season comes to an official end, there will be a lot of movement on and off of teams' 40-man rosters as they look to protect prospects from the Rule 5 draft. We take a preliminary look at some of the players the Oakland A's will have to consider adding to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 dtaft.

Before the start of the 2007 season, we took a look at the players who would have to be added to the Oakland A's 40-man roster at the end of the season in order to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. Any player not on the 40-man roster who was drafted in 2004 or earlier who was at least 19 years old at the time he was selected and any player drafted in 2003 or earlier who was at least 18 years or younger at the time he was selected is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this December.

For the A's, this Rule 5 season is of particular significance because the A's had four first round selections and two second round picks in the 2004 draft, all of which were used on college players who were older than 19 when they were selected. Coming into the 2004 season, only two of the A's 2004 picks were on the A's 40-man roster: closer Huston Street and starting pitcher Jason Windsor.

Now that the 2007 campaign is coming to a close, that list has changed, as many of those eligible players have been added to the 40-man during the course of the season. There are a number of players who have been added to the 40-man roster who would have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft, including 2004 picks Danny Putnam, Kurt Suzuki, Kevin Melillo, Dallas Braden and Connor Robertson.

Below we take a look at some of the recognizable names who could potentially be exposed to the Rule 5 draft if they aren't added to the 40-man roster by the November deadline:

Eligible Players of Note (2007 statistics in italics)
Luke Appert: .304/.424/.442, 10 HR, 83 RBI in 125 games. Appert put together his best professional season in 2007. He began the year in Single-A, his third straight in Stockton, and was promoted to Double-A after batting .352 in 46 games for the Ports. He had a nice stretch with Midland, posting a .384 OBP for the Rockhounds over 79 games.

Nick Blasi: .302/.368/.409, 8 HR, 61 RBI in 124 games. Blasi's season has been well-documented. He began the year in High-A Stockton, but spent the bulk of the year in Triple-A Sacramento, with a short stop in Double-A Midland. He won the PCL playoff MVP trophy by hitting better than .400 during the River Cats' title run. Blasi can play all three outfield positions and has some speed, swiping 51 bases in 63 chances over the past three seasons.

Jeremy Brown: .276/.364/.469, 14 HR, 58 RBI. Brown was on the A's 40-man roster each of the last two off-seasons, so this is the first time he could potentially be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Brown had an excellent offensive season and he developed a reputation as a strong clubhouse presence.

Eddie Cornejo: .286/.344/.362, 2 HR, 29 RBI in 67 games. Cornejo was a super-sub for Double-A Midland for much of the season, filling in all over the infield. He spent the last three weeks of the season with Triple-A Sacramento, batting .286 in 28 games for the River Cats. Cornejo can play second, short and third.

Bobby Cramer: (if re-signed) 9-2, 2.77 ERA in 21 games (15 starts). Cramer was signed as a free agent during the season, so he will first have to be re-signed by the A's this off-season. He will also have to be added to the 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. The lefty was dominant during his stints with High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland this season, holding hitters to a .239 BAA and posting a 1.13 WHIP. It was Cramer's first season in professional baseball since 2004.

Tom Everidge: .266/.357/.469, 26 HR, 94 RBI in 134 games. Everidge spent most of the season in Single-A Stockton, but he finished the year off strong in Double-A Midland. Everidge led the California League in homeruns and established a career-high with 94 RBI.

Ben Fritz: 11-11, 5.67 ERA in 28 starts. Fritz spent the season with Double-A Midland and got off to a good start. The former A's 2002 first round pick had an 8-3 record and a 4.20 ERA in an All-Star first half. Fritz slumped to a 3-8 record and a 7.33 ERA after the All-Star break, however.

Jeff Gray: 4-4, 3.34 ERA, 15 SV in 54 games. Gray began the year in Double-A Midland, but after eight scoreless appearances, he was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento. Gray acted as the team's closer for much of August and had a River Cats' team-high 12 saves. He will be competing in the Arizona Fall League, where scouts will get a closer look at Gray's mid-90s fastball.

Brad Knox: 10-7, 4.40 ERA in 27 games (26 starts). Knox was a solid innings eater this season. He started the year in Double-A Midland and was promoted to Triple-A after four starts. Knox didn't strike out many batters (80 in 163.2 innings), but he averaged 6.1 innings an outing and he did an excellent job keeping his pitch counts low.

Myron Leslie: .288/.386/.404, 5 HR, 47 RBI in 108 games. Leslie was with Double-A Midland for the entire 2007 season, his first at Double-A. He played with a sore knee for much of the year, which helped sap some of his power. He did a good job getting on-base. Leslie began his career as a third baseman, but has seen more time recently at first and in the outfield.

Mike Mitchell: 0-1, 6.75 ERA in nine games. Coming off of a strong 2006 campaign that finished with an outstanding AFL season, Mitchell looked like a sure lock to be on the A's at some point in 2007 after he had a stand-out spring. Unfortunately, Mitchell suffered from a partially torn labrum at the end of camp. Mitchell tried to rehab the injury non-surgically and made it back on the field in July. He eventually succumbed to surgery, however. It is likely that he'll miss the start of the 2008 season.

Trent Peterson: 8-9, 4.31 ERA in 30 games (21 starts). Peterson began the year as a swingman for High-A Stockton, but he spent the last two-plus months in Double-A as a starter. Peterson was very tough on lefties, holding them to a .205 BAA.

Gregorio Petit: .292/.348/.380, 6 HR, 59 RBI in 133 games. Petit began the year in Double-A, where he starred for Midland, hitting .306 in 66 games. He was named to the Texas League midseason All-Star team, but he was promoted before the game to Triple-A Sacramento. Petit spent the rest of the season in Triple-A and he hit .315 after struggling for the first two weeks at the higher level.

Landon Powell: .292/.385/.525, 14 HR, 42 RBI in 64 games. In the middle of what looked to be a break-through season, Powell tore his ACL on July 2nd and missed the rest of the season. It is Powell's second ACL tear in his short professional career. He should be recovered by spring training, but there remains questions about whether Powell will be able to continue to catch.

Richie Robnett: .260/.313/.758, 18 HR, 75. Robnett spent the final two weeks of the season and the post-season with Triple-A Sacramento, but spent the bulk of the year in Double-A Midland, where he had a 782 OPS in 120 games and was the Midland team-leader offensively. Robnett struck out 146 times in 130 games.

Steve Sharpe: 3-1, 2.89 ERA, 9 SV, 26 games. Sharpe was in the middle of a fine season for Double-A Midland when he went down with an elbow injury at the start of July. He had surgery on his elbow and will probably be rehabbing at the start of next season.

Brian Snyder: .254/.379/.408, 8 HR, 48 RBI in 111 games The A's 2003 first round pick made the position switch from third base to second base this season. He was a mid-season Texas League All-Star for Midland, as he had an 848 OPS before the All-Star break. Snyder slumped in the second half to the tune of a 696 OPS. It was his first full season at Double-A after splitting the 2006 season between Double-A and Single-A.

Vasili Spanos: .276/.326/.431, 10 HR, 52 RBI in 100 games. Spanos had an uncharacteristically tough time getting on base this season. He struggled with injuries off and on. Like Snyder, Spanos had a strong first half (816 OPS and a Texas League All-Star bid), but a poor second half (684 OPS).

Brian Stavisky: .260/.322/.442, 3 HR, 19 RBI in 28 games. Stavisky's season was almost entirely lost to injury after he tore ligaments in his hand in late April. He returned in time to play six games in High-A Stockton and the final few games in Triple-A Sacramento. Stavisky was an important part of the River Cats' offense during their PCL Championship Series. He is a career .310 hitter in five-plus minor league seasons.

Brad Ziegler: (if re-signed) 12-3, 2.41 ERA, 2 SV in 50 games. Ziegler is a minor league free agent, so he'll have to re-sign with Oakland to remain with the organization and the A's will then have to add him to the 40-man roster to protect him. He had a strong season, his first as a side-arm reliever. Ziegler began the year in Double-A Midland, but he spent the final three-plus months in Triple-A. He established a career-high in wins and held opposing batters to a .227 BAA.

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