Other then more trades, which are already happening this morning across baseball at Winter Meetings, including Matt Kemp going to the Padres, the last day of the Winter Meetings is usually about the Rule 5 draft, and today will be no exception.
The Rule 5 draft aims to prevent teams from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other teams would be willing to keep them in the majors.
Its also a chance for teams at the top of the draft (like your Arizona Diamondbacks) to grab some a high ceiling prospect with a ton of upside, that is not being protected by another club.
The selection order is determined by win loss record from the prior season. Each round starts with the team with the worst record, and it proceeds in order to the team with the best record.
Thanks to their 64-98 record last season, the Dbacks have the no.1 pick in the draft, and we shall see what new Dbacks scouting director Deric Landier and his staff will do.
Its clear that the Dbacks are targeting catchers and they should. This team needs catching depth especially after trading Miguel Montero, and the catching position doesn’t have a lot of depth in the farm system.
The Dbacks think that Peter O’Brien can be their starting catcher in 2016, but for now they need to add depth to the position.
Here is what Cooper said about Hernandez:
“Hernandez is an extremely toosly catcher with a big arm and equally big power. He put together one of the greatest Venezuelan Summer League seasons one will ever see in 2011, hitting .402/.503/.732 with 21 home runs. He led the league in batting average by 38 points, home runs by 13, slugging percentage by .238 points, total bases by 37 and on-base percentage by 39 points. If he develops, Hernandez could be a catcher who limits running games while hitting 15-20 home runs. Athletic for a catcher, he’s an average runner.”
“Hernandez isn’t a fully polished catcher defensively yet. He’s actually not even the most presently accomplished defensive catcher on his own team–Armando Araiza was more advanced, although Hernandez does have quick feet behind the plate. Even more importantly, he’s struggled to hit for average throughout his career with the exception of that one year in 2011. He projects as a below-average hitter, albeit with above-average power potential.”
While Hernandez isn’t polished defensively yet, he has a chance to get a lot better just like O’Brien is. He has a ton of power, which is always an extra benefit, and he has a strong arm which is a plus. He has a high ceiling, and could be a nice addition.”
Another option is Astros catcher Roberto Pena who was mentioned as a possibility for Arizona by Jim Callis of MLB.com:
Here is what Cooper said about Pena:
“Pena is an excellent defender who has an extremely accurate arm. If a team is looking for an inexpensive backup catcher, Pena has the defensive polish to make the jump all the way from high Class A to the big leagues.
To stick as a Rule 5 catcher, a player has to prove he can be a quality No. 2 catcher who can start at least 20-30 games. Pena’s bat would be overtaxed for those 100-150 at-bats right now.”
Pena is a great defender, and has a great throwing arm. He is advanced enough to play in the big leagues which could provide value to the Dbacks considering they only have Tuffy Gosewisch right now.
The Dbacks however, are interested in other catchers on the trade market. Last season at Lancaster, Pena hit .249 with 13 HR and 54 RBI’s.
It all depends on what the Diamondbacks want. Hernandez has a great bat, and has the chance to develop into a solid defensive catcher, and Pena is already established defensively. and could play in the big’s in 2015.
Another option for the Diamondbacks could be Astros OF Delino DeShields Jr is another option, but the perception is the Dbacks will take a catcher.
Stay tuned to VenomStrikes after the draft for analysis on who the Dbacks take.