Update: Melky Mesa, Dellin Betances, Ryan Pope, and Brandon Laird have been added to the Yankees 40-man roster and are now not eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
Original post: The Rule 5 draft is designed so that players stuck in the minor leagues can have a shot to play in the majors. For the most part the players eligible for this year’s draft high school players drafted in 2006 and college players drafted in 2007.
Here, via Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune, is a list of this year’s eligible Yankees prospects:
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster: LHP Kei Igawa, RHP George Kontos, RHP Lance Pendleton, RHP Kevin Whelan, RHP Eric Wordekemper, 3B Brandon Laird, OF Edwar Gonzalez.
Trenton roster: LHP Wilkins Arias, RHP Dellin Betances, RHP J.B. Cox, LHP Wilkin De La Rosa, RHP Grant Duff, RHP Alan Horne, RHP Tim Norton, RHP Adam Olbrychowski, RHP Ryan Pope, RHP Josh Schmidt, SS Luis Nunez, INF/OF Justin Snyder, OF Austin Krum, OF Damon Sublett.
Tampa roster: RHP Philip Bartleski, RHP Noel Castillo, RHP Craig Heyer, RHP Ronny Marte, RHP Jonathan Ortiz, RHP Michael Solbach, C Jose Gil, SS Walter Ibarra, SS Jose Pirela, 3B Bradley Suttle, OF Abraham Almonte, OF Zoilo Almonte, OF Melky Mesa, OF Francisco Santana.
Charleston roster: RHP Francisco Gil, RHP Jairo Heredia, RHP Richard Martinez, RHP Kelvin Perez, LHP Francisco Rondon, RHP Gabriel Tatis, SS Kelvin Castro, INF Emerson Landoni, SS Jose Toussen.
Players can only be protected from the Rule 5 draft by being placed on the 40-man roster. The Yankees currently have 43 players on the 40-man roster, but that number will come down a bit when free agency starts. They could also make more room by non-tendering and DFA’ing a few players. Realistically they could have room to protect four or five of these players.
There is a catch, a selected player has to stick int he major leagues for the entirety of the 2011 season. If they can’t hack that they have to be offered back to the Yankees.
With that information there are at least two must protect players: Brandon Laird and Dellin Betances. It isn’t hard seeing George Kontos and Ryan Pope getting picked with a decent shot at sticking the full year in the majors.
Are there any other players you think might be worth protecting?