MLB Rule 5 Draft Wrap-Up
The Toronto Blue Jays added three players and lost another in the Triple-A phase of today’s 2013 MLB Rule 5 Draft. RHP Roberto Espinosa (Pittsburg Pirates), LHP Richard Bleier (Texas Rangers) and RHP Scott Shuman (San Francisco Giants) were all added to the organization. LHP Evan Crawford (New Hampshire), who appeared in 10 games with the Blue Jays in 2012, was the first pitcher selected in the minor league portion and will move on to the Chicago White Sox.
Espinosa, only 21, hails from Mexico and signed as an international free agent when he was just 16 years old. He started this season in Gulf Coast League, made one successful appearance with the Pirates High-A affiliate but finished the season playing Class Short-Season A ball. Across the three levels he had 31 strikeouts in 27.1 IP but struggled with control allowing 4.9 BB/9. He was devastating against righties (.117/.243/.133) but wasn’t nearly as effective versus lefties (.281/.432/.313). He was moved to the bullpen in 2012 and appears to be improving but PiratesProspects.com still grades him as a career minor leaguer.
Bleier, 26, was a sixth round draft pick out of Florida Golf Coast University in 2008 received his first taste of Triple-A this year but struggled with consistency before finding himself back in Double-A for the fourth consecutive season. He was a contributor to the Frisco RoughRiders pen at that level and is a low-strikeout, ground ball style pitcher. He doesn’t offer much upside but could be a nice “org guy” for the Blue Jays system.
Shuman, 25, is an interesting commodity as his traditional stats don’t seem to offer much. He had 9.51 ERA and 2.405 WHIP in 23.2 IP this year and had no control walking 42 batters. However he struck out 31% of batters faced this year and held opponents to a .171 batting average, which are both extremely impressive marks. He’s probably also another career minor leaguer but apparently throws in the mid-to-upper 90′s so if he ever does clean up his control his ceiling is potentially sky high. At the very least he’ll be an interesting hurler to watch for fans of the Blue Jays minor league system.
Losing Crawford, 27, hurts the Blue Jays depth but his 2012 call-up meant he was left with only two minor league options, which are extremely valuable for relievers to carry and is probably why the Blue Jays left him unprotected. He’s yet to regain the form in Double-A that helped earn his promotion to the Jays but was dealing with an injury so there’s a chance he could return to the majors as a member of the White Sox.
The Blue Jays also made a creative move during the MLB phase by trading their Rule 5 Draft pick LHP Brian Moran to the Los Angeles Angeles for $244,000 of international cap space. Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com was the first to report the move on Twitter. Kyle Franzoni also covered it for us here in our Day 4 Winter Meetings live blog.