Once you look past the trades and free agent signings that take place annually during the MLB Winter Meetings, one of the items that is most closely watched by the fans during these meetings is the annual Rule 5 draft. A lot of baseball fans get excited about this draft but a true gem is hard to find. That is not to say that it is impossible task, just that the odds are against you but players such as Roberto Clemente, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla, Joakim Soria, and Josh Hamilton have all been Rule 5 picks.
The Rule 5 draft has been around for many years and the rules have changed several times over the years. The cost of drafting a player in 2016 doubled to $100K from the $50K it has been since 1985, from 1958 to 1984 the price was $25K. Any player that is drafted must stay with his new teams 25 man roster during the entire season. Prior to sometime in the 1980’s (I can’t determine the exact year) the team only had to keep a Rule 5 draft pick on the roster for 90 days. There are also rules in place to prevent teams from stashing these Rule 5 picks on the disabled list. In order to send a player to the minors during that first season, the Rule 5 draftee must be offered back to his original club for half the draft price and if that clubs refuses to take him back, then that team no longer keeps his rights and Rule 5 obligations cease. In today’s game it is not unusual for a drafting team to want to keep the player but not on their major league 25 man roster so they work out a trade with the players original team and then the player Rule 5 status is eliminated and he is considered to be traded and the drafting team can do with the player whatever they wish.
From 1959 to 1969 there was also a second draft called the Rule 5 “First Year Player” Draft that allowed teams to select players who had completed one year and were not yet on the club’s 40 man roster.
Later in this article you can review the entire list of Rule 5 draft picks of the Minnesota Twins going back to 1960 but first let’s sum up the Rule 5 draft since 1960 as far as the Twins are concerned. For our purposes here I will only look at regular Rule 5 picks and ignore Rule 5 picks chosen under the “First Year Player” draft portion.
From 1960-2016 which is a span of 57 years, the Twins have selected 44 players under the Rule 5 draft umbrella.
The team has made no regular Rule 5 selection in 22 of the 57 years (39% of the time) but at the same time the team selected multiple players in other years.
22 (51%) players of the 43 through 2015 selected players stayed on the roster the following season but that is kind of a deceiving stat since most of this occurred early in Twins history. 20 of the 22 actually played at least one game in a Twins uniform, two (Paul Gibson and Dave Moore) never did.
13 (30%) of the 43 through 2015 selected players have simply been returned.
One player (LHP Keith Garagozzo) was kept for about 2 months and then returned.
One player (SS Jose Morban) was lost on waivers.
A lot of change has transpired in baseball over the years and so has the Rule 5 draft. The Derek Falvey/Than Levine era began in 2016 with the first pick in the draft and you can see the results below. If you look at the Rule 5 draft for the years of 1985-2015, a span of 31 years when Andy MacPhail, Bill Smith, and Terry Ryan have sat in the GM’s chair, there were no Rule 5 selections 11 times or 35% of the time. Of the 20 selections that were made, only RHP J.R. Graham in 2014, RHP Ryan Pressly in 2012, outfielder Shane Mack in 1989 and LHP Gary Wayne in 1988 were kept on the roster all season. In four instances, LHP Scott Diamond in 2010, RHP Jason Jones in 2008, Alejandro Machado in 2006, and LHP Johan Santana in 1999, the Twins worked out a trade to keep the player but only two of the four actually played for the Twins, Diamond and Santana. Technically Johan Santana isn’t a true Twins Rule 5 pick since they actually picked Jared Camp in 1999 and then traded him to the Florida Marlins for Johan Santana and cash.
If I ranked the top 5 Twins Rule 5 selections I would rank them in this order, number 1 would be LHP Johan Santana even though he was not actually selected by Minnesota. Second I would go with OF Shane Mack, in third place I have RHP Doug Corbett for his record as a Twins closer and the fact that the Twins then included him in a trade that brought in Tom Brunansky. Fourth I have 1B/OF and PH Rich Reese. I have LHP Scott Diamond as number 5 right now but he could move up the list or off the list depending on how his career progresses. I think the biggest star that the Twins lost over the years in the Rule 5 draft was OF Reggie Smith when the Boston Red Sox stole him in 1963. Smith was actually signed by the Twins in June of 1963 as a shortstop and went on to have a great 17 year career with the Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants.
Twins historical Rule 5 picks
2016 – The Derek Falvey/Than Levine era started with the Twins having the number one overall pick in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft but they maneuvered a three-team trade with the Padres and Angels to acquire right-hander Justin Haley. The Twins selected right-hander Miguel Diaz but sent him to San Diego for a player to be named later or cash considerations; the Padres are expected to receive cash. Los Angeles then sent Haley, who was taken eighth from the Red Sox organization, to the Padres, who traded him to the Twins for cash. The Twins also lost catcher Stuart Turner to the Reds, who picked him in the second round.
2015 – The Twins made no selections in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft but did lose RHP Zack Jones to the Milwaukee Brewers.
2013 – The Twins made no selections in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft.
2012 – The Twins who had the fourth selection selected RHP Ryan Pressly from the Boston Red Sox and he made the 2013 Twins team as a reliever.
2011 – Twins picked second and took RHP Terry Doyle from the Chicago White Sox but returned him to the White Sox organization. I think he pitched in Japan in 2012.
2010 – Twins had the 12th pick and took LHP Scott Diamond from the Atlanta Braves. The Twins then worked out a trade (Billy Bullock) with Atlanta to keep him. Diamond pitched in 7 games for the Twins in 2011 going 1-5 before spending most of 2012 in Minnesota going 12-9 and was the teams best starting pitcher.
2009 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
2008 – Twins picked number 14 and took RHP Jason Jones from the New York Yankees. Twins sent Charles Nolte to the Yankees to keep Jones but they kept him for only one season and now neither Jones or Nolte is in pro ball.
2007 – Twins made no selections but lost RHP Tim Lahey (who the Twins drafted as a catcher in 2004) who was chosen number 1 by Tampa Bay who then traded him to the Chicago Cubs who then waived him and the Phillies picked him up on waivers and had him on their roster for a week or so but Lahey saw no game action and was returned to Minnesota but never got above AAA again and is out of baseball. The Seattle Mariners took RHP R.A. Dickey from the Twins with the 12th pick and eventually worked out a trade to keep Dickey by sending Jair Fernandez to Minnesota. Dickey again became a free agent after 2008 resigning with Minnesota where he pitched in 2009 before again becoming a free agent and signing with the Mets and pitching there 2010-2012 and this past season he won the NL Cy Young award. The Twins ended up losing outfielder Garrett Guzman to the Washington Nationals with the 16th pick and the Nationals ended up making some kind of an unknown deal to keep Guzman but he never reached the big leagues.
2006 – The Twins picked 15th and took infielder Alejandro Machado from the Nationals and worked out some kind of a trade to keep him and he was in the minor league system for a couple of years but never again reached the majors after playing 10 games for the Red Sox in 2005. The Twins lost RHP Kevin Cameron to the San Diego Padres with pick 13 and Cameron spent 2007 and part of 2008 with the Padres and part of 2009 in Oakland and then left baseball. The Washington Nationals took Levale Speigner from the Twins with the 17th pick and then returned him in June and then a couple of days later worked out a trade with Minnesota giving up outfielder Darnell McDonald.
2005 – The Twins drafted outfielder Jason Pridie from Tampa with the 9th pick but returned him to Tampa. Then in 2007 the Twins reacquired him in the Matt Garza for Delmon Young trade in November 2007. Pridie played in 10 games with Minnesota in 2008 and 1 game in 2009.
2004 – The Twins had the 9th pick and selected RHP Ryan Rowland-Smith from the Seattle Mariners but returned him in March 2005. The Arizona Diamondbacks had the first pick and chose RHP Angel Garcia from the Twins organization but returned him and Gracia never pitched in the big leagues.
2003 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
2002 – The Twins had the 15th pick and chose shortstop Jose Morban from the Texas Rangers. The Rangers apparently did not want Morban back so the Twins tried to slip him through waivers but the Baltimore Orioles claimed him in March 2003 and kept him on the roster all season. Morban played a total of 61 big league games for the Orioles in 2003 and never appeared in the majors again.
2001 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
2000 – Twins used the number 2 selection to take RHP Brandon Knight from the New York Yankees but then returned him in March 2001. Knight appeared in 11 games for the Yankees in 2001-2002 and in 4 games for the Mets in 2008.
1999 – The Twins had the first pick and selected RHP Jared Camp from the Cleveland Indians and the Florida Marlins chose second and took LHP Johan Santana from the Houston Astros organization. That same day the Twins traded Camp to the Marlins for Johan Santana and cash. I guess the Twins thought they could make a few bucks by taking Camp and flipping him for Santana. Camp never appeared in a big league game and we all know the Johan Santana history after spending all of 2000 with Minnesota and appearing in 30 games.
1998 – The Twins selected number 5 and took shortstop Joey Espada from the Oakland A’s organization but returned him and Espada never made a big league roster as a player. The White Sox had pick 9 and took RHP Walker Chapman from Minnesota but returned him and Walker never even got a sniff of the bigs.
1997 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1996 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1995 – The Twins used their first pick to select RHP Joe Jacobsen from the LA Dodgers organization but returned him and Jacobsen never appeared in a major league game. The Orioles used the 11th pick to select outfielder Kimera Bartee from Minnesota but then tried to slip him through waivers and lost him to the Detroit Tigers who kept him on the roster in 2006.
1994 – The Twins selected 12th and selected outfielder Brian Kowitz from the Braves organization but returned him. Kowitz appeared in a total of 10 big league games all for Atlanta.
1993 – The Twins have the 6th pick and use it to select LHP Keith Garagozzo from the Yankee system and keep him for about a month in 1994 during which time he pitches 9.1 innings in 7 games and gives up 10 earned runs on 9 hits to go along with 13 walks and the Twins send him back to the Yankees. Garagozzo never spends another day in the big leagues.
1992 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins but lose they RHP Kerry Taylor when the San Diego Padres take him with the 8th pick. Taylor spends the 1993 season with San Diego and pitches in 1 game for the Padres in 1994 before being sent down and never returns to the big leagues.
1991 – The Twins select 10th and take RHP Jesse Cross from the Toronto Blue Jays but end up returning him and Cross never makes it to the big leagues.
1990 – The Twins have the first selection and use it to acquire outfielder Pat Howell from the New York Mets but then return him and Howell ends up playing 32 games for the Mets in 1992. In a tit for tat move the Mets then select LHP Doug Simons from the Twins and keep him on the roster all of 1991 before trading him to the Expos where he appeared in only 7 more big league games.
1989 – The Twins use their 5th pick to select outfielder Shane Mack from the San Diego Padres and he goes on to play for the Twins for the next five years including the 1991 World Championship team. Mack ends up having a nice 9 year MLB career.
1988 – The Twins use the 10th pick to select LHP Gary Wayne from the Montreal Expos and Wayne sticks with the Twins from 1989-1992 before spending his final 2 big league seasons in Colorado and the Dodgers.
1987 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1986 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1985 – The Twins pick last (in the 9 hole) and select RHP Tom Burns from the New York Mets but end up sending him back to the Mets.
1984 – The Twins select 7th and take catcher Mark Salas from the St. Louis Cardinals and end up keeping him in 1985-1986 and part of 1987 before trading him to the Yankees in 1987 for Joe Niekro. Salas ends up with an 8 year career in the majors. The Tigers pick 11th and take outfielder Jim Weaver from the Twins organization and keep him for almost 2 months before returning him. Weaver spends parts of 3 different seasons in the bigs with 3 different teams.
1983 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1982 – The Twins pick in the 2 hole and take Detroit Tigers LHP Paul Gibson and the Twins some how end up keeping him in the minors for 2 seasons before he is declared a free agent and resigns with the Tigers. Gibson never pitches for the Twins but spends all or part of 8 seasons pitching in the major leagues for 3 different teams.
1981 – The Twins take the third player chosen RHP Paul Boris from the New York Yankees and return him on April 2, 1982 but on April 10th they acquire Paul Boris, Ron Davis, and Greg Gagne from the Yankees and part ways with Roy Smalley. Boris appeared in 23 games for the Twins in 1982 and that was the sum total of his big league career.
1980 – The Twins selected two players that year and they took RHP Don Cooper from the Yankee organization with the number 8 pick and he spent the season with Minnesota going 1-5 with a 4.30 ERA. In 58.2 innings Cooper allowed 61 hits, 32 walks and he struck out 33. Cooper pitched briefly for the Twins in 1982, the Blue Jays in 1983, and the Yankees in 1985. Cooper has been the Chicago White Sox pitching coach since 2002. With the 15th pick the Twins selected LHP Jack O’Connor from the Montreal Expos organization and he pitched for the Twins from 1981-1984 and during that period he was 13-14 with a 4.99 ERA in 318.2 inning walking 163 and striking out 177.
1979 – There were 10 players chosen in the Rule 5 draft this year and the Twins took three of them. With the 4th pick they chose infielder Guy Sularz from the San Francisco Giants but returned him before the season started. Sularz spent time with the GIants from 1980-1983. The Twins selected RHP Dave Moore with the 9th overall pick from the Cincinnati Reds and must have worked out some kind of a deal with the Reds because Moore spent the 1980 season with AAA Toledo but moved on after that never reaching the majors. With the last pick, number 10 overall the Twins selected RHP Doug Corbett from the Reds and Corbett was actually a decent reliever for the Twins from 1980-1982 saving 43 games and posting a 2.49 ERA before being traded to the Angels as part of the Tom Brunansky acquisition. In 1982 Corbett led the league in pitching appearances with 54.
1978 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1977 – With the third overall selection the Twins chose RHP John Sutton from the St. Louis Cardinals. Sutton appeared in 17 games for the Twins in 1978 and never again pitched in a big league game.
1976 – With the sixth pick the Twins took outfielder Rich Chiles from the Houston Astros who spent the 1977-1978 seasons in Minnesota in a utility role. Chiles previously had brief big league appearances with the Astros in 71, 72 and 76 and with the Mets in 73.
1975 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1974 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1973 – With the fifth overall pick the Twins selected shortstop Sergio Ferrer from the Dodger organization. Ferrer played sparingly for the Twins in 1974 and again in 1975 before being traded. Ferrer played briefly for the Mets in 78 and 79.
1972 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1971 – The Twins made no Rule 5 selections this year but lost outfielder Brant Alyea when the Oakland A’s took him with the 9th pick. Alyea had big league experience with the Washington Senators in 1965, 1968, 1969 and the Twins in 1970 and 1971. Alyea played a few games for the A’s and Cardinals in 1972.
1970 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1969 – The Twins had the number 7 pick and selected RHP Hal Haydel from the San Francisco Giants and Haydel pitched in 4 games for the Twins in 1970 and in 31 games in 1971 and that was the sum total of his big league career. An interesting footnote is that Haydel is the only Twins pitcher to hit a home run (his one and only) in his first big league game. Haydel also hit a double in his first big league plate appearance. With the 19th and last pick the Giants then selected catcher Mike Sadek from the Twins. I am not sure what transpired here but the Giants kept Sadek but he did not play for them until 1973 and again from 1975-1981.
1968 – The Twins did not select any players but they did lose RHP Moe Ogier whom the LA Angels selected with the fourth overall pick. Ogier never reached the big leagues.
1967 – With the 4th overall pick the Twins selected catcher Bruce Look from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Look appeared in 59 games in 1968. The Twins also picked fifth and took outfielder Jim Holt from the Oakland A’s. Holt played for Minnesota off and on from 1968-1974 before the Twins traded him back to Oakland. The Twins lost outfielder Sandy Valdespino when the Atlanta Braves selected him with the 10th overall pick. Valdespino had played for Minnesota from 1965-1967. The Twins also lost RHP Bob Castiglione when the Atlanta Braves chose him second overall in the “First Year Rule” portion of the draft. Castiglione never reached the majors.
1966 – The Twins lost shortstop Orlando Martinez to the Atlanta Braves when they selected him 6th overall. Martinez had previously played in 37 games for Minnesota back in 1962. Martinez had a 6 year big league career as a utility player for six different teams in 1962, and 1967-1972. The Twins only selection was in the “First Year Rule” portion of the draft when they selected infielder Greg Werdick who never got above AA ball and was probably returned by the Twins since I can’t find him appearing in any minor league games for the Twins either.
1965 – No rule 5 selections for the Twins
1964 – The Twins neither acquired nor lost any players in the regular portion of the draft but in the “First Year Rule” part of the draft they acquired shortstop Jim Jenkins from the Dodgers, shortstop Dennis Reeve from the Cardinals, 2B Ron Theobald from the Cubs, 2B Lewis Nelson from the Houston Col 45’s, and 2B Leonard Boryca from the Red Sox. From this group of infielders, only Theobald reached the majors when he played for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1971-1972. In this same portion of the draft the Twins lost RHP Pete Magrini to the Red Sox and he appeared in 3 games there in 1966. They lost shortstop Thomas Dix to the White Sox but he never got to the big leagues. They lost RHP Daryl Farnsworth to the Cleveland Indians who also never attained major league ball. The Twins lost LHP Fred Scherman to the Detroit Tigers and he had an 8 year big league career with three different teams from 1969-1976. The Twins lost LHP John French to the LA Angels but French never got above “A” ball. The Twins also lost outfielder Gary Cortopassi to the Cubs, RHP Edward Hill to the Reds, RHP Jerry Lyscio to the Colt 45’s, and catcher Joe Beck to the Atlanta Braves but none of these guys had a sniff of the big leagues.
1963 – With the 7th selection the Twins chose 33 year-old RHP Bill Fischer from the Kansas City A’s. Fischer had 8 seasons of big league experience by the time Twins selected with this pick and he pitched in just 9 games for Minnesota in 1964. One of the teams that Fischer had previously pitched for was the Washington Senators. While pitching for the Kansas City A’s, Fischer went almost 2 months and 84.1 innings without issuing a base on balls, a record that still stands today. In the “First Year Rule” part of the draft the Twins selected infielder Bill Bethea from the Cardinals and he played in 10 games for the Twins and that was the sum total of his big league career. The Twins then selected infielder Jim Glover from the Tigers organization who then spent the next 8 years in the Twins system but never achieved big league status. Their next choice was LHP Jim Ollom who pitched in Minnesota in 66-67. Their final selection was 1B/OF Jeff Talbott but he left baseball after a couple of seasons never getting above “A” ball. In this same part of the draft the Twins lost Reggie Smith to the Red Sox. Smith actually started out as a shortstop with the Twins but the Red Sox moved him to the outfield. Smith went on to become a seven time All-Star who had a wonderful 17 year career. Smith is probably the best player the Twins have ever lost in the Rule 5 draft. The next player the Twins lost in this same draft was LHP Rudy May to the Chicago White Sox who ended up winning 152 big league games over 16 seasons with the Angels, Yankees, Expos and Orioles. May was in the Twins, White Sox and Phillies organizations before making his major league debut with the Angels. The Twins lost 2B John Donaldson to the Kansas City A’s and he went on to have a 6 year major league career with the A’s in Kansas City and Oakland and with the Seattle Pilots. The Twins also lost RHP Larry Bohannon to the Colt 45’s but he never pitched in the majors. The New York Mets selected LHP Rob Gardner from the Twins and he pitched in the majors for all or parts of 8 years while winning a total of 14 games.
1962 – In 62 there were actually three Rule 5 drafts, the regular one and two “First Year Rule” drafts, one for players signed prior to December 3, 1961 and one for players signed after that date. In the normal Rule 5 the Twins selected 1B Charlie Keller Jr. with the 4th selection from the New York Yankees. Keller Jr. never amounted to anything and was returned. In Part I of the “First year Rule” draft the Twins took LHP Marvin Mecklenburg from the Cardinals but he never attained the major leagues. The Twins also selected 1B/OF Rich Reese from the Detroit Tigers and Reese had a nice 10 year big league run, nine years in a Twins uni. In the second portion of the “First Year Rule” draft the Twins selected RHP Wyatt Ross and LHP Richard Taaffe both from the Pirates but neither got above “A” ball. In the same portion of the draft the Twins lost outfielder Roger Sorenson to the Orioles but he too never played in the majors.
1961 – The Twins selected 3B George Banks from the Yankees and he played for the Twins briefly from 1962-1964. The Twins selected 2B John Goryl from the Dodgers and Goryl played a utility role for Minnesota from 1962-1964. Goryl also served as the Twins manager in 1980 and 1981. The Twins selected RHP Georges Maranda from the San Francisco Giants and he went 1-3 for the Twins in 1962. The Twins also took RHP Bruce Swango from the Yankees but he never reached the major leagues.
1960 – After playing as the Washington Senators in 1960 the team moved and became the Minnesota Twins and in the 1960 Rule 5 draft they took catcher Ron Henry from the Milwaukee Braves and he played in Minnesota briefly in 1961 and again in 1964. The Twins also selected LHP Gerry Arrigo who had a nice 10 year big league career and spent all or part of 1961-1964 with the Twins. The Twins also took LHP Gary Dotter from the Cardinals and he pitched in a total of 7 games for the Twins in 1961, and 1963-1964 and that was his entire big league career and his record was 0-0. The only player the Twins lost was RHP Jack Baldschun to the Phillies where he pitched from 1961-1965 before moving on to the Reds in 1966 and 1967 and the Padres in 1969 and 1970.