Blue Jays: Ranking the top-five Rule 5 Draft selections in franchise history
Over the years, the Rule 5 Draft has helped the Toronto Blue Jays out quite a bit. This avenue has brought future All-Stars and even the club's first ever AL MVP Award winner as well.
Here is a quick refresher on what exactly the Rule 5 Draft is. The very long story short is that if a player with a certain amount of professional experience is not added to their respective club's 40-man roster by a specific time, they will be offered up to all other big league clubs. The only caveat is that any claiming team must keep said player on their active roster all season long or they will be forced to return the player to their original club.
Let's take a look back in time at the five best Rule 5 Draft selections the Blue Jays have ever made.
No. 5 RHP Joe Biagini
I'd be lying if I said that I thought Biagini would crack this list heading into it. After spending the first handful of years of his professional career in the Giants organization, the club allowed him to be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft and the Blue Jays struck.
Biagini functioned in a variety of different roles for the club in what turned into a four-year tenure, including starter, middle reliever and long reliever. He burst onto the scene in 2016 with a 60-game showing as a relief pitcher. He struck out 62 while walking 19 and allowing just three home runs in over 67 innings.
He was forced into the starting rotation once injuries began to arise during 2017 Spring Training and while he showed brief glimpses of promise (highlighted by a seven-inning scoreless outing where he struck out 10 against the Orioles), he was shuffled up and down between the majors and minors and couldn't seem to stick in one specific role thanks to his overall misuse by management.
2017 and 2018 were down years for Biagini but once he ditched starting for good, he returned to form as a full-time reliever. In 2019 he was a solid middle relief option, posting a 121 ERA+ which puts him 21 percent above league-average on the year, and found himself traded to the Astros with Aaron Sanchez in exchange for ... Derek Fisher.
The overall mood from Jays fans towards Biagini is in a negative light, but he had some bright spots over the years and did enough to warrant his inclusion on the list over other candidates for the No. 5 spot like Jim Acker or Jim Gott.