clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Nationals: Rule 5 Draft History.

The Nationals And The Rule 5 Draft...

The Washington Nationals, who hired Davey Johnson as a "senior advisor to the general manager" Mike Rizzo last week, as reported in an article by's Bill Ladson entitled, "Nats name Johnson advisor to GM", brought Johnson to DC once before, back in 2006, as a consultant to then-GM Jim Bowden, and it was Johnson, Mr. Ladson wrote, who, "...told the Nationals to select catcher Jesus Flores in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft." Jesus Flores was the Nationals' first Rule 5 pick. (ed. note - "From the Major League Phase at least...the Nationals selected 3 players in the Triple-A Phase in 2005; Josh Perrault, now in the Orioles' system, who just gave up the game winning HR in the AFL Championship Saturday; Jose Sanchez, a RHP from the Giants' system, and infielder Brandon Powell from the Royals, but Washington refrained from taking a player in the Major League phase of the '05 Rule 5).

Flores came out of the NY Mets' system. The Mets reportedly left the then-22-year-old backstop, (regarded by some as the best catcher in their system), available thinking he was too green for teams to take a chance on, though they moved him to the Triple-A roster (he'd played the '06 season at Class-A) to make him drafting an even more troublesome proposition, since the team selecting him would have to pay $50,000 and keep the catcher on their major league 25-man roster all season. Later in the Major League phase of the '06 Rule 5 Draft, the Nationals selected right-hander Levale Speigner from the Minnesota Twins with the 17th pick...(and then hit the Twins up again, taking LHP Justin Jones in the Triple-A Phase...)

Speigner would not last through the '07 season on the Nationals' 25-man roster, as Rule 5 Draft rules demand, so the Nationals were forced to work out a deal with the Twins to keep the pitcher, sending OF Darnell McDonald to Minnesota so that they could send Speigner down into their system, but Jesus Flores stuck around, playing 79 games as Brian Schneider's backup, and in 2008, stealing the starting spot from veteran free agent signings Paul Lo Duca and Johnny Estrada

In 2007, the Nationals selected 1B Matt Whitney from the Cleveland Indians with the 7th pick in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, and then took OF Garrett Guzman from the Minnesota Twins with the 16th pick. Whitney was returned to the Indians when he didn't make it out of the Nationals' camp, with then GM-Jim Bowden telling's Bill Ladson, in an article entitled, "Nationals retain rights to Guzman", that the Nationals, "'...wanted to make a trade for him...But given the fact that we have [first baseman] Chris Marrero coming...the price [was too high to keep] Whitney." Guzman was sent to Triple-A Columbus after the Nationals again made a deal with the Twins for future considerations or cash...(ed. note - "We'll delicately exit Guzman's history there...")

The Nationals selected RHP Terrell Young from the Cincinnati Reds' organization with the first pick of the Major League phase of the 2008 Rule 5 Draft, but the 23-year-old injured his shoulder and Washington returned Young, recouping half of the $50,000 dollars they'd paid the Reds to take him. With the first pick of the Triple-A Phase, the Nationals selected OF Ricardo Nanita from the White Sox, who split time in 2009 between the GCL Nationals, Double-AA Harrisburg Senators and the Mexican League...

As far as losing players, the Nationals announced last week that they'd added three pitchers, Juan Jaime, Atahualpa Severino and Aaron Thompson to their 40-man roster so they'd be protected, but as Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin noted in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Nats add three to 40-man roster, but not Wilkie", they left right-handed pitcher Josh Wilkie (who just pitched in the AFL) unprotected. In 2005, RHP Chris Booker was selected by the Detroit Tigers, signed away by the Phillies, claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals and then returned to Washington. 

In 2006, IF Alejandro Machado was selected from DC's system in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft and seven players were taken in the Triple-A phase. (ed. note - "You get a gold star if you remember RHP James Henderson, LHP Ricardo Morales, C Salomon Manriquez and IFers Billy Webb, John Labandeira, Brandon Powell and Jose Contreras...and recognizing Powell's name from a few paragraphs above doesn't count...") In '07, just 3 players from the Nationals' Triple-A roster were taken, RHP Brett Campbell, LHP Juan Cedeno and SS Marcos Cabral. In 2008, the Orioles grabbed RHP Josh Perrault, and the Reds grabbed RHP Luis Ortega. 

What to expect from the Rule 5 Draft this year? The Nationals, once again, have the No. 1 pick.'s Jonathan Mayo, in an article on the Rule 5 preparations around baseball entitled, "Teams shuffle rosters before Rule 5 Draft", refers to the Rule 5 Draft as the "ultimate needle in a haystack search", though he reports that there are some interesting possibilities amongst those available:

"Early Draft picks from 2006 who can be had in the Rule 5 Draft include White Sox first-rounder Kyle McCulloch, the Reds' Sean Watson and the Indians' Steven Wright. From the 2005 Draft, there are some hitters such as John Drennen, the Rangers' John Whittleman and Koby Clemens of the Astros, who led the Minors in RBIs, albeit in the Class A Advanced California League."

Kyle McCullough is a 24-year-old right-hander out of the University of Texas, who's (28-35) with a combined 4.31 ERA and 5.3 K/9 innings pitched over 4 seasons in the White Sox' system. Sean Watson was the Reds' 2nd Round pick in 2006, he's another 24-year-old right-hander who's been working as a reliever in Cincy's system the last two seasons. The Indians' Steven Wright, as Mr. Mayo refers to him, is a 25-year-old '06 2nd Round pick by Cleveland, who split time between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus this season. John Drennen's an OF who was an Indians' 1st Rounder in '05, John Whittleman's a third baseman selected in the 2nd Round of the MLB Draft by Texas in 2005 and Koby Clemens is of course, that Koby Clemens, son of Roger, who spent the '09 campaign catching in the Class-A California League where he hit .345 with a .419 OBP, 45 doubles, 22 HR's and 121 RBI's...

Who knows...the Nationals could get lucky and find the next Everth Cabrera, (who went to the Padres last season); Joakim Soria, (who the Royals took from the Padres in '06); Josh Hamilton, (who was drafted by the Cubs from the Rays' system and then traded to Cincinnati before overcoming all sorts of problems and finally breaking out); Dan Uggla, (who the Marlins took from Arizona in 2005); or even another Jesus Flores...I wouldn't hold my breath...but it will be interesting to see what the Nationals' new front office comes up with...