The Detroit Tigers have used their selection in the Rule 5 Draft every season since 2016. Al Avila used it every year he was in charge, and Scott Harris drafted Mason Englert last year. Results have been mixed at best.
The only player that has made a difference has been Akil Baddoo in 2021. He's been a AAAA player since. Other than that, none of these players have made a difference at the big league level. Victor Reyes? Rony Garcia? Daniel Stumpf? Reed Garrett? All of those players were terrible.
The odds of finding a hidden gem in the Rule 5 Draft are slim. It has happened, but it's very few and far between. Taking a player in the Rule 5 Draft has a better chance of making your team worse than making it better.
For those you don't know what the Rule 5 Draft is, here's a quick rundown. Essentially, the Rule 5 Draft allows teams to pick someone from another team's minor league system that hasn't been protected on the 40-man roster. If a team selects a player, that player has to be on their active roster for the entirety of the following season, or they will be sent back to their previous team.
The latter happened in 2021, when Will Vest was selected by the Mariners from the Tigers organization in 2020, but was sent back later in the 2021 season. Now, Vest is a key part of the Tigers bullpen.
But success stories like that are, again, few and far between. Most of these players don't make any impact whatsoever.
When Avila was making his Rule 5 selections, nobody really cared because the team was bad anyway, so it made sense to take some shots in the dark. Now, the Tigers can win the division next year with the right moves. Wasting a roster spot on someone who should be in Double-A should not be in the cards for Scott Harris.
Step one for the Detroit Tigers path to competitiveness should be to skip the Rule 5 Draft. Good teams don't waste roster spots on minor leaguers. This is part of acting like a serious organization. You'd be better off using that roster spot on someone internally.
The Detroit Tigers should not use their selection in the Rule 5 Draft this year, and in the future. Act like you want to be a good team.