December 9, 2010

Pirates Add Infielder in Rule V Draft

The Major League Basbeall Rule V draft was held this morning. By way of a quick review, teams are able to draft any player who is not on a 40-man roster after either four or five years with their organization. The drafting team must keep the player on the major league 25-man roster for the entire season, either active or on the disabled list, or he must be offered back to his original team.

Your Pittsburgh Pirates had the first pick and chose infielder Josh Rodriguez from the Cleveland Indians. While the majority of Rule V picks don't stick with their organization, I think Rodriguez is a player who stay on the major league roster all season as a positive contributor.

The Tribe's second round pick in 2006, Rodriguez looked like a pretty solid prospect in his first full season. He hit .262/.351/.460 with the Carolina League's Kinston Indians including 84 runs, 20 home runs, and 82 RBI. He lost his prospect status with a terrible 2008 in which he didn't hit at all at AA Akron, followed by a 2009 in which injuries limited him to 33 games (albeit with a .426 OBP).

As a side note, I highly recommend seeing a game in Kinston's historic Grainger Stadium. In Faulkneresque fashion, the park hasn't been renovated or really changed at all since it opened in 1949. Think of the classic minor league "family atmosphere" only without families, or fans really, and with shotgun shacks across the street. Beer is priced such that anyone holding an Economics degree, such as myself, is basically required to buy one's own 64 ounce pitcher in the first and sixth innings. Unfortunately I didn't make it to that many games during my time in North Carolina because there was at that time a decided lack of people who wanted to be designated drivers for a 190 mile round trip.

In 2010, Rodriguez re-established prospect status. He showcased improved plate discipline and the power he had shown three years before returned. He hit .317/.405/.476 at Akron and was quickly promoted to Buffalo where he hit .293/.372/.486. That's a solid 12.9% walk rate over the past two seasons. Not only that, but Rodriguez played a super sub role in which he played shortstop, third base, second base, left, center, and right field.

I put Rodriguez's AAA numbers into the Minor League Equivalency Calculator and came out with a resulting batting line of .247/.315/.395. Ronny Cedeno's career batting line is .245/.284/.356. So here is a vastly superior shortstop that we added for the $50,000 Rule V price. Remind me why Cedeno was signed for $2 million...

Adcock Drafted by Royals
With the fifth pick in the Rule V draft, the Kansas City Royals drafted Bradenton starter Nathan Adcock from the Pirates organization. He put together a nice season in 2010 going 11-7, 3.38, with a 3:1 K/BB ratio and a 1.20 WHIP in 141 innings. That also was incidentally Adcock's only good year ever and there's no indication he has prospect-level stuff. Although the Royals rival only the Pirates in ability to keep non-MLB baseball players on their major league roster, I would be pretty surprised if Adcock doesn't end up being returned to the Pirates - maybe as early as spring training.

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