Saved From the Draft

There are some discouraged players around the system today. That would be those who were looking forward to being promoted to the 40-man roster next month for their time, they thought, had come. Now, though, the new Basic Agreement allows teams to keep players in the minors one more year than before- five years for those drafted at age 18 or younger, four years for those signed at 19 or older.

"You mean it's going to go into effect right now? " queried one who was affected. "I thought they'd do it with just the new guys."

It's not only true for the Dodgers, it's the case for everybody. And that means they not only don't have to bring up the sure-pop candidates but, can wait some more on the borderline cases.

Like Mark Alexander. Of course, his record would seem to indicate he had to be protected. He had 26 saves with a 0.96 ERA, for crying out loud. There were 72 strikeouts in 47 innings. What else do you want from a guy?

Still, there were those prepared to argue that while he did just fine in the Southern League, he doesn't appear to have enough to succeed up on top. This is no Jonathan Broxton, armed with upper 90's heat, they say. This is a 5-11, 190-pound guy who depends on a curve and guile.

Whatever would have been the outcome of that argument, it won't have to take place immediately for Alexander has just finished his third year out of the University of Missouri so he's no longer going to be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year.

Nor will they have to debate those who had been considered prospects but who had undistinguished seasons. Like outfielder Anthony Raglani, who hit only 244 for Jacksonville, or first baseman Cory Dunlap, who can't seem to get out of A ball. They don't have to worry about some who did very well but did it at a low level like righthander Jesus Castillo, who pitched marvelously but who did it at Ogden. Now he'll get a chance to show what he can do at a higher level before they need make a decision on protecting him.

There's more including, of course, those that had no hope of being called up. For some, now, an invitation to spring training as a non-roster invitee is the best they can hope for in spring 2007.

The list of those in the Dodger organization, who would have become eligible for the Rule 5 draft, if not promoted but, who are now exempt for one more year:

Lefthanded pitchers-- Jorge Castillo, Ramon Parades, David Pfeiffer, Miguel Sanfler, Justin Simmons, Cody White.

Righthanded pitchers-- Brain Akin, Alexander, Jesus Castillo, Francisco Felix, Mario Gracia, Nate Hochgesang, Casey Hoorelbeke, James McDonald, Joey Norrito, Sebastian Pena, Jordan Pratt, Eduardo Quintana, Miguel Ramirez, Heriberto Rodriguez, Mauricio Tequida, Cory Wade.

Catcher-- Juan Apodaca.

First Base-- Dunlap, David Sutherland.

Infielders-- Tony Abreu, Cole Bruce, Travis Denker, Elian Herrera, Chin-Lung Hu, Francisco Lizarraga, Russell Mitchell, David Nicholson.

Outfielders-- Lucas May, Xavier Paul, Raglani, Jovanny Rosario.

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