Winter Meetings Links
1. Houston (later traded to San Diego): Patrick Schuster, LHP, Diamondbacks
Schuster fits in the grouping of low arm slot pitcher that's potential matchup lefty reliever, one of the more successful types of Rule 5 picks. He got his share of attention throwing four straight no hitters in high school, but is more of a deception and funk type guy than power arm. The 23 year old throws just above sidearm and has fringy to average stuff across the board with good feel and the sink on his heater for a solid ground ball rate, though he hasn't gotten out of A-ball yet and has to be too cute with right handed hitters, raising his walk rate.
3. White Sox: Adrian Nieto, C, Nationals
Nieto has the most draft pedigree of this crop as a 5th rounder that signed for $376,000 out of powerhouse Florida prep program American Heritage, where he was teammates with two first rounders (Royals 1B Eric Hosmer and Red Sox SS Deven Marrero) on a historically-talented high school team that won a National Championship. The Cuban defector has moved slow and had his share of injuries and while never that athletic, he's stiffened a bit since signing as well. He has above average arm strength and is a fine receiver with gap power and some feel to hit. If he isn't picked, he would be 24 and getting his first taste of AA in 2014 after a strong 2013 campaign in High-A and the Arizona Fall League. The fit would be as a cheap backup catcher for club short on low-cost options that hopes Nieto's 2013 portends more health and consistency going forward.
4. Phillies: Kevin Munson, RHP, Diamondbacks
Stuff has been up and down since turning pro, but these days works 91-94 mph with a solid average slider. He's also had better results than many potential targets, with good strikeout and ground ball rates, including a solid AAA campaign at age 24 last year.
8. Rockies: Tommy Kahnle, RHP, Yankees
Husky 6'1 righty is 93-97 mph when he's right with inconsistent slider that's above average at times, a changeup that's solid average at times and fringy command with some AA success at age 23 last year. The stuff is here for success, though the command still needs work and he's a flyable type of pitcher who may have trouble at altitude.
9. Blue Jays (later traded to Angels): Brian Moran, LHP, Mariners
Brian is the older brother of 2013 Marlins 1st rounder Colin Moran and fits into the Rule 5 group of excellent numbers and deception but fringy stuff. The 25 year old had with great numbers as high as AAA last year (12.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9), but Moran has a high 80's fastball with fringy off speed stuff and enough funk to give lefties fits at the big league level, likely just as a lefty matchup guy.
10. Mets (later traded to Dodgers): Seth Rosin, RHP, Phillies
Rosin has some pedigree, signing in the 4th round of the 2010 draft out of Minnesota for just under $200,000 with the Giants and later being a part of the Hunter Pence deal. The 6'6/250 righty has unusually good control for his size and repeats his delivery well with a fastball that works 90-93 and a three pitch mix. The stuff is average to slightly above but the heater can be straight and the strikeout and walk rates have become more ordinary at the upper levels, a sign his luck may be running out, though the 25 year old was solid at AA last year.
11. Brewers: Wei-Chung Wang, LHP, Pirates
Taiwanese lefty signed with the Pirates for $350,000 two years ago at age 19, but failed a physical, had the deal voided and re-signed with the Pirates for $50,000. That series of events makes him instantly Rule 5 eligible but it wasn't until this year that he threw in an American minor league. Wang went 47.1 innings in the GCL with a sterling 42-2 K-BB ratio at age 21. The Brewers likely targeted him as a guy to see this year in case he was excellent and Wang was up to 95 mph at his best with a three pitch mix. Wang is farther from the big leagues than other Rule 5 eligibles lefties with similar stuff, but has more command, upside and a chance to start long-term if the Brewers can carve out of role for him in 2014 and hold onto his rights.
15. Diamondbacks: Marcos Mateo, RHP, Cubs
Mateo is recovering from an elbow injury after a stint in the big leagues for the Cubs in 2011. He's creating buzz in the Dominican Winter League with his lively arm that's regularly into the mid 90's with hard slider, but short track record of success and health, also turning 30 in 2014.
16. Orioles: Michael Almanzar, 3B, Red Sox
Almanzar signed for $1.5 million as a high-profile July 2nd prospect in the Dominican in 2007, but slowly has lost athleticism over the years. He projects as a corner utility guy that's just okay at third base, has above average raw power, but his looseness, contact ability and plate discipline can be lacking. At age 22 in AA last season, he hit .268/.328/.432, so he's closer to reasonably contributing than many other Rule 5 targeted bats, giving him a shot to stick.