Gustavo Nunez Selected In Rule 5 Draft


The annual Rule 5 MLB draft was held today, and the Tigers passed on making a selection.  However, the Tigers had one of their unprotected players taken. With the 8th pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Tigers SS Gustavo Nunez. Nunez, whose calling card is his defense and plus plus speed, will have to stick on the Pirates 25 man roster all season, or being offered back to Detroit for 50K dollars.

So, what are the chances that Nunez sticks with the Pirates?

This is a tough call. Nunez isn’t exactly intimidating with his bat. At 5’10” and 170 lbs. nobody is going to mistake Nunez for a power hitter. However, he did OPS .718 between his two stops in 2011, showing off some gap power and occasional home run pop.

I wrote this scouting report about him in June over at Detroit Baseball Page:

Nunez is an interesting case. At 5’10 and 170lbs, he is never going to be a power hitter, though if he his hitting the ball in the gaps, he could garner plenty of extra bases given that he has plus plus speed. A switch hitter, Nunez gets down the line incredibly fast. He is more of a slap hitter than anything but can pull the ball on occasion and will hit a few homers every year. At the plate he is beginning to show a little bit more discipline, and he is going to need that going forward. He hasn’t drawn many walks in his career but his BB/K ratio in 2011 is promising. Nunez could potentially be an offensive weapon if his OBP can stay at .350 or above as he moves forward in the system.

Defensively Nunez is excellent. He is a highly excitable player to watch with the glove and can make plays both up the middle and in the hole. Nunez possesses above average arm strength and can make throws from less than ideal angles. His speed allows him a lot of range, and he has good first step quickness as well. Nunez’ can lack concentration from time to time, and when he does so, thats where his errors come in. He has good hands and instincts on how to play balls and those should get even better over time. Bottom line, Nunez is a Major League caliber defensive shortstop.

The .350 OBP is a lofty goal for Nunez, and it is very unlikely he is going to reach that number at the major league level. In fact, I see him struggling to make .300 in that category, because I suspect he will hit in the low 200’s. But this doesn’t mean it isn’t a potential loss for the Tigers.

Nunez is the Tigers best SS prospect in the upper minors right now. In fact, he is their best SS prospect period. That might say a lot about Detroit’s farm system, but on a team like the Pirates, their is real danger here of Nunez sticking on their roster for the entire 2012 season. He is the type of guy because of his glove that a team could use as a defensive replacement and stash on their roster. There is enough athleticism that the Pirates could get him to play a little 2B as well, but Nunez is primarily SS and would have to essentially learn the 2B position.

I figured this was a possibility that Nunez would get selected, and the Pirates appear to be somewhat of a fit, but they did add Clint Barmes and newly acquired Yamaico Navarro to their mix. Chase d’Arnaud has also been known to play a little SS as well.

Essentially, it will be up to what Nunez shows the Pirates in spring training with the bat more than likely. If he hits, he may stick. If not, it is likely he will be offered back to the Tigers.

This isn’t the end of the world here for the Tigers. They do have have two more all glove shortstops in their system in Cale Iorg and Brandon Loy, but Nunez was the best of all of them in my opinion.