The Dodgers didn’t select any player in the MLB phase of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft — not surprising seeing as they haven’t selected anyone since taking Seth Rosin in 2014. What’s a little surprising is the fact they lost two prospects: Connor Joe and Drew Jackson.
The Reds selected Joe and the Phillies selected Jackson, both of whom will cost $100,000 (up from $50,000 in the previous CBA). Each player must remain on the 25-man roster (or disabled list) for the entire season, otherwise they have to offer him back to the Dodgers for $50,000. The Dodgers can choose to take them back or let them remain with their new organizations.
Joe, 26, was one of seven guys I thought were worthy of being protected leading up to the Rule 5 Draft. When the Dodgers added five players to the 40-man roster last month, Joe became an attractive Rule 5 Draft prospect after hitting .299/.408/.527 between Double- and Triple-A last season. He played mostly first- and third base and dabbled at second base for 17 innings. The Reds announced him as a catcher, so they’re going to see if he can handle it because the bat should play (especially if he’s any kind of catcher). He would have ranked in the 21-30 range of next year’s Top 100 for me.
Jackson, 25, was acquired two springs ago in the Chase De Jong deal. He played the entire 2018 season with Double-A Tulsa and hit .251/.356/.447 while playing mostly second base and shortstop. He even logged 56 innings in center field. Basically, he’s a poor man’s Chris Taylor. He’s athletic, has legit double-plus speed and arm strength and some pop. The hit tool is the biggest question mark, but he has done a solid job controlling the strike zone in his pro career so far (19.4 K%).
On the surface, it looked like Phillies’ manager Gabe Kapler, the Dodgers’ former player development head, had a say in this selection. He was set to go to a Phillies’ team that already has Cesar Hernandez at second base, the newly acquired Jean Segura at shortstop, the soon-to-be-traded (?) Maikel Franco at third base, former top prospect Scott Kingery (plays 2B/SS/3B) and Odubel Herrera in center field. Not to mention they’re still interested in Manny Machado. But, Jackson wasn’t long for Philly.
This is a common practice among Rule 5 picks. The Orioles also selected former A’s prospect Richie Martin with the top pick in the Rule 5, so they have two young, athletic middle infielders who could see plenty of playing time for what might be one of baseball’s worst teams in 2019 (as they were in 2018).
While they’re not likely to miss either Joe or Jackson, it still kinda stings to lose a couple quality prospects. But, the Dodgers made their choices when they decided to protect Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios over Joe. Having Taylor and Enrique Hernandez around probably made it easier to let Jackson go.
The Dodgers didn’t lose anyone else in the minor-league phase of the draft, bu they also didn’t add anyone.