Blue Jays: Ranking the top-five Rule 5 Draft selections in franchise history
No. 1 OF George Bell
As good as Gruber was for a few years, there was never going to be anyone who'd come even close to Bell, who won the first AL MVP Award in franchise history.
Bell, who was selected from the Phillies in the 1908 Rule 5 Draft, didn't get his first taste of full-time big league action until 1984 but once he did, he ran with the opportunity and got better and better every year. After finishing 19th in the MVP voting in 1984, he elevated his game and finished eighth in 1985, winning his first Silver Slugger along the way.
In 1986, he hit 31 home runs and broke the 100 RBI barrier for the first time. He his .309 that year and had an OPS+ of 133. This time, he rose to a fourth-place finish in the voting.
Then, in 1987 as a 27-year-old, Bell hit a whole new tier at the plate. In 156 games, he hit 47 home runs, drove in a league-leading 134 runs, hit .308 and posted an OPS+ of 146. This resulted in his first All-Star Game selection, second Silver Slugger and most importantly, the AL MVP Award.
Bell played three more years in Toronto, making one more All-Star Game appearance while hitting 63 home runs and posting a combined .277 batting average from 1988-1990 before signing with the Cubs in free agency in December of 1990.
Bell's mark on the franchise is a permanent one and it is truly incredible to think that he began his career as a Rule 5 selection. He was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013 and has a well-deserved spot in the Blue Jays Level of Excellence.