As was expected by many baseball pundits, the Yankees lost four players in the Major League portion of today’s Rule 5 draft, and another two in the minor league portion.
RHP Anyelo Gómez went to the Braves, LHP Nestor Cortes to the Orioles, 1B Mike Ford to the Mariners and RHP José Mesa Jr. also went to Baltimore. RHP Yancarlos Báez was selected by Minnesota and C Sharif Othman was selected by Miami in the Triple-A phase of the draft.
By rule, these players must remain on the 25-man roster for the entirety of the 2018 season or must be returned to the Yankees. If they do remain on the roster for a full season, the team that selected them gets full rights, and can send players to the minor leagues as necessary.
The Yankees made one selection in the Minor League phase, taking outfielder Junior Soto from the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A roster. Soto got his first taste of full-season ball in 2017, playing for the Low-A Lake County Captains. In 52 games, he slashed .172/.208/.408 with 14 doubles and nine home runs. Plate discipline will be his biggest issue, given that he struck out 61 times compared to just six walks. He will start the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Last year, the Yankees lost four players in the Rule 5 draft. The Padres ended up with C Luis Torrens, and stashed him on their active roster for the full season. RHP Tyler Jones was selected by the Diamondbacks, but was returned after not making their 25-man roster. LHP Caleb Smith was selected by the Brewers, then traded to the Cubs and finally returned to the Yankees. The Pirates selected LHP Tyler Webb, but he was sent back at the end of Spring Training.