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MLB: The best Rule 5 Draft picks of the last decade

On Wednesday, the Rule 5 Draft takes place at the Winter meetings in San Diego giving teams an opportunity to take some low-risk gambles to find big league talent.

Rules

Players first signed at 18 or younger must be added to the 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organisations through the Rule 5 process. Players at 19 or older have to be added within four seasons.

Clubs will pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn’t stay on the 26-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000. 

Here are a list of 10 of the best Rule 5 Draft picks in the last decade

Ryan Pressly (Houston Astros)

Pressly was selected by the Minnesota Twins from the Boston Red Sox in 2012. He spent nearly six seasons as a valuable part of the Twins’ big league bullpen after they took him as their No.4 overall pick in the 2012 draft. 

Pressly has since made two All-Star appearances since the Twins sent him to Houston. He was a big part of their World Series success this past season and had a 2.56 ERA and 11 saves in 41 postseason outings for the Astros. 

Garrett Whitlock (Boston Red Sox)

Whitlock was selected by the Red Sox from the New York Yankees in 2020. That year’s Rule 5 draft was clouded by the fact there were no Winter Meetings for officials to attend in person. 

Whitlock was the No.4 pick of the Rule 5 draft that year. He battled through a hip injury in 2022 before having surgery in September this year but still proved an invaluable member of the roster and had a 2.73 ERA in two seasons with Boston, who are 35/1 to win the World Series in 2023.

Odubel Herrera (Philadelphia Phillies)

Herrera was selected by the Phillies from the Texas Rangers and was a number eight pick in the 2014 Rule 5 draft. He managed to become an All-Star in 2016, but has struggled with productivity and injuries and played only 62 games in 2022. 

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MLB: 2022 Rule 5 Draft Preview

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The Phillies have not offered Herrera a new contract, so he is on the free agent market at the moment.

Anthony Santander (Baltimore Orioles)

Santander was selected by the Orioles from Cleveland in 2016. It took a little while for the outfielder to settle into the big leagues, playing in just 46 games in 2017 and 2018 combined. 

In 2022 Santander hit 33 home runs and drove in 89 runs and will be a huge part of an Orioles side that is expected to progress from their impressive 2022 season. 

Mark Canha (New York Mets)

Canha was selected by the Colorado Rockies from the Miami Marlins and then later traded to the Oakland A’s. Canha finds himself with the New York Mets, who are 10/1 for World Series glory next year, after signing a two-year-deal in 2022 as a free agent. 

In his rookie season with the Athletics, Canha hit 16 home runs and then had his best season with Oakland in 2019 when he registered 26 home runs and finished with an OPS of .913. 

Brad Keller (Kansas City Royals)

Keller was selected by the Cincinnati Reds from the Arizona Diamondbacks before being traded to the Royals in 2017. He started in the Royals’ bullpen before becoming a consistent starter by the end of the season. 

He was a regular in the rotation for the next three seasons and spent most of 2022 as the same, although a lack of results pushed him back to the bullpen late in the season. 

Akil Badoo (Detroit Tigers)

Badoo was selected by the Tigers from the Minnesota Twins in 2020. The outfielder took advantage of increased playing time in 2021, finishing with 13 home runs and 18 stolen bases in his rookie season. 

However, he didn’t build on that promise in 2022, playing in just 73 games and finishing with a .558 OPS. The 23-year-old still features in the Tigers' plans going forward as they look to build a competitive roster. 

Ji-Man Choi (Pittsburgh Pirates)

Choi was selected by the Los Angeles Angels from the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. He appeared in 54 games in 2016, then went from the Angels to the Yankees and then the Brewers as a free agent for the next couple of seasons. 

Milwaukee moved him to the Tampa Bay Rays in June 2018 and he's been part of the successful seasons that the Rays have had with 88 postseason appearances from 2019-2022, before the Rays traded him to the Pirates, who are 150/1 outsiders to win the 2023 World Series, this offseason.

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