Will Dodgers Jump Into Rule 5 Mix?

When the Rule 5 draft was held a year ago, it turned out to be a most unusual day for the Dodgers. For one thing, they didn't draft anybody. On the major league level that's not surprising; it's more the norm. However, on the minor league level, they usually pick up a player or two or three but this time, nada.

Nor did any other club select a player from the Dodger list. They usually get raked over pretty good but in 2006 they didn't lose a man. So the day was a wash for the Dodgers; nothing in, nothing out.

That's primarily because of a rules change that allowed clubs an extra year in protecting prospects. It was upped from four to five years before those signed from high school could be draft-eligible and from three to four in the case of college-age players.

Thus, some that they had originally felt had to be be protected were in the clear for another year. This, in turn, allowed them to pull up some players that otherwise would have been left out there. In the Dodger case, the likes of pitchers Zach Hammes and Mike Megrew were placed on the 40-man roster.

Now as draft day is upon us, things are back to normal as those who were granted that extra year now must be brought up or risk losing. And Hammes and Megrew have been outrighted to Las Vegas so this time they're available.

Not that either is a prime target although the players the Dodgers are more likely to lose are pitchers- righthander Jesus Castillo and lefthander Wesley Wright getting the most attention.

Castillo had been considered a good prospect until elbow surgery cramped his style. He seemed slow to come back this past summer at Inland Empire so was left out there. However, he's been throwing very well in winter ball and interest has revived.

Wright may look like he's a member of the Bad News Bears (he's charitably listed at 5-11, 160) but he throws like a big man. He piled up some impressive innings for Jacksonville but faltered at Vegas; not that that's unusual.

Lefthander Cody White is another pitcher which could go as well. As for position players, outfielder Jamie Hoffmann hit .309 at Inland Empire while another outfielder, Anthony Raglani, bashed 21 homers for Jacksonville. If someone wants to dig deep, there's first baseman Eduardo Perez, who hit .311 for Great Lakes, or outfielder Alfredo Silvero, who led the Gulf Coast League in batting and RBI.

As for the Dodgers themselves, they might be tempted to take an extra pitcher. That's what they did the last time they drafted - in 2004 when they selected D. J. Houlton. They have the roster room if so inclined with 38 currently listed.

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