2019 Rule 5 Draft / 40-man roster notes

I created a Google Doc recently that should allow Royals fans to more easily identify the years that our prospects are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. You can find that here.

Several of you responded to the tweet and wanted to know my thoughts about which of these guys could get protected this off-season. That’s a great question, and while it might be a bit too early to tell for sure, I’m gonna run through the list of 2019 Rule 5 eligible Royals prospects and give you my thoughts.

Definitely not getting protected:

  • Chase Vallot
  • Walker Sheller
  • Gerson Garabito
  • Kort Peterson
  • Jose Marquez
  • Samir Duenez
  • Rudy Martin
  • Emmanuel Rivera
  • Blake Perkins
  • DJ Burt

Would require good-to-great performances in 2019:

  • Gabe Speier
  • Foster Griffin
  • Elier Hernandez
  • Humberto Arteaga
  • Jecksson Flores
  • Yunior Marte
  • Grant Gavin
  • Ofreidy Gomez
  • Xavier Fernandez
  • Nick Heath

Probably/Definitely getting protected:

  • Nicky Lopez
  • Gabriel Cancel
  • Bubba Starling
  • Erick Mejia

Current projected 40-man roster by the Rule 5 Draft in December:

  1. Nicky Lopez
  2. Gabriel Cancel
  3. Bubba Starling
  4. Erick Mejia
  5. Scott Barlow
  6. Scott Blewett
  7. Danny Duffy
  8. Heath Fillmyer
  9. Conner Greene
  10. Arnaldo Hernandez
  11. Tim Hill
  12. Jake Junis
  13. Brad Keller
  14. Ian Kennedy
  15. Jorge Lopez
  16. Richard Lovelady
  17. Kevin McCarthy
  18. Jake Newberry
  19. Trevor Oaks
  20. Eric Skoglund
  21. Glenn Sparkman
  22. Josh Staumont
  23. Kyle Zimmer
  24. Cam Gallagher
  25. Salvador Perez
  26. Meibrys Viloria
  27. Hunter Dozier
  28. Ryan O’Hearn
  29. Frank Schwindel
  30. Whit Merrifield
  31. Kelvin Gutierrez
  32. Adalberto Mondesi
  33. Jorge Bonifacio
  34. Brett Phillips
  35. Jorge Soler

I didn’t realize what a good position the Royals are going to be in this off-season to get rid of some dead weight, add some free agents, make a Rule 5 pick or two, or just protect one of their own kids should they see fit. I could see a rebuilding team wanting to see if Foster Griffin could eat some innings for them, though the Royals left him unprotected last year. I could see a team needing catching help taking a chance on Xavier Fernandez, though the Royals left him unprotected last year as well.

As it stands today, I’ve only got 4 Royals prospects that I think are locks to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft in December (and Bubba just left the game after getting hit in the hand by a pitch). Bubba has really turned it on this year and his glove is elite. Nicky Lopez should be up by August. Gabriel Cancel is smashing the baseball as a 22-year old in AA, and Erick Mejia is a speedy utility man with an OBP that is currently north of .400.

Everyone else would really, really have to show out to get protected. Not saying it can’t happen, they just haven’t performed well enough, YET. Gabe Speier is a left-handed reliever that could certainly warrant protection. Yunior Marte may not go undrafted again, as he’s shown flashes of brilliance out of the bullpen. Grant Gavin has a power fastball/curveball combo that some teams could want. Jecksson Flores is another utility guy that tanking teams could give a go. They’re just going to have to earn the 40-man roster spot with their play in 2019.

This is obviously far too early to be doing this, but folks were asking so I figured I’d roll this out. Trades happen. Injuries happen. The Royals will sign some free agents. Prospects break out. Etc. It’s fun to take a look at what the roster could look like though, and it’s always worth looking toward the future in a season as lost as this one at the big league level.


Photo Credits: Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports

7 thoughts on “2019 Rule 5 Draft / 40-man roster notes

  1. I am willing to bet Nicky Lopez is on 40 man roster before year is out.
    With Bubba’s start, I thought he would also be on 40 man before year is out…but he just left the game in Nashville tonight after being hit on hand. If history repeats itself, he will have a broken bone and be out 6-8 weeks. Who knows what he will be like when he gets back. That may keep him off 40 man (again).
    I agree Mejia and Cancel both probably added at year end to protect them.
    However, I also think 50/50 chance Phillips, Sparkman and Schwindel are off 40 man by year end.
    Finally, I think Arteaga and Cuthbert may find way on roster before year is out.as may Dini (or other catcher picked up on waivers).
    What I do know given Dayton’s love of other team’s rejects, your 40 man list will be missing 4-5 other additions during the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. FYI – it is a good article and no reason not to be speculating at this point as I predict a LOT of changes between now and October. This just gives a hint of some of the possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just to throw this out there, I think there is at least a significant chance Alex Gordon is back with the Royals next season. This is one situation where there might be interest for both the player and the team to execute the mutual option.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If roster construction took any semblance of normal, Arteaga and Lopez would not only be on the 40 man, but also the 25 man and Owings would be gone. Whit is an all around utility guy who should be in RF, with Nicky at second and Arteaga on the bench as the extra IF.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the breakdown, Alex. I could see a few of those guys on the bubble list making a case for addition to the 40 man. Certainly would be a nice problem to have. Maybe then DM wouldn’t feel the need to bargain shop Has Beens R Us in the offseason to fill out the 2020 roster.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Amid struggles, Vallot continues to push forward: Part Three | Royals Farm Report

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