Scott Van Slyke and Alfredo Silverio were added to the Dodgers 40 man roster yesterday, which didn't come as a big surprise as both players had huge seasons for the Lookouts in 2011 and were eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft on December 8th.
Outside of a solid year in 2009 in the hitter friendly California League, Scott Van Slyke hadn't had much success in his 6 minor league seasons. The 25 year old broke out in a big way in 2011, however, as he captured the Southern League batting title and ranked 2nd in the league in OB%, SLG%, and OPS. He split his time in the field between 1st base and the outfield, and while he isn't known as an elite defender he has a strong arm and is serviceable at either position. Van Slyke obviously has the bloodlines to succeed, and while I don't think he'll really be an everyday big league player he hits lefties well and it looks like he'll at least get a shot in the Show as soon as next year.
Signed way back in 2003, Alfredo Silverio's journey has been even longer than Van Slyke's. He made all the normal minor league stops along the way, and had varying degrees of success at the different levels. Scouts always liked his athleticism and he finally broke out in 2011 with the Lookouts. He still has trouble taking a walk, but he lead the Southern League in Total Bases and had a surprising 18 triples despite failing in 12 of his 23 stolen base attempts. Silverio played all over the Chattanooga outfield last season, and even though his primary position was center field I'm not sure he'd be able to handle the middle of a major league outfield.
With the Dodgers 40 man roster at 33 including Juan Rivera, there isn't much room for other minor leaguers to be added to prior to the roster freeze on November 18th since the team needs to save room for free agent signings. That being said, a few more spots can be created if the Dodgers decide to remove some marginal players from their roster like Trent Oeltjen, Dana Eveland, Ramon Troncoso, or maybe even Russ Mitchell, and therefore I wanted to do a full preview of the players who could potentially get added to the 40 man roster.
Rule 5 Draft Eligibility
I know there was some discussion in the comments recently about the exact eligibility for the timing of when players need to be added to the 40 man roster in order to be protected from the Rule 5 draft, but after some thorough research I believe I've been right in my assumptions all along so below is a summary. Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization's 40-man roster and:
Were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for three full years, so not counting the year that they were signed. So in reality, players who were signed at age 19 or older and have parts of 4 years with the organization, they are eligible for the Rule 5 draft. For example, if a player is signed in 2008 at 19+ years old, they will have been in the system for 2008 (half), 2009 (full), 2010 (full) and 2011 (full), and they would be eligible in the Dec. 2011 Rule 5 draft.
Were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for four (full) years, so not counting the year that they were signed. So in reality, players who were signed at 18 years old or younger and have parts of 5 years with the organization, they are eligible for the Rule 5 draft. For example, if a player is signed in 2007 at 18 years old or younger, they will have been in the system for 2007 (half), 2008 (full), 2009 (full), 2010 (full) and 2011 (full), and they would be eligible in the Dec. 2011 Rule 5 draft.
College Players & 19-year old HS players drafted in 2008:
Now let’s look at the different groups of players who are eligible for the 2011 Rule 5 draft. We’ll start with college players drafted in 2008, plus the high school players drafted in 2008 and were 19 years old when they signed. These players are: Ethan Martin, Kyle Russell, Tony Delmonico, Jon Michael Redding, Cole St. Clair, Nick Buss, Jordan Roberts
The most intriguing name on this list has to be Ethan Martin, who was a first round pick just 3 year ago but was 19 years old when he signed so from what I can tell is eligible for this Rule 5 draft. Despite his struggles he still has an electric arm, and his recent transition to a reliever gives other big league teams even more of a reason to take a Rule 5 flyer on him since he can be hidden at the back of a bullpen. The rest of the names on this list don't really seem close to contributing to a big league team, especially since Kyle Russell still has a big time strikeout problem, so I can't imagine the Dodgers would give a roster spot to any of them.
The rest of the eligible players are after the jump...
2007 High School Players Drafted in 2007 (18 yrs old when signed)
Also for the 2011 Rule 5 draft, high school players drafted in 2007 who were 18 years old or younger when signed are eligible for the Rule 5 draft. For the Dodgers, this list includes: Chris Withrow, Austin Gallagher, Andres Santiago, Chris Jacobs
Chris Withrow seems like a certain add to the Dodgers 40 man roster since he also has an electric arm and as a former 1st round pick has been a big investment for the organization. He definitely still needs some seasoning in the minor leagues, but I can't see the Dodgers taking the risk of leaving him exposed in the Rule 5 draft. The other players on this list are much too far away from the big leagues to be considered.
Previously Eligible Drafted Players
Then of course there are the players who were drafted by the Dodgers and have already been eligible for prior Rule 5 drafts, yet have not been selected and are still with the Dodgers. These players are again eligible for the 2011 Rule 5 draft, and this list includes: Josh Wall, Griff Erickson, Justin Miller, Tim Sexton, Jaime Pedroza, Matt Wallach, David Pfeiffer, Jessie Mier
Scott Van Slyke would have also been a member of this list had he not been added to the roster yesterday, and since he's gone the most likely candidate to get added to the 40 man roster is another power arm in Josh Wall. Wall found new life after a move to the bullpen, and rumor has it that his fastball can reach 100 mph. He's currently throwing well in the Arizona Fall League, and is another guy who could be hidden at the back of a big league bullpen if selected in the Rule 5 draft. The only other player on this list worth mentioning is Griff Erickson who has moved up the prospect charts after a great 2011 season. As a catcher he's probably too far away from contributing to a big league team, however, and so I don't think he'll get added to the roster or get taken in the Rule 5.
2007 or prior signed Foreign Players (signed before season ended in 2007)
Next there are the international free agents. Since pretty much all international free agents are signed when they are 18 years old or younger, all international free agents signed in 2007 or prior are eligible for the 2011 Rule 5 draft. These players include: Pedro Baez, Geison Aguasviva, Rafael Ynoa, Carlos Frias, Bladimir Franco, Ramon Jean, Jose Dominguez, Daniel Tamares, Carlie Mirabal, Pedro Guerrero, Elian Herrera, Christian Lara, Alberto Bastardo
Now that Alfredo Silverio is off this list, there aren't really many intriguing names here. A year ago I would have bet that Pedro Baez was a shoo in for a roster spot, but an injury riddled season will most likely give the Dodgers another year of evaluation before risking losing him. Geison Aguasviva is another player who had a good track record before injuries slowed him in 2011, while Carlos Frias has a good arm but struggled mightily last season so has almost no shot of getting taken in the Rule 5 draft.
Non Drafted FA signed in 2008 or Prior
The final group relates to the players who were not drafted, but were signed as non drafted free agents. Since all non-drafted free agents are older than 18 when signed, the non-drafted free agents signed in 2008 are eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time. This group is probably not even worth mentioning and doesn't warrant any discussion, but in to be complete in my list here they are: Josh Walter, Steve Smith, Joseph Becker, Robert Booth
So Who Else Will be Added to the 40 Man Roster?
The way I see it shaking out, the Dodgers will designate Trent Oeltjen for assignment, thus leaving open 8 spots on the 40 man roster. I think the organization will want at least 5 openings for free agent signings, so I guess that 3 players, Ethan Martin, Chris Withrow, and Josh Wall will all get added to the 40 man roster in the next few weeks.
What do you think will happen?