November 20 was the deadline for MLB teams to add players to their 40-man rosters. If you missed what every team did, go on our Twitter timeline history. But before the Rule 5 Draft in December, let’s go over three names that may be taken during the Winter Meetings.
Who is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft?
Before we get into who may be taken, let’s go over who’s eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Players who were signed at the age of 18 or under must have been with an MLB organization for five seasons. For this year’s Rule 5 Draft, this applies to players signed in 2015 or earlier. For players who were 19 and older when they signed, a player becomes eligible for the Rule 5 Draft once playing professionally for four seasons. This means players who started in pro ball in 2016 or earlier are eligible.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a look at three players that may be worth targeting:
Potential Rule 5 Draft Picks
Tigers RHP pitching prospect Logan Shore is first up on our list. Shore, a former second round pick by the Oakland Athletics, had a strong three seasons in college with the University of Florida Gators. In those seasons, Shore had a 2.41 ERA in 313.1 innings for the Gators, and had a career WHIP of 1.05. Shore’s strikeout numbers may not have been too impressive (7.1 SO/9 in NCAA), but he did a strong job of limiting runners on base (1.8 BB/9) while flashing some nasty stuff.
Since he’s entered pro ball, Shore has had his ups and downs. After a solid first pro season in 2016 (2.57 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 9.0 SO/9), Shore had an average 2017 season in the California League (4.09 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 9.2 SO/9, 2.0 BB/9) a league that’s very friendly to hitters. However, after forcing a promotion to AA after four strong outings in Stockton to start the year, his 2018 season in the Texas League was rough. Texas League hitters hit .305 against him while showing very little resistance (6.4 SO/9, while his BB/9 rose to 2.5). After that season, he was shipped out to Detroit as part of the Mike Fiers trade to Oakland.
In his first season in the Tigers organization, Shore continued to struggle in AA. Shore’s ERA did rebound a bit after a tough 2018 (3.80 ERA). However, his SO/9 was a career worst at 5.4, while his BB/9 was at a career high at 3.6. And after a season where he underperformed and missed time with an injury, Shore was not protected for this year’s Rule 5 Draft. Now the big question you may be asking is why would we put Shore on this list after a rough couple of seasons? The reason is simple: Shore still has the potential to be an effective pitcher. The 6’2” righty has a fastball that can sit in the mid-90’s, along with a plus change that can be used to mess with hitters’ timing and get them to chase. Shore also uses a slider, but that pitch is thought of to be a third pitch with below-average to average potential.
Shore’s numbers may not be fantastic, but his stuff may be enough to tempt a team that thinks he can get past his injury woes, as he dealt with injuries in 2017 and 2019. If he get get healthy and work on his slider, he does have the potential to be a #4 or #5 starter.
Shervyen Newton may be the most tantalizing but risky prospect available in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. Signed for just $50,000 in 2015 out of Curacao, Newton was a part of a major international signing class for the Mets that year. The Mets spent seven figures on their two biggest signings that year, Andres Gimenez ($1.2M) and Gregory Guerrero ($1.5M). And just like the Mets’ international class that year, Newton’s professional career has been a mixed bag thus far.
After struggling in his first pro season in 2016 (.169/.347/.229), Newton put up a solid season in 2017 (.311/.433/.444), his second in the Dominican Summer League. Newton moved up to Kingsport (R) in 2018, where he put up similar numbers, hitting .280 while posting a .408 OBP and .449 SLG. After a solid campaign in 2018, Newton moved up to Columbia (A) in 2019, but he struggled throughout the year. The 20-year old switch hitter batted just .209 in 2019 and put up a paltry .613 OPS, a far cry from the .857 OPS he put up just a season prior. Newton also struck out quite a bit, striking out 139 times in 109 games.
Newton is nowhere near a finished product, as he’s going to need about 3-4 seasons before being a regular contributor to a MLB team. However, Newton has a ton of upside, as he has the potential to be at least an average hitter. On top of that, Newton has a projectable 6’4” and 180 lbs. frame, which certainly doesn’t hurt his stock as a prospect. Because of that, the 20-year old infielder may be a target for a team come December. While he certainly won’t make an immediate impact for a team, he could be someone that a rebuilding team is willing to take a chance on, and pick him and stash him away in the Minors in 2021 for more refinement.
Nationals RHP prospect Sterling Sharp is the last pitcher on our list. Sharp, a 22nd round pick from Division II Drury University in 2016, has steadily risen up the ranks in the Nationals system since being drafted. And he became one of the team’s best prospects after a strong 2018 campaign that saw pitch well in High A and AA. This past season was a solid one for him statistically, putting up a 3.99 ERA with Harrisburg (AA) while recording a 8.23 SO/9. It was, however, a shortened season for Sharp, thanks to an injury that cost him all of June, July and most of August.
Surprisingly, Sharp was not protected by the Nationals this past November, as the only player the team opted to protect was LHP Ben Braymer. That may be because the Nationals are still hopeful that they can retain the services of Stephen Strasburg or Anthony Rendon, and the Nats wanted to keep some 40-man roster spots open.
Sharp may garner a lot of interest next week at the Rule 5 Draft thanks to his stuff. He flashes a low-90’s sinker that generates a ton of groundballs, along with a solid changeup. Sharp also has a slider which projects to be a below-average to average pitch.
When Sharp was drafted, he was still relatively unrefined, as he played two sports in high school (baseball and basketball) and sat out all of 2015 after transferring from Eastern Michigan University. And while he still needs a bit more refinement, Sharp has certainly come a long way since being drafted in 2016. Sharp projects to be a back-end starter in the Majors, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was taken during the Winter Meetings.
Who do you think will be selected in the Rule 5 Draft? Let us know, and be sure to keep checking out our site as well as our social media channels for all the latest content from FH Freeway.