Well, the Rule 5 Draft really isn’t as sexy as the title of this post says. But, some great players have been selected in the Rule 5 like Johan Santana and Josh Hamilton.
The Arizona Diamondbacks made a really interesting move (but just one) this offseason and drafted Starling Peralta from the Chicago Cubs. This move comes as a surprise considering if a player is selected in the Major League phase, he has to spend the entire season on the 25-man roster or else be offered back to his original organization.
Knowing that he hasn’t pitched above low-A, it is assumed that he has no real shot at making the roster. Especially since Arizona’s GM has added many bullpen pieces already this season (Heath Bell, Tony Sipp and Matt Reynolds).
I asked Nick Piecoro, the Diamondbacks’ beat writer for azcentral.com, and he said it would take plenty of injuries before he got a spot on the Major League roster and if the Diamondbacks still wanted to keep Peralta, a trade could be worked out between the teams.
Though he only made three appearances out of the bullpen in 2012 for the Peoria Chiefs, scouts view him as a reliever as he mainly works with two pitches (fastball and slider).
I was fortunate to watch Peralta many times this summer as an intern with the Chiefs and I was able to witness probably the best game in his young career. In the game, he struck out 14 Clinton LumberKing batters. I wrote the recap that night and here is the link:
I like the pick up if the Diamondbacks are able to keep him for next to nothing. He has an explosive fastball coming from his wiry 6’4” and 180 pound frame. His slider has big break and misses plenty of bats in the low minors.
He had 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings and walked 3.8 for a mediocre 2.05 K/BB ratio. This could be one reason scouts see him in the bullpen as his career moves along. A move to the pen would almost certainly guarantee a slight increase in velocity of his fastball.
His long, loose, whippy arm action shows he has flexibility and if he can stay on top of the ball, he can generate arm-side run and get in on righty’s hands.
His numbers in low-A can be can be a bit misleading as many low minors stats are. He put up a solid 3.44 ERA but his FIP (4.30) shows he may have gotten a bit of luck from his .249 BABIP.
It will be interesting to see what Arizona decides to do with him after camp breaks. Peralta could go to high-A Visalia and continue as a starter. If they go that route, I would imagine he would spend the entire season there and continue to increase his innings load.
Last year, Peralta threw 99.1 innings (a career high) and he could see the leap to about 120.
The D-backs could put him in the bullpen to see if he can advance quicker through the system in the role he is destined for. In that case, he could split the season between Visalia and AA Mobile. That would set him up for a either a September call up or a chance to crack the big league club in the spring of 2014, the latter option seeming more realistic.
This is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Diamondbacks and one that I like. But, we’ll see eventually if there’s a reason why Theo Epstein and co. left him unprotected.