The deadline to protect minor leaguers from this December’s Rule 5 Draft is tonight at 7pm. The Royals have just announced some moves to their 40-man roster to protect certain players from being taken in the draft. Let’s take a look at who was protected.
Ryan O’Hearn: NOT ADDED
Like most of us expected, Ryan O’Hearn was added to the 40-man roster after a solid 2017 in which he hit 22 HR across AA and AAA.
Hold on, I’m getting something. Wait, what?
Okay. The Royals decided not to add their power hitting first baseman to the 40-man roster in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft this winter.
Eric Stout: ADDED
A lefty reliever who held LHH to the tune of a .193 BAA in 2017, the Royals are smart to protect him this offseason. In the event that Kelvin Herrera and/or Joakim Soria is traded next year, Eric Stout would be a virtual lock to fill out the bullpen. I’m looking forward to seeing him in KC.
Jonathan Dziedzic: NOT ADDED
Another effective lefty, I had anticipated Dziedzic to make his debut for KC in 2017, but injuries ended his season early. A lefty who could have some value for an MLB team in need of an innings eater, Dziedzic is a guy to keep an eye on in December as the Royals chose not to protect him on the 40-man roster.
Glenn Sparkman: NOT ADDED (again)
A 2016 Rule 5 Draft selection, Sparkman will more than likely be headed back to Toronto this winter. The Blue Jays were reportedly interested in reacquiring Sparkman at the trade deadline in 2017, after he had to be returned to KC when he was removed from Toronto’s 25-man roster. Sparkman posted an ERA of 2.61 in 3 appearances (2 starts) with Northwest Arkansas last year after being returned to KC.
Meibrys Viloria: ADDED
Catchers who can hit will always have value as prospects. Viloria fits that description well and, although he’s never taken an at-bat at AA, the Royals clearly think enough of the young catcher to protect him before the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. This move is similar to the addition of Samir Duenez last winter.
Tim Hill: ADDED
Tim Hill is a crafty lefty-specialist that dominated LHH out of the bullpen for the NWA Naturals last season. I have no idea why the Royals thought he needed to be protected from this draft but they clearly value the reliever as an asset to the organization.
Frank Schwindel: NOT ADDED
Frank “The Tank” Schwindel had a monster 2017, but doesn’t project as much of a prospect. The 25-year old may very well be taken, but the Royals made clear what they think of Schwindel’s future by not adding him to the 40-man roster.
Ascending prospects Richard Lovelady and Nicky Lopez weren’t added to the 40-man roster, even with potential debuts in 2018, because they aren’t eligible for the draft and the Royals have a roster crunch as it is.
What do you think Royals fans? Did the Royals add someone you didn’t want to see added? Did they leave someone important off? Let us know!
Photo Credits: John Sleezer—Kansas City Star