Getting to Know the MLB 2019 Rule 5 Draft Pool

Yesterday marked the first day of the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) Winter Meetings, a time for folks in the industry, along with those aspiring to break in, to meet up and discuss trends in the game, network, and of course talk about baseball. With executives from all the front offices in such close proximity, it is usually a time of high activity for off season transactions, both between organizations as well as free agents signings, which is always exciting. The four day event is capped off with the Rule 5 draft (here is a link to the Wikipedia page as well for those wanting to learn more). To sum it up briefly: Teams with space on their 40 man rosters have a chance to pick up unprotected, draft eligible players from other organizations that must be on the 26 man roster for all of 2020 to be kept by the new team. It is the MLB’s attempt to balance the talent found in team farm systems. This year the draft will take place on Thursday, December 12th. There are over 600 players eligible for the draft this year so if you are interested in getting to know that player pool, please keep on reading.

I have created a dashboard on my Tableau Public profile that provides a high level breakdown of all the Rule 5 draft eligible players this year. The breakdowns available on the dashboard are by the organization they are currently apart of, by their Minor League Level, by the number of positions they play, and by the primary position they play. Additionally, I have a list of all the individual players eligible at the player level. I have color coded all the bar charts by the official colors for each team I found curtsy of of this link . The dashboard is designed so that each sheet is a filter for all the other sheets. For example, if you wanted to see only players eligible to be drafted from the Milwaukee Brewers, select the MIL bar in the team chart, and all the other sheets would update to only show Brewers players.

The dashboard does not currently have statistical information on the players available (something I may add in the future), but if you select a player in the bottom left table, and go to their tool tip, you can go directly to their Fangraphs player page to learn more about them.

Image of the Fangraphs Player link for the MLB 2019 Rule 5 Draft Pool dashboard

You might be thinking, are you going to go over your favorite players from the eligible player pool? Unfortunately no, not at this time, but if you are looking for some analysis on who the most interesting players are to be drafted, you should check out Luke Siler on twitter. He writes primarily about Orioles’ minor league players, but he usually puts out a list of his favorite players available for this draft. I look forward to seeing this year’s list.

All of the data for this dashboard came from the Roster Resources pages available on Fangraphs.com. These pages are an incredible resource for understanding the rosters of all 30 major league organizations and are full of useful information, including which players are eligible for the Rule 5 draft each year. That said there may be two points of error in my dashboard. First, Jason Martinez, who runs the Roster Resource pages, might have a player or two listed as eligible when they are not actually eligible. When I was putting this data set together, I was shocked to see Yusniel Diaz of the Orioles was eligible for the draft and not protected on the 40 man roster. After some searching, I found that he is in fact not eligible until next year’s draft so his exclusion from the 40 man roster makes sense. While I did not double check every other prospect to see if there were any other mistakes, I fave a feeling this situation is more of an exception than a rule. The second point of potential error is that I compiled this data set manually myself so there may be a few typing mistakes. If you notice anything off about a player who should not be eligible or has an incorrect position or team, please let me know.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Original post on IVthoughts.com. All data taken from the Roster Resource’s pages at Fangraphs.com.

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