Which prospects will make 40-man rosters?

Detroit Tigers

It’s decision time for Major League front offices.

All 30 teams have until Nov. 19 to make decisions about their 40-man rosters. Some prospects will earn a coveted spot, some will not and will thus be eligible to be picked up by another team in the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at the Winter Meetings in Orlando on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years 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 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.

For this year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2017 — assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 8 of that year — has to be protected. A college player taken in the 2018 Draft is in the same position.

There are 14 players on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list who need to be protected or become exposed to the Rule 5 Draft.

Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners (No. 2)
Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds (No. 26)
Royce Lewis, SS, Twins (No. 35)
Ronny Mauricio, SS, Mets (No. 53)
MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres (No. 56)
Tyler Freeman, INF, Cleveland (No. 59)
George Valera, OF, Cleveland (No. 63)
Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals (No. 65)
MJ Melendez, C, Royals (No. 67)
D.L. Hall, LHP, Orioles (No. 72)
Drew Waters, OF, Braves (No. 79)
Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants (No. 80)
Liover Peguero, SS, Pirates (No. 85)
Ryan Rolison, LHP, Rockies (No. 95)

It would be surprising if any of these prospects did not end up on 40-man rosters by the deadline. Over the past six seasons, all 59 Top 100 prospects who were eligible got roster spots:

There are far more Minor League players eligible this year, of course, with over 2,100 players on the Rule 5 eligible list this year; 168 are currently on organizational Top 30 lists. Last year, there were 174 ranked on Top 30s and 149 in 2019. The percentage of Top 30 prospects protected over the past six years:

2020: 86 of 174 (49.4 percent)
2019: 87 of 149 (58.3 percent)
2018: 71 of 149 (47.6 percent)
2017: 85 of 153 (55.6 percent)
2016: 84 of 144 (58.0 percent)
2015: 75 of 156 (48.0 percent)

Here’s a list of all 30 teams’ Top 30 prospects who need to be protected to avoid being exposed to the Rule 5 Draft:

Cleveland
Tyler Freeman, IF (No. 1, MLB No. 59)
George Valera, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 63)
Brayan Rocchio, IF (No. 7)
Jose Tena, IF (No. 12)
Bryan Lavastida, C (No. 13)
Richard Palacios, 2B (No. 14)
Aaron Bracho, IF (No. 15)
Jhonkensy Noel, IF (No. 25)

New York Mets
Ronny Mauricio, SS (No. 3, MLB No. 53)
Mark Vientos, 3B (No. 6)
Carlos Cortes, 2B (No. 10)
Jose Butto, RHP (No. 13)
Josh Walker, LHP (No. 16)
Hayden Senger, C (No. 21)
Carlos Rincon, OF (No. 24)
Shervyen Newton, SS (No. 26)
Michel Otanez, RHP (No. 29)
Ryley Gilliam, RHP (No. 30)

Pittsburgh Pirates
Liover Peguero, SS (No. 5, MLB No. 85)
Tahnaj Thomas, RHP (No. 13)
Travis Swaggerty, OF (No. 16)
Mason Martin, OF (No. 17)
Cal Mitchell, OF (No. 18)
Omar Cruz, LHP (No. 26)
Canaan Smith-Njigba, OF (No. 27)
Cody Bolton, RHP (No. 28)
Jack Suwinski, OF (No. 29)
Eddy Yean, RHP (No. 30)

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