Dodgers protect 4 prospects from 2020 Rule 5 Draft

Zach Reks. Photo by: Stacie Wheeler

In my Rule 5 Draft protection post from a fewer than two weeks ago, I wasn’t sure exactly who the Dodgers would protect. I thought Omar Estevez was the most likely, with Gerardo Carrillo to follow.

The deadline came and went yesterday, and the Dodgers protected four players: Carrillo, Andre Jackson, Zach Reks and Edwin Uceta. They opted not to protect Estevez — a bit of a curious move considering they invested $6 million in him in the form of a signing bonus back in 2015 and he has an aptitude for putting the bat on the ball. Either they think he’ll go undrafted or aren’t as high on him as I am. Not having a 2020 minor-league season may have hurt his chances, but maybe it keeps him in the Dodgers’ organization, too? We’ll see.

Carrillo, 22, has nasty stuff that hasn’t fully translated to good results so far in his MiLB career. But the arm talent is undeniable. He ranked 24th on my 2020 Top 100 list.

Jackson, 24, was a 12th-rounder in 2017 who didn’t debut until 2018. He took off in 2019 and was set for a substantial test in 2020 before the pandemic hit. He has his bouts with control, but his stuff is intriguing and he has starter potential. He ranked 19th on my Top 100.

Reks, 27, has made strides since being drafted in the 10th round in ’17. He has added power to his game and could end up being a late-bloomer type. The Dodgers have a lot of his type on the 40-man roster, so he could still be traded or designated for assignment, should they need the space, but they like him enough to keep him around. He ranked 41st in my Top 100.

Uceta, 22, had the most exposure of the four this spring. He threw three innings and showed a plus-changeup to go along with a solid fastball. He has been a starter for most of his career to date, but he might end up being better used out of the bullpen. He broke COVID protocol this summer at the alternate training site and was suspended, but that didn’t impact his standing enough with the organization to warrant a 40-man spot. He ranked 16th in my Top 100.

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Of the non-Estevez players left unprotected, I’d say the two most likely players to be popped would be Brett de Geus or Cody Thomas. Thomas was a Spring Training star and has plus-power potential, while de Geus’ stuff seems like the type the Dodgers like in their relievers, but maybe the Dodgers don’t think he’ll get selected since he hasn’t thrown above High-A and is a reliever.

Here are the rules for teams selecting players in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

“A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $100,000 to the team from which he was selected. The receiving team must then keep the player on the Major League 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season, and the selected player must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days. If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team from which he was selected for $50,000. If his original team declines, the receiving team may waive the player.”

A $50,000 gamble on a guy like Estevez, Thomas or de Geus might make sense for other teams. We’ll see what ends up happening.

The Rule 5 Draft is on Dec. 10.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.