Baseball’s winter meetings concluded on Thursday with the 2019 Rule 5 draft. As we noted in our preview, the draft is a mechanism designed to prevent teams from hoarding prospects and to provide opportunity to players who might not have otherwise received it. We laid out all the specifics of the draft in our preview.
Rucker is a shorter right-hander without good velocity. He does have decent secondaries, and he’s posted solid peripherals in the minors. The Orioles’ pitching staff can use all the help it can get, so he’s worth a spring look-see.

1.  RHP Rony Garcia, Tigers (from Yankees)

The oldest player selected, Payton turn 28 last week. He had a breakout season in his first (and only) season in the Athletics system, homering 30 times and hitting .334/.400/.653. Oh, did we mention that he’s listed at 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds? He’ll try to latch on as a spare outfielder.

2. RHP Brandon Bailey, Orioles (from Astros)

Depending on what else the Cubs do this winter, the 6-foot-8 Megill has a chance to stick. He has a mid-90s fastball that can touch 98 and a plus slider with good spin. He throws more strikes than you’d expect from a tall, hard-throwing reliever, too. 

3. RHP Sterling Sharp, Marlins (from Nationals)

Jimenez is a pure reliever who posted some jaw-dropping strikeout rates between High- and Double-A last season — he fanned 93 batters in 59 innings. He has a loose arm that can generate mid-90s heat and his high release point helps him impart good spin. He’ll try to earn a spot in the Giants bullpen as a middle reliever.

4. RHP Stephen Woods Jr., Royals (from Rays)

The most notable aspect of Woods Jr.’s career to date is that he was involved in the Evan Longoria trade. He’s thrown 86 innings over the past two years due to injury. The Royals aren’t too far removed from striking … well, not quite gold, but something with the Brad Keller pick.

6. RHP Yohan Ramirez, Mariners (from Astros)

In addition to having the best name in the class, Machin is a lefty utility infielder who walked more than he struck out in Double-A last season. He doesn’t have much power, so his feel for contact will have to be enough to keep afloat against big-league pitching. Note that Machin was originally picked in the Rule 5 by the Phillies, then traded to Oakland for cash.

12. OF Mark Payton, Reds (from Athletics)

Orioles general manager Mike Elias is familiar with Bailey from their shared days in Houston. Bailey is a short righty with a riding fastball and two quality secondaries in a changeup and curveball. He’s missed bats and the plate alike, and could profile best as a multi-inning reliever.

13. RHP Dany Jimenez, Giants (from Blue Jays)

Originally part of the Ken Giles trade — the first one, to Houston — Arauz is a 21-year-old switch-hitter who held his own last season in High- and Double-A. He doesn’t offer much power or speed, and will likely end up as an average-dependent second baseman or reserve infielder.

15. INF Vimael Machin, Athletics (from Cubs)

Sharp is a tall, lanky right-hander with an energetic delivery that includes a high front side. He missed significant time in 2019 due to injury, and is far more likely to generate a grounder than record a strikeout. He’ll presumably try to crack Miami’s bullpen.

16. RHP Trevor Megill, Cubs (from Padres)

Now let’s get to this year’s results. Note that only 11 picks were made during the big-league portion of the draft. (There’s also a minor-league portion that we’re not going to concern ourselves with.) Here are the 11 selections (note: 20 teams passed on making Rule 5 picks):

17. INF Jonathan Arauz, Red Sox (from Astros)

Ramirez has a big arm, but he walked 52 batters in 62 Double-A innings. His delivery features a whip-like arm action in addition to an uncomfortable amount of reverb on the follow-through.

32. RHP Michael Rucker, Orioles (from Cubs)

Garcia is a well-constructed right-hander who spent most of last season in Double-A, where he posted a 4.44 ERA and a 2.74 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He relies on a decent fastball-breaking ball combination that he delivers from a lower arm slot. The Tigers could give him a shot as a back-end starter, though his future may well be in the bullpen.