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The Jays' Rule V Casualties

The Blue Jays lost two players in yesterday's Rule V draft, 27-year old relief pitcher Steve Andrade and 23-year old relief pitcher James Vermilyea. Due to the acquisitions of B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett, there was no room for either player on the team's 40-man roster.

Steve Andrade
(71/16/50 K/BB/IP with a 1.97 ERA in AAA)
He was chosen by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with the 3rd overall pick in the draft, and was later acquired by the San Diego Padres for cash considerations. Despite his advanced age relative to other prospects, Andrade could prove to be very useful for the Padres. With Akinori Otsuka rumoured to be on the move as part of a deal involving David Wells, a spot might free up for him. His stuff is not exceptional by any means (he'd be lucky to top 90 mph on a good day), but he's put up good numbers in the past, so a productive campaign is not out of the question. In fact, it is not all that unlikely that he'll pitch better than Pete Walker, whom the Jays decided to protect instead of Andrade.

James Vermilyea
(52/16/65.7 K/BB/IP with a 2.60 ERA in AA; 24/11/35.3, 5.60 in AAA)
He was chosen by the Boston Red Sox with the 10th overall pick in the draft. He pitched well in AA, but at 23 he was old for the league. Once he was promoted to AAA, though, he got crushed. Much like Andrade, his fastball is average at best, so he lives and dies with his ability to accurately pinpoint his pitches. His K/BB ratios are good, though his above-average control likely will not help him overcome his other deficiencies. But he is only 23, so there is some room for improvement. Although, considering the Jays have many pitching prospects ahead of Vermilyea in terms of both development and potential, it is difficult to envision how he would fit in.

Although the number of Rule V failures far outweighs the success stories, the latter have been able to make teams look foolish for leaving them unprotected. The Blue Jays know this first hand; in 2000, the Baltimore Orioles drafted Jay Gibbons, formerly of the Blue Jays, in the Rule V draft.

In addition to losing Andrade and Vermilyea during the major league portion of the Rule V draft, former Blue Jays farmhands Joey Reiman (C/1B), Eugenio Velez (IF), Dewon Day (RP), and Jayce Tingler (OF) were chosen in the minor league portion. It is incredibly difficult to project their future production with any confidence. Although, the fact that none of them even played in AA last season coupled with their advanced age for their respective leagues does not bode well for future success. With that said, I wish them the best of luck and hope that they find success after leaving the Jays. They each face an uphill battle to the majors, to be sure.

Thanks to bluejayway.ca for providing an organized list of the ex-Blue Jays chosen in this year's Rule V draft.