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9 Minor League Rule 5 Picks That Caught Our Attention — College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects

9 Minor League Rule 5 Picks That Caught Our Attention — College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects

The MLB picks of the Rule 5 Draft aren’t the only ones worth keeping an eye on. There is also a minor league phase of the event. While most teams often view these players as useful minor league organizational depth, every once in a while a big league contributor emerges. Notable examples include Alexi OgandoJustin BourOmar Narvaez and Alejandro De Aza from recent years.

Below, we dive into nine players selected in the minor league phase of the 2023 Rule 5 Draft worth keeping an eye on.

Ryan Fitzgerald, 2B, Royals (from Red Sox) 

A cult-hero with Triple-A Worcester, Fitzgerald is a late bloomer that has played all over the field the last few seasons. He hit .261/.345/.484 with 12 home runs for the WooSox. Fitzgerald has just fringe-average raw power but he gets the most of his contact with good launch angles. He consistently hits the ball in the air to his pull side on his best contact. He’s a little aggressive and will get drawn into chases out of the zone but looks like a nice get in the minor league portion for the Royals. 

Ryan Miller, RHP, Angels (from Red Sox) 

Miller sits 94-95 mph on his four-seam fastball with heavy bore, mixing in a slider with ride and sweep between 83-84 mph. He’ll flash a cutter as well and showed the ability to miss bats with his fastball. He’s a solid selection by the Angels. 

Joe Gray, OF, Royals (from Brewers)

Gray was a highly-regarded high school prospect, and early in his Brewers’ career, he showed power in an impressive stretch at Low-A Carolina. But his power has dissipated against higher-level pitching as he’s made too much weak contact. A change of scenery could be useful. He will turn 24 just before the season begins.

T.J. Sikkema, LHP, Reds (from Royals)

Sikkema was a dominant starter at High-A Hudson Valley. But he struggled from the moment he was acquired by the Royals in July 2022 in the Andrew Benintendi trade. His ERA, WHIP and opponents batting average all effectively doubled after the trade. His 2023 season was better, but not nearly where he was as a Yankees’ prospect. The Reds can now take a look at whether they can get Sikkema back to the funky, bat-missing form he once showed.

Brendan Hardy, RHP, Rockies (from Mets)

Hardy sits 92-93 mph in his four-seam fastball and the pitch really performed in 2023 with a 26% in-zone whiff rate, a 33% called+swinging strike rate and an xWOBA against of .223. His primary secondary is a low-80s sweeper that…

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