Rule 5 Wrap
The Rangers selected Houston RHP Mike Hauschild in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Originally drafted in the 33rd round out of Dayton in 2012, Hauschild has advanced slowly and steadily through the Houston system. He spent most of 2015-2016 in AAA Fresno, posting a 3.33 ERA in 227 innings with a 7% walk rate, 21% strikeout rate and plenty of grounders. Hauschild throws a 90ish fastball, splitter, slider and change. Unfortunately, he didn’t pitch when Fresno visited Round Rock last summer, so I can’t offer an eyewitness perspective.
Soon to be 27, he’ll join a crowded field for the last spot in the rotation. I’ll avoid the full description of the Rule 5 rules, but in brief, Texas must keep him on the active roster for all of 2017 or offer him back to the Astros. Given his situation, he’ll have a slight advantage over his competitors with options: Yohander Mendez, Nick Martinez, Chi Chi Gonzalez, recent waiver-claim Tyler Wagner.
Local scribe Evan Grant has a lengthy quote
about Hauschild from former Newberg Night guest and current Astros Director of Pro Scouting Kevin Goldstein. Hauschild was the 16th selection of 18 overall in this year’s draft. Via their own pick and two trades, A.J. Preller’s Padres ended up with the top three picks: RHP Miguel Diaz (Brewers), C Luis Torrens (Yanks) and SS Allen Cordoba (Cards). None has played above low-A, and Cordoba hasn’t even reached that level, so goodness knows what contortions the Pads will go through to keep them.
As expected, the Rangers didn’t lose anyone in the MLB portion of the draft (or the minor league portion, for that matter). OF Jairo Beras, RHP Pedro Payano and their cohorts remain Texas employees. Incidentally, Payano, who suffered a broken arm on a comeback liner last summer, isn’t pitching this winter but should be good to go next spring.
Texas nabbed three more in the minor league phase of the draft. Typically, such players are organizational hole-fillers (remember Garrett Weber? No?), but in this case the Rangers took chances on two formerly noteworthy prospects with bounce-back potential. First is ex-Jay LHP Matt Smoral, 22, drafted 50th overall in 2012. Due to various injuries and a line drive to the face in 2015, the 6’8” Smoral has pitched only 106 innings in four seasons, almost all in short-season leagues. He can miss bats aplenty with his low-90s fastball and low-80s slider (26% strikeout rate), but his control is reminiscent of late-period Kasey Kiker, as he’s walked or hit an eyepopping 23% of his opponents. The Rangers will try to push that rate down to a functional level.
Next: RHP Zack Bird, 22, former Brave. In 2015, Bird was part of the three-way trade between Atlanta, Miami and the Dodgers involving Mat Latos, Mike Morse, the desiccated husk of Bronson Arroyo and many others. Ranked around 20th on his team’s top 30 by Baseball America in four consecutive seasons, Bird has a solid fastball that has reached the upper 90s, but his secondaries haven’t developed as hoped. He reached AA at the end of 2015 but returned to high-A last season in relief and washed out: an 8.87 ERA with more walks than strikeouts.
Finally, the Rangers selected 22-year-old RHP Fernando Miranda, another Brave who spent 2016 on loan in Mexico’s Quintana Roo, where he registered a 4.87 ERA in 81 innings.
Texas signed OF Jared Hoying to a minor league deal. The Rangers declined to offer him a contract a few days ago, making him a free agent. Hoying made his MLB debut last year in his seventh professional season. The Rangers also signed OF Cesar Puello, who has spent most of his career as a Met. Ranked in BA’s top 30 for an incredible seven consecutive seasons, the 25-year-old Puello burned through his three options without reaching the Majors. He crushes lefties (and only lefties) and can steal a base.
Ian Desmond’s signing is odd on several levels, but the Rockies are an odd organization. For the relatively paltry sum of $8 million, the Rangers received a solid rebound season while essentially trading last year’s #19 pick for an upcoming one in the 30s. That’ll do.
By my rough estimate, to generate the 1.4 Wins Above Replacement needed to justify his $11 million contract (assuming roughly $8 million per WAR), Carlos Gomez only needs to hit around .240/.300/.400. That does assume Gomez spends most of his time in center. Regardless, this deal has much more upside than down for Texas.
The Round Rock Express won several awards
at the winter meetings: the Bob Freitas Triple-A Organization of the Year, the John Henry Moss Community Service Award, and the Pacific Coast League Executive of the Year to team president Chris Almendarez. Team public relations veep Jill Cacic emailed the press release at 3:00 AM this morning, giving the Express an early lead for next year's awards.
For you folks in the D/FW area, Frisco is hosting a free Winter Wonderland
tomorrow with the opportunity for fans to contribute to Toys for Tots.
Newberg Report (newbergreport.com)