The Detroit Tigers have until 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, to set their 40-man roster. They have already been proactive, adding right-handed pitcher Keider Montero and re-signing catcher Carson Kelly. However, the team must now decide on players in the minor leagues who could be selected in the Rule 5 draft, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 6, in Nashville.
Montero was a no-brainer, as he led the system in strikeouts (160 in 127.1IP) over three levels in 2023. Similar to Sawyer Gipson-Long and others in the Tigers system, he too benefitted working on several new grips that were effective to go along with a curveball that spins over 3,000.
While MLB Pipeline listed only four players who could be drafted based on their rankings among prospects, we will explore several intriguing names in the system who are also eligible. It's worth noting how recently, players becoming minor league free agents have garnered attention from multiple clubs. In contrast to previous years, when only a few might be picked up for minor league roster spots, left-hander Jack O'Loughlin, promoted from High-A West Michigan to Triple-A Toledo in 2023, signed with the Oakland Athletics with an invitation to spring training.
The progress of several players like Reese Olson, Gipson-Long and Jackson Jobe will garner some sort of attention and with some of the arms that are in the system now, it could be the case where a name could be stashed away in the bullpen. Let's start with the relief pitchers who are Rule 5 eligible.