The Seattle Mariners have one spot open on the 40-man roster with the Rule 5 Draft nearing. Here are 10 prospects that could help the Mariners in 2021.
The MLB Rule 5 Draft is on December 10th during the Winter Meetings and the Seattle Mariners will not be too busy during the MLB Rule 5 draft portion because they only have room to bring in one more player onto the 40-man. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto added four top prospects to the roster to protect them from being drafted in the MLB Rule 5.
Joe Rizzo was the only top 30 Seattle Mariners prospect that is Rule 5 eligible and was not added to the 40-man, thus making him draft eligible. But, there still is a chance the Mariners no. 21 prospect remains with the team if no other teams take a flier on Joe Rizzo, who has not played above Single-A yet. Rizzo could have been the 40th player on the 40-man roster, but Dipoto decided to keep an open spot, probably to select a player in the Rule 5 Draft.
The Rule 5 Draft is not always the most important, but there have been some exceptional Rule 5 Draftees in the past. Take, for example, Yohan Ramirez the 25-year-old flamethrower out of the Mariners bullpen. He was the fifth overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft in 2019 and he has turned out to be a great relief pitcher for the future.
Some other players who were former Rule 5 Draft prospects include Roberto Clemente, Johan Santana, Josh Hamilton, Joakim Soria, and the list goes on. For teams to participate in the MLB Rule 5 Draft, teams must have room in the 40-man roster because a Rule 5 Draftee will have to be on the 26-man roster in 2021, which means they would also be on the 40-man.
As I mentioned before, the Seattle Mariners have 39 spots on the 40-man after leaving Rizzo unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft. Because Rule 5 Draftees are required to be on the 26-man roster in 2021, the Seattle Mariners will need to select someone that can play at the big league level. The Mariners are not in a situation to pick up the highest prospect with limited experience, the team will be selecting someone with enough experience to benefit the team immediately.
The Mariners have depth across the board and the only position I imagine Jerry Dipoto bolstering through the MLB Rule 5 Draft is the bullpen. Just like in 2019 when the team drafted Yohan Ramirez, I imagine it will be a similar situation in a couple of weeks if Dipoto decides to draft a player. The last thing to note is that a lot of MLB teams do not leave space open on their 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft, so a limited amount of drafting teams allow for better chances of getting a prospect a team desires.
In 2019, only 10 MLB teams drafted in the first round of the MLB Rule 5 Draft. In the second round, only one team drafted a player. So, only 11 prospects were drafted at the MLB level. The Rule 5 Draft order is in reverse order of the standings, so the Mariners will have a decent pick in the Rule 5 which will be a great opportunity to find another pitcher like Ramirez.
There is an abundance of MLB-ready Rule 5 Draft prospects but many of them are starting pitchers. A lot of these prospects are young and I am hoping they can transition well into the bullpen because there is no room for them to be in the starting rotation. Sometimes moving into the bullpen can transform a pitcher just like the Wade Davis and Daniel Bard story. Let’s meet my favorite Rule 5 Draft prospects for the Seattle Mariners.