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John Sickels' Column: Report on 2008 Rule 5 Draft

John Sickels

John Sickels writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Report on 2008 Rule 5 Draft

Terrell Young, RHP, Washington Nationals

Selected from the Cincinnati Reds. A 10th round pick in 2004 from high school in Mississippi, the 23-year-old Young posted a combined 2.88 ERA with a 47:28 K/BB in 59 innings between Class A Dayton and Class A Sarasota this year. He throws quite hard, hitting 98 MPH at times, and keeps the ball low in the zone, generating a 1.55 GO:AO mark this year. He needs to refine his command, but has the potential to be an impressive bullpen force if things come together for him. He could provide help in the back of the Nationals relief corps in '09.

Reegie Corona, INF, Seattle Mariners

Selected from the New York Yankees. A Venezuelan infielder, the 22-year-old Corona is a switch-hitter with good speed, hitting .274/.345/.365 with 24 steals in 28 attempts this year for Double-A Trenton. He also has good defensive skills at second base, and is young enough to develop further with the bat. His plate discipline is decent, but he lacks distance power. At this point he fits best as a utility infielder with some upside potential.

Everth Cabrera, INF, San Diego Padres

Selected from the Colorado Rockies. Signed out of Nicaragua in 2004, Cabrera is a 22-year-old switch hitter. He hit .284/.361/.399 with 73 steals in 89 attempts this year for Low-A Ashville in the South Atlantic League. Undersized at 5-8, 160, Cabrera doesn't have a lot of power but struck out 101 times this year. He'll need to focus more on contact to stick in the majors. He has a good glove. Like Corona, he fits best as a utility infielder at this stage.

Don Veal, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Selected from the Chicago Cubs. A 24-year-old lefty, Veal was one of the best southpaw prospects in the game entering the 2007 season, but poor Double-A campaigns in '07 and '08 have hurt his stock. He went just 5-10, 4.58 with a 123:81 K:BB in 145 innings for Tennessee this year, allowing 150 hits. Veal has had problems keeping his mechanics together, reducing his velocity from the 90-94 range into the 87-90 range, and hampering his command. Perhaps a change of scenery can restore his previous luster. There has been talk of converting him to a short reliever, so he can worry less about changing speeds. That would likely be his role if he sticks with the Pirates.

Lou Palmisano, C, Baltimore Orioles (Traded to Astros)

Selected from the Milwaukee Brewers by the Orioles, then traded to Houston. A 26-yearr-old right-handed hitter, Palmisano was limited to just 27 games in 2008 by injury. In '07 he hit .256/.368..419 for Double-A Huntsville, and is a career .277/.360/.404 hitter. Well-regarded as a defensive catcher, Palmisano hasn't hit particularly well since leaving A-ball, showing decent plate discipline, but just moderate power and a mediocre batting average. He seems best-suited for duty as a backup catcher.

Luis Perdomo, RHP, San Francisco Giants

Selected from St. Louis Cardinals. Perdomo is a Dominican signed by the Indians in 2004. He was traded to the Cardinals for Anthony Reyes, and the fact that he was left unprotected is a bit of a surprise. 24-years-old, Perdomo has a 90-94 MPH fastball and a good slider. His performance record is strong, posting a 2.36 ERA with a 82:30 K:BB in 72 innings this year for three minor league teams, with just 49 hits allowed. He could be a very good middle reliever with some closer potential if his command holds up.

David Patton, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

Selected from Colorado Rockies. A 13th round pick from Green River Community College in 2004, Patton has a 90-92 MPH fastball and a good slider, but has moved slowly through the Rockies system due to command problems. He made progress in that regard this year, posting a 3.54 ERA with an 87:28 K:BB in 74 innings for High-A Modesto. His arm strength is notable, but he'll need to show at least adequate command in spring training to stick in the Cincinnati bullpen.

Kyle Bloom, LHP, Detroit Tigers

Selected from Pittsburgh Pirates. Bloom, a 25-year-old lefty, was drafted by the Pirates in the fifth round of the 2004 draft, out of Illinois State University. He has struggled with command and consistency, showing a live arm for a lefty (90-92 MPH fastball, promising slider), but struggling to throw quality strikes. He made some progress in '08, posting a 4.19 ERA with a 93:55 K:BB in 110 innings for Double-A Altoona, then making a good showing in the Hawaii Winter League. He could be useful as a long reliever and spot starter for the Tigers.

Jose Lugo, LHP, Kansas City Royals (Traded to Mariners)

Selected from Minnesota Twins. A 24-year-old Dominican southpaw, Lugo posted a 4.04 ERA with a 76:33 K:BB ratio in 69 innings for High-A Fort Myers this year. His numbers may not stand out, but his K:IP was impressive, he posted a 2.34 GO:AO ratio on the strength of his 90-95 MPH sinker and hard slider. His command is an issue, but he's got some upside as a left-handed shortman, with good enough stuff that he wont have to be confined to the LOOGY role if the command is there.

Ben Copeland, OF, Oakland Athletics

Selected from San Francisco Giants. Copeland is 25 years old, originally drafted by the Giants in the fourth round in 2005 from the University of Pittsburgh. He hit a combined .276/.350/.411 with 24 steals in 31 attempts between Double-A Connecticut and Triple-A Fresno this year. Copeland is a left-handed hitter with good speed and athleticism, and he makes an attempt to work the count. He doesn't have much home run power, but will slap some doubles and triples, and could be useful as a fourth outfielder.

James Skelton, C, Arizona Diamondbacks

Selected from Detroit Tigers. Drafted in the 14th round in 2004 out of high school in California, Skelton is a left-handed hitter with excellent strike zone judgment. He hit a combined .303/.456/.401 this year between High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie, with 83 walks. He also stole 15 bases. He has unusual speed and athleticism for a catcher, but his lack of power prevents him from projecting as a major league regular, at least according to many scouts. Nonetheless, his other skills could make him useful as a reserve player.

Zack Kroenke, LHP, Florida Marlins

Selected from New York Yankees. A fifth round pick from the University of Nebraska in 2005, Kroenke was a starter in college but has settled into a relief role as a professional. 24 years old, he posted a 2.85 ERA with a 54:28 K:BB mark in 54 innings between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton this year. He gets grounders with his 90 MPH fastball and slider, and could fit nicely as a southpaw bullpen asset.

Gilbert de la Vara, LHP, Houston Astros

Selected from Kansas City Royals. Drafted in the 15th round in 2004 from Pima Community College, de la Vara is 24 years old. His sinking fastball varies from 87 to 91 MPH, but he has an effective, if erratic, breaking ball, that can be tough on lefties. He posted a 3.27 ERA with a 52:27 K:BB between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2008, along with a 1.83 GO:AO ratio. If he throws enough strikes, he can be a nice LOOGY.

Jason Jones, RHP, Minnesota Twins

Selected from New York Yankees. Jones was originally drafted in the fourth round in 2004, from Liberty University. An older prospect at age 26, Jones had a fine season in the high minors in '08, going 13-8, 3.26 with a 102:50 K:BB in 160 innings between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton. His stuff is rated as average across the board, his best pitches being his slider and splitter, but he throws strikes and eats innings. He could be useful as a fifth starter or long reliever.

Darren O'Day, RHP, New York Mets

Selected from Los Angeles Angels. This 26-year-old right-hander was an undrafted free agent signed out of the University of Florida in 2006. He reached the majors with the Angels this year, posting a 4.57 ERA with a 29:14 K:BB in 43 innings, with 49 hits allowed. That's about what should be expected from him: average performance in middle relief. He has an 88 MPH sinker, a slider, and a sidearm delivery needing sharper command of adequate stuff to get much beyond where he is now.

Eduardo Morlan, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

Selected from Tampa Bay Rays. Originally drafted by the Twins in the third round in 2004 out of high school in Miami, the 22-year-old Morlan was a key prospect in the Delmon Young/Matt Garza trade last winter, but suffered through injuries in 2008. He posted a 3.64 ERA with a 45:15 K:BB in 47 innings for Double-A Montgomery, but shoulder soreness reduced his velocity. When healthy, he can hit 94 MPH, but was often at just 88-90 this year. If he can get his former oomph back, he can help in the pen sooner rather than later.

Robert Mosebach, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

Selected from Los Angeles Angels. Mosebach was a ninth round pick in 2005 from Hillsborough Community College in Florida. 24 years old, he posted a 4.62 ERA with a 88:69 K:BB ratio in 177 innings for Double-A Arkansas this year, allowing an excessive 209 hits, but posting an impressive 2.04 GO:AO mark. His sinker is his bread and butter, but he needs strong defensive support and could stand to improve his command. He fits as a long reliever or possible fifth starter down the line.

Miguel Gonzalez, RHP, Boston Red Sox

Selected from Los Angeles Angels. A 24 year old from Mexico, Gonzalez missed all of 2008 with an injury, but was back in action in the Mexican Pacific League and doing very well this fall, posting a 0.99 ERA with a 32:8 K:BB in 36 innings for Mazatlan thus far. He posted a 3.37 ERA with a 81:42 K:BB in 131 innings for Double-A Arkansas in 2007. His fastball runs between 88 and 91 MPH, but he has a sweeping slider that can dominate right-handed hitters. He could be a nice asset for any staff if his command is on.

Derek Rodriguez, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

Selected from Chicago White Sox. A 14th round pick in 2005 from UNLV, Rodriguez is 25 years old. He posted a combined 3.29 ERA with a 88:33 K:BB in 79 innings for Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte in 2008, then pitched fairly well in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 4.26 ERA but a sharp 14 strikeouts in 13 innings. He's got a good arm, with a low 90s fastball and effective slider. He had problems changing speeds when used as a starter in the past, but adapted well to bullpen use this year, and should fill the same role in the majors.

Ivan Nova, RHP, San Diego Padres

Selected from New York Yankees. Just 21 years old, Nova, posted a 4.36 ERA with a 109:46 K:BB in 149 innings this year for High-A Tampa. A Dominican signed in 2005, Nova features a 90-94 MPH fastball. His secondary pitches (curveball, changeup) are erratic, and he needs help with general consistency and command. He gets grounders (1.60 GO:AO) and has a high upside, but will need plenty of development to succeed in the majors. He's a long shot to stick.

Rocky Cherry, RHP, New York Mets

Selected from Baltimore Orioles. The 29-year-old Cherry has been pitching in Double-A and Triple-A since 2005, receiving brief major league trials with the Cubs and Orioles. He has a career 5.77 ERA with a 38:35 K:BB in 48 major league innings, with 45 hits allowed, but has generally pitched better in the minors. Cherry has a low-90s sinking fastball and a promising slider, but hasn't shown consistent command in his major league time. He has the stuff to succeed, but has to throw more strikes.

For full reports on these players and over 1,000 others, pre-order the 2009 Baseball Prospect Book, available only at Pre-order now for January 31st, 2009 shipping!

Article first appeared 12/11/08