Oakland A's MLN: Rule 5 Preview

Over the next several weeks, the Oakland A's will be making a number of adjustments to their 40-man roster, designating players for assignment to make room for prospects who have to be added to the team's 40-man roster to be protected from this December's Rule 5 draft. In advance of this activity, we preview the players who could be protected from the Rule 5 draft in the upcoming weeks.

The Rule 5 Draft Rules

Any player not on a team's 40-man roster who signed his first professional contract in 2005 or earlier who was at least 19 years old at the time he signed and any player who signed his first professional contract in 2004 or earlier who was at least 18 years or younger at the time he signed is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this December.

Teams select in draft order until all teams have declined to select players. Once a player is selected from an organization, that organization can pull back another eligible player to be protected. Teams that select a player must keep that player on their 25-man roster for the entire regular season or offer him back to his original team. Teams generally set their rosters in advance of the 40-man roster in late November.

Notable A's Minor Leaguers Who Could Be Eligible for Rule 5 Draft

2005 Draft Class

Anthony Recker: Recker spent the entire season with the Double-A Midland Rockhounds, hitting .274 with 11 homers and a 783 OPS. This spring, he was invited to his first big league camp and played well. He will be competing in the Dominican Winter League this off-season. Recker is a solid catching prospect, but it will be interesting to see if the A's add him to the roster with Kurt Suzuki, Rob Bowen and Landon Powell already on the roster. Either Bowen or Powell might need to be dropped to make room for Recker.

Mike Madsen: After a break-through 2007 campaign that saw him go 11-5 with a 3.84 ERA at three levels and make a trip to the MLB All-Star Futures Game, Madsen missed most of the 2008 season with a sore elbow. Healthy, Madsen would be an attractive target for pitching poor organizations, but his murky health picture could keep Madsen safely A's property even without protection.

Brad Kilby: The Northern California native has quietly put together consistently excellent numbers as a lefty reliever. Kilby was solid again in 2008, where he spent his first season at the Triple-A level. He held all opposing batters to a .202 BA and lefties to a .163 clip while striking out 66 and posting a 3.47 ERA in 70 innings. Kilby also pitched well last fall at the Arizona Fall League. He is exactly the kind of player that teams often take risks on in the Rule 5 draft, so if he isn't protected, Kilby could be a target.

James Shull: The talent right-hander has missed virtually all of the last two seasons with arm and shoulder injuries, and he has made only one start at the High-A level in his career. The fourth round pick is currently the highest pick from the 2005 draft eligible for Oakland.

Mike Massaro: The versatile outfielder appeared at three levels this season – High-A, Double-A and Triple-A – and he hit .307 with a 724 OPS. In his first taste of Triple-A, Massaro batted .280 in 15 games.

2004 Draft Class

Danny Putnam: Putnam was protected on the A's 40-man roster last season during the Rule 5 draft, but he was dropped off of the roster in January. The outfielder had a resurgent season in 2008, spending much of the year with Triple-A Sacramento. In 89 games for the River Cats, he hit .276 with 15 homers and an 877 OPS. The former first round pick could be an attractive candidate to a team looking for a left-handed bat off of the bench if he isn't added back onto the A's roster

Jason Windsor: The former A's right-hander missed a full year after undergoing shoulder surgery in 2007. He made 11 starts during the second half of the 2008 season, posting an 8.41 ERA for Double-A Midland and the A's Rookie League club.

Ryan Webb; A high school pick in 2004, Webb will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time this season. The 22-year-old spent the year with Double-A Midland, going 9-8 with a 5.19 ERA. It didn't show in his numbers, but Webb had better stuff this season (his fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s) as he has begun to grow into his 6'6'' frame.

Tom Everidge: Everidge had a standout season with Midland in 2008, hitting 22 homers and a Texas League-best 115 RBIs. He was eligible for the Rule 5 last season, but his profile around baseball should be higher this season after playing well for the Rockhounds.

Myron Leslie: Leslie repeated at Midland this season, but his numbers were down in 2008. He hit a career-low .248 and managed only a .344 OBP after posting a .386 OBP the year before.

Steve Sharpe: Sharpe had Tommy John surgery in 2007 and only made it back on the field for the Rockhounds in July. He posted a 7.84 ERA in 19 outings after posting a 2.89 ERA in 2007 for Midland before getting hurt.

2003 Draft Class

James Heuser: Heuser moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen this season with High-A Stockton. He also changed his throwing motion to go from a more sidearm angle. He went 9-3 with a 4.53 ERA and 103 strike-outs in 95.1 innings.

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