The Tigers will be adding some players to their 40 man roster by no later than Thursday, November 20. That is the last day to add players to the roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, which will take place in San Diego on December 11, the last day of the winter meetings.
This time last year, the Tigers added seven players to their 40 man roster: Jose Valdez, Daniel Fields, Jordan Lennerton, Kyle Lobstein, Justin Miller, Steven Moya, and Eugenio Suarez.
As you can see, these roster additions are not insignificant moves. Of the seven, five are still on the 40 man roster, and four were called up to Detroit at some point during the 2014 season. To make room for those players on the roster, the Tigers waived Matt Tuiasosopo and Darin Downs, who were both claimed by other teams. The Tigers did not make a selection in the Rule 5 draft last year, and did not lose any players in the draft.
Most of those on the list were accurately forecast to be added to the roster by scouts who follow the Tigers’ organization. Justin Miller was a complete surprise, but he wound up spending some quality time in Detroit before being outrighted and electing free agency after the season.
Players eligible for the Rule 5 draft will be those who signed their first pro contract in 2011, or those who first signed in 2010 but were under the age of 19 at the time. The organization that signed these younger players has an extra year before they have to be placed on the 40 man roster.
Despite several players leaving via free agency,the Tigers currently have 38 players on the 40 man roster, so they'd have to remove players to make room for more than two new, young additions.
Here is the full list of players in the Tigers organization who will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Credit goes to Eddie Bajek for diligently keeping this list up to date.
|Edgar De La Rosa||Lakeland||RHP|
|Francisco Contreras||West Michigan||3B|
|Jeff Holm||West Michigan||1B/OF|
|Montreal Robertson||West Michigan||RHP|
|Samuel Crafort||GCL Tigers||OF|
|Brenny Paulino||GCL Tigers||RHP|
|Alwin Delgado||DSL Tigers||SS|
|Vijandrick Jacobs||DSL Tigers||LHP|
|Victor Ovalles||DSL Tigers||DH|
So, which of these players are the Tigers likely to add to the roster?
I asked Jordan Gorosh on twitter this question, and got this response:
Dixon Machado, shortstop. Machado has been through this before. After being signed as a 16 year old from Venezuela, he was added to the roster in November, 2012, and optioned to the minors in 2013. After the 2013 season, he was outrighted off the roster after clearing waivers- and not being selected in the Rule 5 draft, to make room for Joe Nathan. Machado was sent back to Lakeland to start the season. He has always had the glove, but after posting a line of .305 .391 .442 .832 last year in Erie, he is one to protect.
Angel Nesbitt, relief pitcher. A 23 year old right hander from Venezuela, Nesbitt moved from Lakeland to Erie last season, posting a combined ERA of 1.48 and a WHIP of 0.99 in 66-2/3 innings of work. He has a fastball in the mid 90's, reportedly touching 98 at times. Nesbitt was ranked 17th among Tigers' prospects by mlb.com I already like him more than some of the relievers in the bullpen last summer.
Edgar DeLaRosa, pitcher. A 24 year old starting pitcher from the Dominican Republic, DLR has slowly but surely been climbing the ladder, spending last summer in Lakeland, where he posted a 3.30 ERA with a WHIP of 1.22 in 139 innings of work. He’s not a strikeout artist, and his numbers don’t scream "call me up", but he might need to be protected from a team that’s willing to wait him out.
Guido Knudson, a 25 year old right handed relief pitcher out of UC San Diego, split the season between Lakeland and Erie last summer. Going strictly on numbers, which the Tigers won’t, a 4.26 ERA and 1.38 WHIP at the double- A level isn’t all that impressive.
Mike Belfiore, pitcher. The Tigers claimed the 26 year old left handed relief pitcher off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles at the beginning of last season. After he got off to a rough start, he was outrighted off the Tigers’ 40 man roster and spent the summer in Toledo. A former first round selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Belfiore wound up being shifted back into the rotation and having a decent second half of the season. He’s my pick to be this year’s Justin Miller, if there is one.
Endrys Briceno was the fourth rated prospect in the Tigers’ organization by Jordan Gorosh last spring. Unfortunately, he suffered a season ending injury and is not expected back to start the season. A team that claims him would not get credit for time on the disabled list, and would have to go two seasons with him on the major league roster. That’s not going to happen, so he’ll rehab as a Tiger next year.
The Tigers know what players other teams are interested in, and which players might need to be protected. Keep in mind that a player who is selected must remain on the 25 man major league roster for an entire season, or must be offered back to his former club and clear waivers before he can be sent down to the minor leagues. Not many clubs have a major league roster spot to use up for a player who isn’t going to contribute much all season.
After each club submits their 40 man rosters to the league office by Thursday, some names may not be on the protected list that the Tigers could be interested in. The next Roberto Clemente could be on his way to Detroit.