The Baltimore Orioles are always active in the Rule 5 Draft and it is no different this year as the Orioles select outfielders Aneury Tavarez (Red Sox) and Anthony Santander (Indians).
Did anyone really think that Dan Duquette would forgo a pick in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft? Of course not! With the addition of Tavares and Santander, the Baltimore Orioles currently carry 7 prior Rule 5 picks on their 40 man roster. Considering the Orioles are only have 38 players on their 40 man roster, 18% of their roster is comprised of Rule 5 picks. In addition to today’s picks, the list includes Jason Garcia, T.J. McFarland, Logan Verrett (recently re-aquired), Ryan Flaherty and Joey Rickard.
So what do we know about Aneury Tavarez and Anthony Santander? Tavarez was signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2010. He’s a 24 year old, left-handed hitting outfielder. His best year was 2016 AA ball where he batted .335 in 385 at bats with an OBP of .379 and an OPS of .885. He also stole 18 bases but was caught 11 times. He has never been ranked as a top prospect in the Red Sox organization.
Anthony Santander was signed as an international free agent by the Indians in 2011. He is 22 year old, switch-hitting outfielder whose highest level has been Hi-A ball (last season). He’s coming off of a season where he hit .290 with 20 homers and 90 RBI. He had an OBP of .368 and an OPS of .862. At one point, he was ranked as the 13th best prospect in the Indians system (2012).
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Clearly, Dan Duquette was looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder with only Hyun Soo Kim thesole lefty hitter on the Baltimore Orioles’ 40 manroster. Is this Duquette’s solution to the glaring outfield need? Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to add a few players to the 40 man roster right now. As we see more activity in December, January and (likely) February, the Orioles can carry a few extra players on their 40 man roster and see what they have.
The Orioles also selected 2 players in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, adding RHP Jefri Hernandez from the Reds and LHP Brian Moran (nephew of B.J. Surhoff) from the Braves. Fortunately, the Orioles didn’t lose any players in today’s draft.
While some question why Duquette is so active in the Rule 5 draft (4 of the 39 selections went to the Birds), there is no doubt that players like Flaherty and McFarland have helped the Baltimore Orioles over the last few years. Again, it only hurts if either player is blocking someone else from joining the 40 man roster. The Orioles still have 2 openings even after these selections. Considering the Orioles didn’t lose any players, it doesn’t appear that Duquette made a bad choice by not protecting someone.
For the Baltimore Orioles, the offseason has really just begun. If prior years are any indication, we should expect Duquette to be very active from now to Opening Day.