Feb 12, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Catching gear for the New York Yankees is seen during spring training at Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers have a full 40-man roster – and therefore couldn’t select players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft – but they did lose a couple of players in the process. Fortunately, the players lost were in the minor league phase of the draft, and therefore represent only a small loss to the organization’s depth.
MLB.com has the list of players selected in both the major and minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Players selected in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft are strictly organizational depth-type guys and maintain pretty much zero prospect status. Here’s a bit about the two players the Tigers lost (these players do not need to be kept on the claiming team’s major league roster):
Catcher – Adolfo Reina – San Diego Padres
Reina spent most of the 2013 season at Class-A West Michigan serving as the backup to Bennett Pickar (also an organizational depth guy). He’s a glove-only no-hit catcher that was old (23) for his level last season. Between 204 plate appearances in West Michigan and 41 plate appearances in Lakeland, Reina hit just .193/.241/.283.
In claiming Reina, the Padres are getting a player who’s acclimated to the minor leagues, probably an alright defensive catcher, but won’t be expected to progress through their system.
First Baseman – Jesus Ustariz – St. Louis Cardinals
Ustariz perhaps seemed (at least from the outside) to be something of a prospect (thouth never a big-time prospect) for the Tigers a couple of years back, but he spent his age 20 season basically repeating the Gulf Coast League (where he hit .302/.410/.481), and hit relatively poorly in a short stint in short-season ball in Connecticut (.205/.326/.359 in 46 PA). He’s listed as a third baseman on MLB.com’s Rule 5 list, but he’s played only two games at the position since coming stateside two years ago.
As short as the Tigers are at the first base position in the minors, they probably could have found a spot for Ustariz, but the Tigers obviously had doubts that he would ever be able to hit enough at the advanced levels to make it for them at the first base position.