Thursday saw Major League Baseball’s annual Rule 5 draft come and go.
While the Twins passed on their selections in the major league phase, a pair of squads deemed a player in Minnesota’s minor league system worth an MLB roster spot right now.
With the third pick, the Detroit Tigers selected Akil Baddoo, the young centerfielder who has not yet played above high A-ball. Minnesota initially selected Baddoo with the 74th overall pick in 2016, and Baddoo worked his way up to Fort Myers in 2019, where in 29 games he slashed .214/.290/.393. But in Cedar Rapids the year prior, Baddoo slashed .243/.351/.419 with 11 homers and 24 stolen bases.
While Baddoo has been productive in getting on base in the minor leagues, the leap from high-A to the majors will be a climb, particularly as Detroit is mandated to keep Baddoo on their active roster all season. The leap has been made, and recently — Jorge Polanco made his major league debut after a promotion from A-ball, though he did return to the minors and make his way up subsequently — but Detroit must have confidence in him to select him third overall.
Minnesota saw the rest of the first round go by without hearing another of their players taken, but in the second round, the Baltimore Orioles grabbed Tyler Wells. A six-foot-eight pitcher originally taken in the 15th round in 2016 with a standard four-pitch mix. Wells pitched his way up to AA-ball in 2019, where in six games and five starts he put up a 1.65 ERA while striking out 39 and walking 14.
Though a starter in the minors, 2080 Baseball projects him as a middle reliever in the majors. With a low ERA and a moldable pitch mix, it’s not surprising to see him receive the call from another team.