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Rule 5 Draft Preview

There are literally hundreds of players eligible to be picked in the Rule 5 Draft. I would have to manually compile the list, and I do have enough of life outside of musing about the Mariners to keep me from doing that.

Instead, I will offer a couple modest lists. First of all, college players from the 2006 draft not on a team's 40-man roster are eligible this year. That was the first year I compiled a watchlist. Here are the players from my 2006 list available in this year's Rule 5 draft:

Of those players, I would only take looks at Wright and Cooper. Steven could be a mop-up man in a bullpen, and maybe develop into a decent reliever. Craig is a right-handed bat with a little gap power,and a good eye. He can play some first base and outfield, so he also brings some versatility, and he has a little speed too. He does enough things to perhaps justify a bench spot on a 2010 major league roster, though he won't threaten any incumbent starter.

If I were Jack Z, I wouldn't be looking at any of them. However, I think most teams (especially in the NL) should at least take a look at Cooper.

Second, here is the list of M's players available in the Rule 5 draft:
I hope that's everyone (and everyone on the list is actually eligible). I am a baseball geek, but not a big enough one to go through this process for every organization. Only a few names pop out on the list for me. Cesar Jimenez certainly does. He was injured last year, but he's only 25 years old with a little MLB experience, and his brief time in the majors was good too. Teams are always looking for left-handers. Because of that, Robert Rohrbaugh also could be looked at. Andrew Baldwin and Kyle Parker may get a few sniffs too, and maybe someone likes one of them as a middle reliever. Baldwin in particular sits in the low 90s, so he has a pretty decent arm.

Among position players, Mike Wilson, Johan Limonta, and Carlos Peguero are the players that stand out above the rest for me. Of that trio, Limonta is the most polished product, and he also brings the most defensive versatility (though I don't think he is that great of a defender anywhere). Wilson has great power, but holes that have been exposed repeatedly in AA and AAA. Peguero is a younger version of Mike Wilson. They should have too many flaws to get picked, and definitely have too many to stick with another team.

So, if anyone is getting picked from the M's, I'd bet on Rohrbaugh or Jimenez. Don't pay much attention to Rule 5 draft previews, either. They mostly focus on trying to find diamonds in the rough. The majority of players picked profile as fringe bench players or stopgaps in bullpens. If they were that good, they wouldn't be eligible for the Rule 5 draft...at least 999 times out of 1000 or so. The rare diamond in the rough is what gives the Rule 5 draft any appeal at all.