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2017 Rule 5 Draft: Blue Jays quiet; lose 3B Mitch Nay and select three in AAA phase

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft proved uneventful for the Blue Jays, as they neither made a selection nor had any players selected from them. In the end, rumours that the planned to be active proven unfounded, and fears of losing Max Pentecost and others proved overblown.

There was however significant activity on the minor league side in the AAA phase. In a reversal of last year when the Jays lost three and made one selection, they selected three to fill up their AAA roster at 38, while losing one. It’s worth remembering that this phase tends to be largely about filling holes in the organizational depth chart, perhaps with a player a team particularly likes. They aren’t usually going to be serious prospects.

That player lost was third baseman Mitch Nay, who was selected 58th overall in the 2012 draft, compensation for losing Jon Rauch one of the last supplemental picks from the old Type A/Type B regime. He signed for $1,000,000 and gradually ascended up the ladder, with a strong 2013 in Bluefield and decent 2014 full season debut in Lansing.

Unfortunately, he stalled out in 2015 at high-A Dunedin with a .243/.303/.353 line before missing the last couple weeks with knee pain, a staph infection that required three surgeries and threatened his career. He missed the next season and a half, returning for the last half of 2017 in Lansing and posting a modest .222/.265/.393 line. He’ll now get a fresh start with the Cincinnati Reds.

It’s also another door closed on the 2012 draft class that featured five picks within the first 60. Marcus Stroman is an obvious and overwhelming success, but the other four have not panned out. The adage is that a draft class is a success if you get one really good big leaguer, though the bar should be quite higher with two first round picks and three sandwich round picks and 1/5 is not a great batting average. Of course, much remains to be written with Anthony Alford and Ryan Borucki on the cusp of the big leagues from later rounds.

The first player selected was RHP Drew Muren, out of the San Francisco system, who may actually be that rare interesting minor league Rule 5 pick. He apparently touches 100 MPH with his fastball now, though was primarily an outfielder in college and was drafted in the 22nd by the Astros as such. He got as high as AA before being released, playing independent ball, before being asked to take the mound at a Tampa Rays tryout in 2014 where he was throwing low-90s (he pitched his freshman year in college before getting hurt).

FanRag Sports ran a great in-depth profile on him a year ago, which I recommend. He’s posted some intriguing strikeout numbers the past couple seasons in the Giants system, albeit it with control issues, but is at least an interesting arm with some potential for New Hampshire or Buffalo.

The second player chosen was C Alberto Mineo out of the Chicago Cubs system. The 23 year old Italian has one year left before hitting minor league free agency after 2018. He hasn’t played at a higher level than low-A, spending the last couple seasons in the Midwest League. He hit did better in 2017 (.278/.374/.358) than previously, but is basically a depth option for the lower full season levels. It’s worth remember that the Cubc didn’t protect him among their top 70 or 75 Rule 5 eligible players.

The last player selected was SS Ivan Castillo from (surprise!) Cleveland. The 22 year old light hitting infielder debuted in 2012 and split 2017 between high-A and AA. He hasn’t played much the last two years and will basically be a depth piece in the last year of his original contract.