In the Rule 5 Draft there are always a considerable amount of minor league arms to roll the dice on, some covered in my prior post, but there are also some position players who are definitely worth considering too.
Here’s a look at some of the most notable position players available in this year’s edition of the Rule 5 Draft, with their 2010 MLB parent club in parentheses:
IF/OF Corey Wimberly (Athletics):
Initially taken in the 6th round of the 2005 draft by the Rockies, Wimberly spent the entire 2010 season playing for the AAA Sacramento River Cats in the Pacific Coast League. Wimberly had an impressive season, compiling a .284/.373/.354 line to go along with 3 HR, 57 RBI, and a whopping 56 stolen bases. He also showed patience at the plate, only striking out 64 times in 135 games.
Wimberly, 27, manned five positions last year as well: 2B, SS, 3B, LF, and CF. A seemingly versatile player, the Jays could take a chance on him as a utility bench player and/or leadoff hitter and see what he can do on the big stage.
IF Marquez Smith (Cubs):
After a slow 16 game start with Double-A Tennessee, Smith went on a tear for the remainder of the 2010 season with Triple-A Iowa posting a .314/.384/.574 line, with 17 HR and 53 RBI in 91 games. His .958 OPS ranked second on the team out of players with a minimum of 100 at bats.
Smith, who will be 26 come Spring Training, made a few appearances at second base, but played the majority of the season at third base. His strong showing at the Triple-A level could persuade the Jays to snag him this year.
IF/OF Josh Rodriguez (Indians):
Like Marquez Smith, Rodriguez started out the year in Double-A and finished 2010 in Triple-A. He had a hot start in Double-A which earned him his promotion though, where he continued his success with a .293/.372/.486 line in 86 games with AAA Columbus. The 26-year-old also managed 12 HR and 46 RBI.
Rodriguez, a second round pick by the Indians in the 2006 draft, played six positions in 2010 (LF, CF, RF, 3B, SS, 2B), and could be an option for the Jays to pick up in the draft.
IF Justin Sellers (Dodgers):
Sellers, 25-years-old by Spring Training, is another candidate on this list that finished 2010 at the Triple-A level, where he managed a line of .285/.371/.497 with 14 HR and 56 RBI in 90 games with AAA Albuquerque.
He played the majority of his time at SS, but does have experience playing 3B. He might not exactly be the best fit for the Jays, but he could still be an option.
IF Ryan Adams (Orioles):
Adams is the youngest member on this list, as he will still be 23-years-old before Opening Day next year. A 2nd round pick by the Orioles in the 2006 draft, Adams has never repeated a level in the minor leagues, and really started to improve from the 2008 season and on.
He spent 2010 entirely with Double-A Bowie of the Eastern League, the same league as the Jays’ impressive AA affiliate in New Hampshire, and finished with a .298/.365/.464 line with 15 HR and 68 RBI in 134 games.
It would be difficult to imagine the Jays keeping Adams on their roster for the entire season considering he has never faced anything better than Double-A pitching, and his career high 121 strikeouts are a slight concern, but given his young age and steady rise through the minor league system he could still be an option to be taken in the draft this year.
Now the majority of the players on this list are very similar to Brad Emaus, a player the Jays left unprotected in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. The likelihood of the Jays selecting a position player this year is unlikely given their interest in refilling bullpen depth, as well as having John McDonald under contract for next season as a utility infielder.
Should Emaus be plucked by another team this year, though, the Jays could realistically look at selecting a position player in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. From a position player standpoint, I could see the Jays taking either Corey Wimberly or Marquez Smith this year.