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Twins prospects and the Rule 5 Draft—for dummies

It’s Rule 5 draft time, baby! But what’s that again? And what do the Twins need to do? We’ve got the answers.

Minnesota Twins v Tampa Bay Rays
Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

Friday night is the deadline for teams to finalize their rosters in advance of MLB’s Rule 5 Draft. In case you forgot, the Rule 5 Draft is where teams can claim certain players left off the 40-man roster in other organizations. It’s how the Twins got Johan Santana, remember?

So let’s go over the issues facing the Twins this year.

Wait a second—who can be claimed again?

Essentially, if a prospect signed when they were 18 years old isn’t on the 40-man roster five years later, or a prospect signed when they were 19 years old isn’t on the 40-man roster four years later, they’ll be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. If another team claims such a prospect player, the player must remain on their 25-man roster for the entire year, so it’s not just a free-for-all. The team can also counter with a trade in the case they do remove the clained player from the 25-man roster, but still want to keep them.

Still, teams need to take steps to protect certain valuable prospects by adding them to the 40-man roster.

Which prospects are on the hook for the Twins?

Eight of the Twins’ top 30 prospects will be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft this year, provided the Twins don’t protect them by adding them to the 40-man roster.

Here are those eight players, along with their position and 2015 Twins prospect ranking according to

  • Fernando Romero (RHP) (6th)
  • Lewis Thorpe (LHP) (11th)
  • Engelb Vielma (SS) (16th)
  • Daniel Palka (OF) (20th)
  • Felix Jorge (RHP) (22nd)
  • Mitch Garver (C) (24th)
  • Travis Harrison (OF) (25th)
  • Aaron Slegers (RHP) (29th)

So who will the Twins protect?

The Twins currently have 36 spots filled on their 40-man roster. That leaves four spots for the Twins to use to protect prospects, assuming they don’t use one of those spots for some other newly acquired player.

Going with my gut here, which admittedly lacks a brain and relies too much on rally beers, here’s who I think the Twins will add to the 40-man roster:

Mitch Garver

If you didn’t read Joe Lanek’s awesome piece about Garver published yesterday, you really should. Garver made big strides in the organization last season, and has been showing power and improved defense in the Arizona Fall League. Since he’s a catcher—something the Twins really need—he’s pretty valuable in the organization right now. I can’t see the Twins risking it with this one. Hell, there’s even a chance he could be the Twins’Opening Day catcher.

Fernando Romero

He’s the 6th top prospect in the system, for God’s sake. He missed nearly two season due to Tommy John’s surgery, but made a very impressive comeback in 2016, posting a 1.89 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 90.1 innings pitched in the minors. After all that, the Twins won’t give up on him.

Daniel Palka

Palka hit more home run than any minor leaguer last year, and not just Twins minor leaguer. Palka smash ball. Palka hit ball far lots. Palka aso strikeout lots, but Twins will protect Palka. Palka smash.

Felix Jorge

The last possible spot is more of a toss-up, but if the Twins do elect to protect another guy, I’m going with Felix Jorge. Felix had a combined 2.69 ERA in 25 starts between the Miracle and the Lookouts last season, and darn it, the Twins need to hold on to some pitching.

Do you think I’m a total idiot who got this all wrong? Leave a comment telling me why!