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Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 Rule 5 Draft Rundown

by Jared Webb

You can follow Jared @webberoo11 where he dedicates "more brain bytes to the Astros re-construction effort than (he) does to breathing."

Where were you during the 2012 Rule 5 Draft?  In 20 years you will be able to tell your kids...

Well, I'm sure neither you nor your kids will care.  

Be that as it may, Jeff Lunhow did a good job drafting in the Rule 5 Draft.  I made sure to make 45-2500 predictions on who I thought Houston would take in the Rule 5 this year.  I did guess Fields at one point, but Freiman snuck up on me. 

Josh Fields 6'0" 185 RHP 27 yrs

Fields was a first rounder in the 2008 draft, selected by the Mariners.  Fields has a power FB that touches 95 and a hard curve that serves as his out pitch.  Fields is considered a little old to be a prospect, but he held out and didn't sign after being drafted and opted to play his senior season.  He has only ever pitched at AA and AAA and bounced between the two frequently.  He has a max delivery effort that he honed this season, which led to much better control.  Fields has always been a closer and could step into the role for the Astros.  He dominated AA-AAA last year due to his newly found control.   

If anything, the Astros got a guy with wonderful flowing hair.  That's important for a baseball player right?

Nate Freiman 6'7" 225 R/R 1B 25 yrs

Freiman could easily be a low level enforcer for an evil super villian. He's huge!

That being said, Nate has a lot of power in his gigantic body.  Freiman wasn't on my Rule 5 radar, but when  Jonathan Mayo put Freiman on his list, I did notice that he had some good numbers.  Freiman has hit at every level he has been at all the way up to AA.  One question I saw brought up about Freiman was, "Did he hit so well at lower levels due to his advanced age?"  Well, I'm going to give Jeff Lunhow the credit he is due, and say that this kid probably has something.   

Freiman was a decent defender in college, but has had a little trouble in the minors.  But, come on, let's all realize that we grabbed this guy to hit the ball way way way over the fence and not play gold glove defense.  Depending on what happens with the DH situation, Freiman could get at bats off the bench and possibly work his way into the DH spot.  If he doesn't hit, then at least, Jeff Lunhow has a bodyguard.

Michael Burgess 5'11" 195 L/L OF 24 yrs

Burgess is a good cautionary tale to show the risk of HS players in the draft.  At 5'11" Burgess has attractive power, but spent three years in HiA not hitting.  He does offer ++ defense in the OF, but his selection is more of a minor league depth pick.

Cameron Lamb 6'3" 211 R/R RHP 23 yrs 

Editor's note-The following information about Lamb was taken from an Astros' press release

Lamb went 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA (6ER/25.2IP) last season in a total of 12 appearances with the Arizona League Giants and the Class A Short Season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. In limited duty, Lamb recorded 19 strikeouts along with seven walks in 2012, while opponents hit just .194 off him throughout the year. A native of Perth Western in Australia, he was originally signed by the Giants as a non-drafted free agent on Jan. 26, 2007. Over his six-year minor league career, Lamb owns an 11-10 record with a 4.26 ERA (86ER/181.2IP) and 150 punchouts.

Honestly, it is rare Rule 5 picks to turn into stars.  I do think that Fields and Freiman can turn into contributors for a young club.  Jonathan Mayo was incredibly generous and ranked both guys in the Astros' top 20 prospect list, but I will be happy if these guys just stick the entire year.  Fields could turn into a late inning contributor, and if Freiman's stats from the minors translate to the MLB the team we will have a nice DH.  Either way, Lunhow did a really good job grabbing some good talent.

c 2012 Jared Webb.  Used with permission.

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