Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Complete History Of The Blue Jays Rule 5 Draft


 

 

We are on the heels of Thursday’s Rule 5 draft, and the Blue Jays have an open spot for selection thanks to Thad Weber going to Korea.

Now is a good time to look back and see how the Blue Jays have done in the Rule 5 over the years. Here is a list of selections for the Major League portion of the draft, sourced from baseball-reference.com. Note that these are only selections, and in some cases the player returned to their previous team per the rules of the draft.

While most of the names are forgettable, there are a few that are very important to the history of the Blue Jays.

1977

Selected: Willie Upshaw 1B/OF & Andy Dyes OF

A solid first ever pick in the Rule 5, Willie Upshaw became the Jays regular first baseman in the early 80s. His best season was in 1983 where he hit .306 with 27 home runs.

1978

Selected: Bob Davis C & Ted Wilborn  OF

1979

Selected: Mike Macha 3B/OF

1980

Selected: George Bell OF & Dan Whitmer C

Here’s proof that these drafts matter. George Bell went from Rule 5 selection taken from the Phillies, to 1987 AL MVP, to the Level of Excellence. It’s difficult to imagine the early Jays years without George Bell included.

1981

Selected: Jim Gott P & Anthony Johnson OF

Lost: Domingo Ramos INF & Ramon Lora C

1982

Selected: Jim Acker P & Mercedes Esquer P

Jim Acker ended up being a steady reliever for the Jays, being a part of the ’85, ’89, and ’91 teams that won the AL East. Following the draft, he played with the Jays until ’86, and returned again ’89.

1983

Selected: Kelly Gruber INF & Terry Cormack C

Lost: Dave Geisel P

Kelly Gruber might be the biggest Blue Jay fan-favourite in history, and if not for the Rule 5 selection, there would be no 1992 World Series triple play. (Well, sort of). A pick that helps you win a World Series is about as good as you can do.

1984

Selected: Manuel Lee INF & Louis Thornton Jr. OF

Lost: Mike Morgan P

Manny Lee may not have been at the same Hall of Fame level caliber as Roberto Alomar, but he was still an important part of that middle infield during the early 90s. Lee is another Rule 5 champion.

1985

Selected: Jose DeJesus P

1986

Selected: Jose Nunez P

Lost: Cliff Young P & Stan Clarke P

1987

Lost: Joe Johnson P & Santiago Garcia INF

1988

Lost: Colin McLaughlin P, Eric Yielding INF, Chris Jones P, Matt Stark C & Geronimo Berroa OF

Geronimo Berroa is the biggest loss of the list for ’88. A career .276 hitter, he had a bright season with Oakland in ’96, hitting for .290 with 36 home runs.

1989

Lost: Steve Wapnick P, Sil Camusano OF & Francis Hernandez P

1990

Selected: Rickey Rhodes P

Rhodes never made it to the major league roster, and as a result, returned to the Yankees, never becoming a major leaguer.

1991

Lost: Jesse Cross P

1992

Lost: Graeme Lloyd P

Graeme Lloyd was a 6’8″ specialist reliever. Though the Jays lost him to Rule 5, he ended up back with the Jays as part of the Roger Clemens trade to the Yankees for David Wells.

1993

Lost: Tim Hyers 1B

1994

Lost: Tomas Perez SS, Freddy Garcia 3B, Todd Steverson OF

Not to be confused with the pitcher of the same name, Freddy Garcia topped out with one season with the Pirates hitting .256 in 1998, and was worse the following year.

1995

Selected: Carey Paige P

1996

Lost: Mike Johnson P & Tom Davey P

1997

Selected: Luis Saturria OF

1998

No Major League Moves

1999

Selected : DeWayne Wise OF

Lost: Brian Smith P & Jim Mann P

DeWayne Wise didn’t do much for the Jays when he was selected from the Reds in the 1995 Rule 5 draft. He had a handful of appearances over a few seasons, but struggled to maintain an adequate batting average. The Jays let him test free agency following the 2003 season, and he signed with the Braves. After bouncing around a bit, the Jays signed him in 2010. He was called upon a few times to fill injury holes.

2000

Lost: Jay Gibbons 1B & Rendy Espina P

2001

Selected: Corey Thurman P

2002

Selected: Aquilino Lopez P, Gary Majewski P, Jason Dubois P

Lost: Matt Ford P

2003

Selected: Talley Haines P

2004

Lost: Tyrell Godwin OF

2005

Lost: Steve Andrade P & Jamie Vermilyea P

2006

Selected: Jason Smith SS

2007

Selected: Randy Wells P

Randy Wells pitched only one inning for the Jays, and despite it being scoreless, he was designated for assignment. After joining the Cubs, his ERA climbed from year-to-year.

2008

No Major League Moves

2009

Selected: Zech Zinicola P

2010

Lost: Brad Emaus 2B

After being selected by the Mets, Emaus did not make the entire season on the major league roster and as a result, returned to the Jays. The Jays immediately traded Emaus to the Rockies for Chris Malone.

2011

No Major League Moves

2012

No Major League Moves

While it’s noted that the Jays made no picks during the MLB rounds of the last two drafts, there’s always the chance that the minor league moves turn out beneficial.

Overall, the Jays have been one of the more successful teams within the Rule 5 draft over the years. With the open spot this year, there are possibilities. This current Jays team could really use a Bell, a Lee, an Upshaw, or a Gruber.

Tags: Featured Popular Rule 5 Draft Toronto Blue Jays