There are plenty of places where you can find the specification of the Rule 5 process. The basic outline of the plan was intended for players to find additional avenues to reach the majors, when a team limits the chances of a player making the parent club. There are three basic principles that make minor league players subjected to this process.
Major League Phase:
1. The minor league player is left unprotected off the the 40 man roster as of November 20th when the roster has to be submitted to the Major league front office.
2. Left unprotected and 4 years of MilB service at age 19 or older. This is typically JC and 4 year college drafted players.
3. Left unprotected and 5 years of MilB service at age 16-18 years. These are typically international free agents and drafted high school seniors.
Minor League Phase:
In addition to the qualification rules of the major league phase, teams can protect 38 players on their AAA roster and 37 players AA.
All teams do a solid job identifying their best prospects and stash away the top 75 players. Usually, it is pitching that is selected at the AAA and AA phases to help with depth.
Below is a list of the higher profile minor league Orioles that could be subjected to their 1st waiver process, if not protected by the Orioles on the 40 man roster before November 20th. I think all fit within the top 75 prospects and should not be subjected to the AAA or AA phase, but stranger things have happened.
Hoes was always a tool driven prospect that could hit, good glove, good enough not to be a clogger on the base paths. He could not find a home on the field and the defensive focus was holding back any growth with the bat. He spent his first three season up and down, hot and cold. It was not until working with Denny Hocking that I started to see the hip/torso separation in his game and the bat trending North. He is an above average contact hitter that may find a power stroke later in his development. I see the path and extension that could get it to slightly below average, who knows if he ends up 10 pounds heavier 27-30 years old. He is isolated to the outfield, really not enough arm to play in RF. His range and glove hold their own in left and there is a chance for high contact rate with the bat. If the contact stays high and he plays sound defense, he could be an tick above replacement level. He could be an everyday, really solid 4th outfielder who could hit off the bench.
Seeing the improvements this season, almost plus contact rate, and bat speed that has ability, I think the Orioles end up protecting him. It could be between him and Avery, with Avery providing speed that is always useful on the bench. If exposed, he is that player teams take a flier on with one tool and versatility in the field. While not a regular, he could play 3B, RF, CF in a pinch. He will Surely be on the AAA list, so strictly subjected to MLB phase.
Bobby always impressed me with his mentality on the hill. He has a good no quit type of game in him. He should be a heavy innings-eater pitcher that could live off his FB, CH, CB. He had a minor bone spur injury this summer. After surgery to shave down the bone growth irritation, Bobby is currently rehabbing the injury in Sarasota. The issue could have been a major factor in his command of the fastball and curve, which has seemed to be his kicker the last two seasons. When on his game, the curve is a knockout pitch, and there is very deceptive action between the fastball and change up. The action on the change up is good enough now that it is an effective offering at the major league level. At his best, he can ride it low and often. The hope is the bone spur was the main issue why his pitches rode high often. I see a pitcher that could sit 3-4 in the rotation and get ground balls in bunches. He will be worth monitoring because if his command comes back in the spring, he could be a factor in the rotation or bullpen with the Orioles.
Teams may be slightly scared to take an arm that is coming off surgery, but most know bone spurs are not something that throws up red flags, more open ended questions. He is that player who could flourish in a bullpen and teams could use an arm that may read 94-95 mph in one inning stints with a knockout curve. Teams may be tempted if they know Bobby is completely healthy, and he could be the type teams are willing to take a risk on if left unprotected. He will surely be on AAA list, so strictly subjected to MLB phase.
Power left handed pitcher, check. Ability to get out left handed batters, check. If not for a UCL injury that required Tommy John Surgery, he would easily have been a candidate as a left handed pitcher in the Orioles bullpen this season. Tolliver has an impressive arm for his size and is very strong. However, the delivery placed a good deal of torque on his arm. He is currently in Sarasota rehabbing his elbow and all signs is that he should be an arm to watch out. His speed and ability to keep it low inducing high ground balls will always be in high demand.
I would be shocked if he were left unprotected in the AAA or AA phase, as left handed pitchers that can touch 96 mph do not know on trees. He is also the type of player that a team in need of a LOOGY could take a shot in the dark at. He needs to be brought back slowly in 2013, so I do not think he gets selected and could be a factor in the Orioles at some stage later next season. I think he will be reserved on one of the minor league lists, but he would surely be selected if not protected.
Another player who had trouble staying healthy. He has faced multiple arm issues since his days with the Rice Owls. He has seen cysts, tendinitis, and a number of minor hiccups with the shoulder as a professional. Berry is mainly a two pitch guy with a low 90s fastball and solid 11/7 curve, and he is showcasing mainly as a back of the bullpen arm. He has decent deception, shows an arsenal that gets out both sides effectively, and can command the ball well enough to be an effective 6th-7th inning reliever.
I do not think the Orioles will protected him on the 40, but likely place him on the 38 man AAA roster. He is another type that could be selected in Rule 5. He has shown that he can reach back for 92 mph and locate it well in the zone. He can keep it on the ground and miss bats, which comes in high demand for teams taking a flyer on 7th man in the bullpen. I think he will be reserved on one of the minor league lists, but he would surely be selected if not protected on the AAA or AA rosters.
Talk about a lot of promise that has been derailed time after time with injuries. At one point, I thought he was a slight steal of a player that could produce enough offense to stay at 1B in a first division program. He has the size and power. Adding the loft in the swing power will always be a factor that he would bring to the table. His power was not reaching plus-plus, but would be considered above average at this time. He has missed a great deal of at bats, which will hurt an already growing concern with contact. His swing can get long at times and there may be a concern that contact could be maintained high enough for the power to factor, limited exposure has not allowed him the chance to refine and grow his approach.
Power is always a need for teams. They want to look at guys that can fill a role, mostly bullpen, but power bat off the bench rates up. The Orioles are likely going to leave him unprotected on the 40 man roster, but protect him on the minor league list. I do not see a team taking the chance on the major league phase because he needs more time developing. He will be reserved on one of the minor league lists, so strictly subjected to MLB phase.
Big powerful thunder stick, arguably the best power bat in the Orioles system. He is simply a masher, and if he gets a hold of the offering it is surely out of any ball park. His contact and approach has some stuff left to improve upon, in order to let that power flourish. He has compacted and shortened the stroke, showing better two strike disciplined approach, but both have a long way to go reaching enough contact to showcase the power in his game as he moves closer to the parent club. He hit the injury bug over a month ago with a strained oblique. Surgery looks to be avoided, but this will be worth monitoring into next season.
You cannot teach power or speed. They resimply something you are born with and why teams try to find both while uncovering every rock known to man. I would never rule out a team taking a chance with the huge power ceiling he possesses. It is one of the risks teams prefer taking in the Rule 5. I think he will be placed on the reserve lists and teams will not have a chance to add his power to the depths of their minor league development.
Any time a pitcher can come back and return to form from shoulder labrum surgery, it is considered a success. He was a pitcher that always lived with good command and control of the fastball. He has seen a touch of improved velocity and was able to sustain the velocity in his 2-3 inning outings. The curve has maintained good depth to be an effective offering, but mainly he was mostly showing the fastball in relief. Even in limited exposure and working basically off one pitch sometimes, he showed some quality efforts. I caught him in the middle of the season, he was simply a ground ball machine.
His role may be better suited as a middle reliever type. He could vastly improve his size with his frame, and all would really help push him up the ladder. He has not been truly tested above low A, and is the type of pitcher that could be selected in the latter phases of the draft to fit into another system. Each team has a protected list and he has too much talent to be exposed. There is a very slim chance that he is left up protected on both the AAA and AA lists. If he does not get placed on either MiLB reserve list, he will almost surely get selected in the minor league phase.
Webb’s Major strength to his game has always been his arm. It has solid carry and is one of the best in the system. He has solid speed that shows him as a versatile defender. The patience at the plate has greatly improved, but it requires additional work as he is moving to a higher class of pitching with better quality of the breaking ball. Webb’s deception on the change up is improving. He tends to get a bit long and his drifting hand load could pose difficulties as he progresses. His overall approach has improved and he has the bat speed where more compaction could drastically help his offensive game; rounding him out to a higher prospect. He shows pop when he gets a hold of it and the ball sounds great in BP. There has been progress this season and he has the hands, and natural athletic ability to mark him as a solid track & follow prospect. With his skill set and the tools he brings to the table, he is one of the top 50 prospects in the Orioles system and should be protected either with the AAA or AA roster.
This is simply me talking. I would have to guess that he has low 90′s mph carry in the outfield and with instruction he could be a 93-94 mph pitcher with the fastball, maybe more. He has a ton of arm strength and if the position player path starts to fade, he could give pitching a try.
He is proof that hard work and determination can at least get you on the radar and into the big picture. Not everyone works on the same timetable and others blossom later in their careers. I am not seeing much difference in his stroke, but boy it is night and day on his plate awareness and patience. The game has slowed down, and he has a solid compact approach with adequate bat speed. His path is more contact driven. He has always been a sound, bring your lunch pale to work type of defender. He will not wow you, but he has some surprising agility and overall athletic ability. He has more than enough in the tank to stick at 2B, and could be a very useful utility player who I could see at 3B, and even SS in a pinch (if needed). I cannot see a way the Orioles do not protect him, even if there are others that provide more “upside”. Kelly has done nothing but produce. These are the types that may get over matched on the parent club, but I have seen worse off at least provide a cup of coffee level production to a parent club.