The Tigers are no stranger to the Rule 5 Draft. They’ve been near-annual participants in recent years, and have managed to find useful Major League players out of other teams’ farm systems as a result.
This year was no different, as Detroit selected outfielder Akil Baddoo from Minnesota.
The Rule 5 Draft each December allows teams to add young talent by plucking prospects who aren’t on other organizations’ 40-man rosters. Under the current format, players first signed at age 18 or younger must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons, or they become eligible to be drafted. Players signed at age 19 or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn’t stay on the 26-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.
Here’s a brief history of the players the Tigers have selected or acquired in the Rule 5 Draft since 1965. Note that this list doesn’t include players taken in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft that went on to the big leagues, such as Jose Macias (1996) and Buddy Groom (’90):
2019: Yankees RHP Rony García — Detroit used the first overall pick to pluck the swingman out of Double-A Trenton. García posted an 8.14 ERA in 15 games, including two starts, but he completed the season and will join the Tigers’ farm system for ’21.
2018: Rangers RHP Reed Garrett — The hard-throwing reliever posted an 8.22 ERA in 13 games before being returned to Texas in May ’19. The Rangers released him last January.
2017: D-backs OF Victor Reyes — The top overall selection hit .222 in 100 games in ’18, but he has found a role in Detroit’s outfield the last two seasons, eventually becoming a regular in the lineup. Reyes batted .277 with seven doubles, two triples, four homers and 14 RBIs in 57 games in ’20.
2016: Royals LHP Daniel Stumpf — The lefty specialist became a big part of Detroit’s bullpen, pitching in 159 games across three seasons from ’17-19.
2012: Nationals 2B Jeff Kobernus — Drafted by the Red Sox and acquired via trade, Kobernus went to Spring Training vying for a super-utility role but was returned to Washington midway through camp.
2012: Rays LHP Kyle Lobstein — Detroit liked Lobstein enough in camp that it traded future big league catcher Curt Casali to Tampa Bay to acquire Lobstein’s full rights. He made 17 starts for the Tigers from ’14-15.
2006: Cubs LHP Edward Campusano — He competed for a bullpen spot in Spring Training, but underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the season before being returned to Chicago.
2005: Nationals RHP Chris Booker — Immediately traded to the Phillies and later claimed off waivers by the Royals, Booker eventually returned to Washington.
2003: Pirates 1B Chris Shelton — “Red Pop” went 9-for-46 (.196) with one home run in just 27 games in ’04, then hit 34 home runs over the next two seasons, including 10 in April ’06 as the Tigers’ starting first baseman.
2003: Indians RHP Lino Urdaneta — He pitched in only one game for the Tigers, allowing six runs on five hits without retiring a batter on Sept. 9, 2004, then was dropped from the roster at season’s end. Urdaneta pitched in two games for the Mets in ’07.
2002: Red Sox LHP Wilfredo Ledezma — He pitched in 34 games (eight starts) in ’03, then spent four more seasons in Detroit as a valuable swingman, including four relief appearances in the Tigers’ ’06 World Series run. Ledezma made 192 appearances over nine MLB seasons.
2002: Rockies RHP Matt Roney — The big righty reliever became known for one of the biggest hat sizes in the Majors, but he tallied 45 outings (11 starts) for Detroit in ’03. Roney later made a brief appearance with the A’s in ’06.
2002: Phillies 3B Travis Chapman — He was returned during Spring Training to Philadelphia, where he made one MLB appearance in ’03.
2002: Pirates RHP Chris Spurling — Drafted by the Braves and acquired by the Tigers at end of Spring Training, Spurling recorded three saves and pitched 77 innings across 66 outings out of Detroit’s bullpen in ’03. He appeared in 65 games for Detroit from ’05-06.
2001: Mariners RHP Jeff Farnsworth — He pitched in 44 games out of the bullpen in ’02, posting a 5.79 ERA in his only MLB season.
2000: Mariners 2B Jermaine Clark — He pinch-ran in each of Detroit’s first three games in ’01 before being returned to Seattle. Clark later played for the Rangers, Padres, Reds and A’s from ’03-05.
1999: Yankees RHP Mark Johnson — He pitched in nine games (three starts) for the Tigers before being released in June, never pitching again in the Majors.
1998: Marlins RHP Eric Ludwick — He was traded immediately to the Blue Jays for right-hander Beiker Graterol, who started the fourth game of the ’99 season for his only MLB appearance.
1997: Padres LHP Sean Runyan — The lefty specialist pitched in a franchise record-tying 88 games for the Tigers in ’98, then appeared in just 15 more games for Detroit over the next two seasons.
1996: Giants SS Deivi Cruz — Traded to the Tigers for fellow Rule 5 Draft pick Jeff Berblinger, Cruz spent five seasons as Detroit’s starting shortstop. The slick-fielding Cruz was best known for his defense, but he provided a little pop with the bat, slashing Comerica Park’s big outfield gaps for 46 doubles to go with a .302 average and 82 RBIs in the park’s inaugural season in 2000. He finished with a 7.4 bWAR over a nine-year big league career.
1995: Mariners RHP Greg Keagle — He pitched in 46 games, 23 of them starts, with 6.76 ERA for the Tigers from ’96-98.
1995: Cubs RHP Jon Ratliff — Returned to the Cubs in Spring Training, he made one MLB appearance for the A’s in 2000.
1994: Blue Jays OF Todd Steverson — He batted .262 with two home runs in 42 at-bats in ’95, then was traded to Padres in Spring Training ’96.
1992: White Sox RHP John Hudek — He never pitched in Detroit, but he became an All-Star closer in Houston after being claimed off waivers in July ’93. Hudek compiled a 4.43 ERA and 29 saves over a six-year big league career.
1989: Blue Jays RHP Steve Wapnick — He pitched in four games for the Tigers in ’90 before he was returned to Blue Jays. Wapnick made six appearances for the White Sox in ’91.
1989: Expos 2B Johnny Paredes — He batted 1-for-8 in six games for the Tigers in ’90 before he was returned to the Expos on May 1. Paredes came back to Detroit as a free agent in ’91.
1987: Dodgers RHP John Wetteland — Returned to the Dodgers at end of Spring Training in ’88, Wetteland made his MLB debut with them in ’89 and went on to record 330 saves over a 12-year career that included stops with the Expos, Yankees and Rangers.
1984: Twins OF Jim Weaver — He batted 1-for-7 in 12 games for Detroit before he was returned to the Twins on May 22, 1985.
1980: Reds RHP Larry Rothschild — He pitched in five games for the Tigers in ’81, walking six batters in 5 2/3 innings, then pitched in two more games for Detroit in ’82. Though Rothschild never pitched in the Majors again, he has been an MLB manager and pitching coach.
1978: Reds OF Lynn Jones — He batted .296 with four home runs and 26 RBIs in 95 games as an extra outfielder for the Tigers in ’79, one of five seasons he spent in Detroit. Jones played in 527 games over an eight-year MLB career, winning a World Series with the Royals in ’85.
1978: Angels IF Dave Machemer — He batted 5-for-26 (.192) with two RBIs in 19 games for the Tigers in ’79.
1975: Reds RHP Bruce Taylor — He posted a 3.38 ERA and two saves in 19 games out of Detroit’s bullpen in ’77, then pitched in 11 more games for the Tigers over the next two seasons.
1973: Braves C Gene Lamont — The Tigers’ first MLB Draft pick in ’65 returned to his old club and hit .217 over 60 games in ’74. Lamont finished his career in Detroit’s farm system, playing in four more games for the Tigers in ’75. He served as a Tigers coach under managers Jim Leyland and Brad Ausmus from 2006-17.
1970: Dodgers SS John Gamble — He spent the entire ’71 season at Double-A Montgomery before batting 0-for-3 in six games for Detroit in ’72. Gamble played in seven more games without an at-bat for the Tigers in ’73.
1965: Pirates C Orlando McFarlane — He batted .254 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 49 games as Bill Freehan’s backup catcher in ’66, then was dealt to the Angels in ’67.