Five Major Questions for the 2016 Milwaukee Brewers

Source: Midwest League Traveler/mwltraveler.com

Source: Midwest League Traveler/mwltraveler.com

Were the Brewers wrong to use two MLB-level Rule 5 draft picks this offseason?

The Rule 5 draft is something that lots of people hear about and very few know about. Simply, in the MLB portion, teams can select players from other teams’ farm systems to join their big-league clubs, provided that they are not on the 40-man roster and have a minimum amount of professional service time (there are also AAA and AA portions of the draft with different rules, but that’s for another day). Most teams do not even participate in this draft, by virtue that most players who fit the standards of being eligible for the draft are not MLB-ready. However, some teams do use the Rule 5 to take a flier on a player that they think has some upside. In 2015 the Brewers, along with four other organizations, selected not one but two players in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft. These players were Colin Walsh, an IF/OF from the Athletics organization, and Zach Jones, a reliever from the Twins organization. Neither player has ever played in the majors, and while Walsh posted impressive numbers in 2015, he was a 26-year-old playing in AA, which is not generally a positive thing. The Brewers already have many top position players in their system, including Orlando Arcia and Brett Phillips, the #1 and #2 prospects in the organization for 2016 according to Baseball Prospectus. Both finished 2015 at AA and performed well, and many believe they may be ready for the big-league club in 2016. Additionally, some MLB-experienced but lower-rated prospects like Michael Reed, Garin Cecchini, and Ramon Flores all project to begin the season in the minors while Walsh plugs a seat on the bench. Additionally, the Brewers third-ranked prospect Jorge Lopez will be 23 at the beginning of the season, but a call-up may be delayed by the roster spot taken by Jones, who had a wholly unsuccessful 2015 in A+ and AA. While the Brewers can always cut the Rule 5 players if they really wanted to, it may come to be that taking them in the first place was a waste of time and money.

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