Unprotected Rule 5 Position Players

After granting Jamie D'Antona his release, the Arizona Diamondbacks now have room to acquire two players in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, or possibly more if one of their own unprotected players gets selected. Here are some of the top position players that will be available to the D-backs on December 11th.

For possible Rule 5 pitchers that the Diamondbacks could acquire, click here.

For the Diamondbacks' list of Rule 5 eligible players, click here.

Baltimore Orioles

Mike Costanzo (3B) - Once a highly touted prospect in the Phillies organization, Costanzo went to Houston as part of the Brad Lidge deal last November and then wound up in Baltimore as part of the Miguel Tejeda deal. In his first season at Triple-A, Costanzo's power numbers dipped, but a lot of that could be attributed to playing at Harbor Park with their sometimes ferocious winds blowing in. He's got raw power and is a hard worker, looking to cut down on his strikeouts. He's playing in Puerto Rico to continue learning to play at first base and behind the plate, increasing his versatility and value.

Boston Red Sox

Bubba Bell (OF) - The 26 year old Bell spent his first full season at Double-A in 2008 and hit .285 with 13 home runs at Double-A Portland. Bell is more than willing to use the entire field to drop in hits and is very selective at the plate. He could be a nice pick for a club that would be willing to take him along for the ride in 2009.

Cleveland Indians

Bronson Sardinha (OF) - In 2007, the Yankees briefly brought Sardinha to the majors and he then went on to sign with Seattle and then Cleveland during a mixed-up 2008. A first-round pick by New York in 2001, the lefty hitter spent most of this past summer at Double-A Akron at age 25. Primarily a corner outfielder, Sardinha hasn't shown much more than average numbers in the minors.

Ryan Goleski (OF) - After being picked by Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 two years ago, Goleski was traded to Oakland, but sent back to the Indians after failing to make the A's roster. Goleski hit .306 with 27 homers and 106 RBI in 2006 and was excited to get a big-league chance in Oakland. He's struggled mightily since and would welcome a fresh start elsewhere, but probably has no chance of making a big-league roster out of training camp. The 26 year old played primarily at Double-A in 2008 and hit .249 with 12 home runs.

Detroit Tigers

Will Rhymes (2B) - Many draw comparisons to David Eckstein when they talk about Rhymes. The 25 year old played most of the season at Double-A Erie before finishing his season with six games at Triple-A Toledo. Combined, he hit .307 and also played 16 games at shortstop this season.

James Skelton (C) - It can be tough for teams to hide a catcher on their roster all season, but Skelton might be worth a shot. He spent some time (24 games) at Double-A this season and is just 23 years old. He's got a good bat and a .292 average over five minor league seasons and threw out 39% of the runners attempting to run off of him in 2008 and 43% the year before. He needs a little work on blocking balls in the dirt, but he works well with pitchers and can control a game well.

Los Angeles Angels

Brad Coon (OF) - Coon is a speedy center fielder who has great plate awareness and is a terror on the base paths. Coon, who turns 26 on the day of the Rule 5 Draft (December 11), hit .306 at Salt Lake.

Bobby Wilson (C) - Wilson has some pop at the plate and is a solid defensive player that pitchers enjoy throwing to. The 25 year old was with the big league club for a total of 7 games in 2008 and hit .312 at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Milwaukee Brewers

Lou Palmisano (C) - Palmisano would be an unlikely choice for a team to make. He's only reached the Double-A level, but was at High-A Brevard County in 2008 where he hit .306 in 19 games.

Brendan Katin (OF) - A 25 year old corner outfielder, Katin has good power and hit 19 home runs at Triple-A Nashville in 2008, following up on his career-high mark of 24 at Double-A Huntsville in 2007. His defensive skills are a little weak and he might be best drafted by an American League team that might be able to get some use out of his bat.

New York Mets

Jose Coronado (SS) – The Double-A shortstop does not offer too much at the plate, but he owns the most sound defensive skills at the upper levels of the Mets system.  He has good range, quick feet, a strong arm and is very smooth around the bag when turning a double-play.  His bat could turn off clubs from selecting him, but if a team is looking for defensive insurance at shortstop, there is very little risk in picking Coronado.   

Shawn Bowman (3B) – After being sidelined by a major back injury for much of the previous two seasons, Bowman returned to the field for 55 games in 2008 and hit a combined .290 with four home runs and 21 RBI across High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton.  Soon to be 24, Bowman, who just missed out on the Mets 40-man roster, is the highest rated Mets prospect that is Rule 5 eligible.  Health remains a legitimate question mark for the third baseman, but his ability to use the whole field and hit for power, plus a big arm on the hot corner, could entice clubs to select him.  He hit .297 with two home runs and seven RBI in nine games in the Arizona Fall League.

New York Yankees

Kyle Anson (C) - Big-time big league plate discipline [he has more walks than strikeouts every year in college and in the pros] and a cannon for an arm.  He was a great defensive third baseman three years ago but he doesn't hit for much power so they moved him to catcher.  The biggest knocks on him are his below average power and his inability to stay healthy, but he is a great catch-and-throw guy who could develop into a Bill Mueller type offensively if he can stay healthy.  The other knock on him is he hasn't played at Double-A or higher yet but he still has a good chance of being selected because the plate discipline and catch-and-throw would allow him to not be overmatched, and backup catchers are easy to stash on a big league roster for an entire year.

The other guys exposed are [2B, 3B, SS] Reegie Corona and [SS] Ramiro Pena.  Both are big league ready right now defensively, with Pena arguably better than half of the big league shortstops defensively, but Corona is the more prepared of the two offensively.

Oakland Athletics

Danny Putnam (OF) - In 2007, Oakland brought Putnam to the big league club for 11 games and he hit .214 in his audition there. In five minor league seasons, he's hit .274 and averaged 11 home runs per season. He posted an .878 OPS for Triple-A Sacramento in 2008.

Anthony Recker (C) - Recker has shown good power in the minors and is a career .270 hitter through four minor league seasons. He struggled when the A's promoted him to Double-A during the 2007 season, so he repeated the level this past season and showed good improvement. For his experience, Recker is well disciplined at the plate and will work the count to his favor, but he's 25 and hasn't played above Double-A, so some teams may shy away from him a little because it would tough to hide him on the roster.

Philadelphia Phillies

Javon Moran (OF) - He's got plenty of speed and good awareness at the plate. Moran reached Triple-A Lehigh Valley for 13 games and hit .303 in his visit with the IronPigs. He swiped a total of 24 bases in 2008 and a career-high of 31 the year before. His success rate on stealing bases is at 72% for his career, but is at 78% over his past two seasons.

Jeremy Slayden (OF) - Slayden is a tough-nosed player that projects as a potential fourth or fifth outfielder in the majors. The 26 year old spent his first season at Double-A in 2008 and responded with a 17-81-.298 campaign. It would be a long shot that he would be major league ready, but outfielders can sometimes hang on a roster, so he might be worth a shot.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Brad Corley (OF) - Corley, who turns 25 next month, hit .265 at Double-A Altoona in 2008. The Pirates like his power potential and see him as a guy who can drive in runs. He figures to be able to hit to all fields and has shortened his swing, but because he's not very disciplined at the plate, he still gets himself out a lot swinging at bad pitches, especially high fastballs. He's got a strong arm, good speed and enough range to play in right field.

Jason Delaney (1B/OF) - After setting the Boston College record for career hits (256) during his college days, Delaney struggled a little in his first short-season stint with the Pirates. After that first exposure though, he started to settle in and his offense has been strong and he's shown a knack for putting the bat on the ball. He hit 16 home runs in 2007, but has just 16 combined for his other two full-season stints and would likely need to develop more power without disrupting his hitting approach at the plate in order to be deemed a success.

Jamie Romak (OF/1B) - Has shown a lot of power (73 HR), but has also shown a lot of strikeouts (447) over his six years in the minors. Romak is still just 23 and played 33 games at the Double-A level last season, hitting .208 with seven home runs in 120 at bats, so if he isn't drafted, he'll likely return to Double-A Altoona for the Pirates.

Washington Nationals

Ryan Langerhans (OF) - If there is a team looking for an extra outfielder, Langerhans would be a good pick. He's an average player, but will chip in with a nice hit here and there and if nothing else, he's been around the majors and knows what to expect.

Pete Orr (IF) - Orr played 49 games in the majors last season and was at least respectable. He can play second, third, short and in the outfield, so he gives a team some versatility, even if it comes with just average production at the plate.

Jorge Padilla (OF) - While he's not a great prospect, the 29 year old has tons of minor league experience, including all or part of four seasons at Triple-A where he holds a .279 career average. He can play both corner outfield spots well and has at least an average arm. After 11 seasons in the minors, he's one of those guys that just deserves a shot somewhere.

Contributing to this article were Keith Glab (SoxHardball.com - Chicago White Sox), Tyler Hissey (RaysDigest.com - Tampa Bay Rays), Chuck Hixson (Philly Baseball News - Philadelphia Phillies), Steve Holley (InsideTheIvy.com - Chicago Cubs), Melissa Lockard (OaklandClubhouse.com - Oakland A's), Todd Mishler (BrewerUpdate.com - Milwaukee Brewers), Chuck Murr (Indians Ink - Cleveland Indians), Denis Savage (FutureHalos.com - LA Angels and MadFriars.com - San Diego Padres), Jon Star (Inside Pitch - NY Mets), Patrick Teale (PinstripesPlus.com - NY Yankees), George Von Benko (PiratesDugout.com - Pittsburgh Pirates), Brian Walton (The Birdhouse - St. Louis Cardinals), Paul Wezner (TigsTown.com - Detroit Tigers) and Jay Zenz (DC Baseball News - Washington Nationals).

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