Braves: Top prospects who need to be added to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft

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The Rule 5 Draft is a few weeks away, but teams only have until November 19th to add players to the 40-man roster and protect them from being “stolen” by other clubs on December 8th. If you need a quick rundown of the Rule 5 Draft, MLB.com has a pretty good summary:

Held each December, the Rule 5 Draft allows clubs without a full 40-man roster to select certain non-40-man roster players from other clubs. Clubs draft in reverse order of the standings from the previous season. Players signed at age 18 or younger need to be added to their club’s 40-Man roster within five seasons or they become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Players who signed at age 19 or older need to be protected within four seasons.

Not every club will make a selection, but those that do pick a player must pay $100,000 to the club from which said player was selected. Rule 5 Draft picks are assigned directly to the drafting club’s 26-man roster and must be placed on outright waivers in order to be removed from the 26-man roster in the subsequent season. Should the player clear waivers, he must be offered back to his previous team for $50,000 and can be outrighted to the Minors only if his original club does not wish to reacquire him. A Rule 5 Draft pick can be placed on the Major League injured list, but he must be active for a minimum of 90 days to avoid being subject to the aforementioned roster restrictions in the next campaign.

Clubs may trade a player selected in the Rule 5 Draft, but the same restrictions apply to the player’s new organization. However, a club may also work out a trade with the Rule 5 pick’s original club to acquire his full rights, thereby allowing him to be optioned to the Minors under traditional circumstances.

The Braves have a few big names that need to be protected before the end of the week, and while selection isn’t guaranteed, the Braves are obviously at risk of losing some key players. Their prospect ranking via MLB is listed as well:

In my opinion, Freddy Tarnok, Trey Harris, and Justin Dean are safe. None of them look particularly MLB-ready. Daysbel Hernandez is a key name; he was a pretty good bullpen arm in Mississippi all year before getting a taste of AAA action later in the season. We’ve seen the Braves possibly protect bullpen arm Alan Rangel already, and while Hernandez could join him, I think he’s safe.

The elephant in the room is Drew Waters. However, I don’t think there’s much of a chance the Braves let one of their top prospects go for nothing, and they can easily non-tender multiple names on the 40-man roster to create a spot for Waters. There’s no guarantee he would be selected anyways.

We’ve seen the Braves make moves during the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, but I doubt we see them select anyone in 2021 for the Major League portion. The Braves haven’t selected anyone for the Major League Club since 2016 when they picked up Armando Rivero — who was released before throwing a pitch with the organization. Since 2000, there have only been four selections by the Braves, with the only notable one being Dan Winkler in 2014.

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