According to a list compiled by Dave Gersham of SPANdemonium, the Detroit Tigers have 24 players in their organization that are eligible for the Rule 5 draft. I could attempt to explain the procedures for the rule 5 draft but MLB Trade Rumors has done a nice job of that already:
"Players who signed when 18 or younger are eligible for the draft after five years. Players who signed when 19 or older are eligible after four years. If these players aren’t on their teams’ 40 man rosters, they’re exposed. As in the June draft, teams draft in reverse order of the previous season’s standings. Teams that draft players must pay $50k to the player’s original team. Those selected must remain on the 25-man roster or the major league DL for the entire season. Otherwise, the claiming team has to offer the player back to his original team for $25k. First, however, he must clear outright waivers. This gives the other 28 teams the opportunity to claim him. If any team claims the player, he must remain on their roster for the entire season or go through waivers again. The draft was more relevant before it was modified under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, when players were eligible a year earlier."
Enough of the technical jargon, let’s take a look at the eligible players:
I’ll start with a quick review of the players that have less of a chance to be picked up by another team. It is important to keep in mind that the rule 5 draft does have a minor league component to it. The same rules apply except a player taken off a AA roster must stay the entire next year with his new organization’s AAA club.
L.J. Gagnier was a tenth round selection in the 2006 draft and been used almost exclusively as a starting pitcher. He spent most of last season at AAA with the Toledo Mud Hens. With Toledo, L.J. went 7-7 with a 3.51 ERA after starting the year 3-0 with a 2.83 ERA for Erie. L.J. is the older brother of Drew Gagnier, a 14th round draft pick of the Tigers this past June.
Luis Marte was mostly used as a starting pitcher until this past season when he made 39 appearances in relief. 38 of those appearances came as a member of the Erie SeaWolves while one was made as a Mud Hen. Marte averages better than a strikeout per inning but also issues about five walks per nine innings. His pitchers are noted as having good movement with his slider especially effective against right handed batters. The Tigers signed Marte as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic.
Zach Simons was acquired from the Rockies a couple years ago in the trade the sent Jason Grilli out of town. He was sent to Lakeland upon his arrival in the Tigers organization during the 2008 season and has split his time between Erie and Toledo in 2009 and 2010. Simons was not listed among the top 30 prospects in the Rockies organization at the time of the trade but he has found some success the last two years. He has split his time as a starter and a reliever and finished with a 3-4 record and 2.70 ERA this past year with 75% of those stats accumulated with Erie.
Thad Weber could have been a Cincinnati Red but did not sign in 2007 after they made him their 35th round selection. The Tigers drafted Weber one year later in the 16th round. He made 25 starts with Erie and three starts with Toledo this past season and went a combined 11-13 with a 3.80 ERA. Throughout his minor league career he has put up a nice 1.15 WHIP due in large part to his low walk rate.