LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers added three players to the 40-man roster on Friday — pitchers Chase De Jong and Jacob Rhame — protecting them from being selected in next month’s Rule 5 draft.
With the additions, the Dodgers have 40 players on the 40-man roster.
Friday was the deadline to set rosters for the annual Rule 5 draft, to be held on Dec. 8 at the winter meetings in Washington D.C. Players eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft are players not on the 40-man roster, and were high school draftees in 2012, college draftees in 2013, or of roughly similar age for international players.
De Jong was 15-5 with a 2.82 ERA in 26 starts in 2016, all but one start for Double-A Tulsa, with 133 strikeouts and 40 walks in 147 innings. The right-hander, who turns 23 on December 29, was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Year.
“To be named Pitcher of the Year was the highlight of my minor league career so far,” De Jong said this week. “I think that my individual success this year had a lot to do with establishing a cutter and being able to throw two separate breaking balls. Hitters in the Texas League are difficult outs so a pitcher is only going to be successful if he can keep them off balance.”
The Dodgers acquired De Jong and infielder Tim Locastro from the Blue Jays in July 2015 for three international bonus slots, essentially purchasing two prospects for just over $1 million.
De Jong was drafted by Toronto in the second round in 2012 out of Wilson High School in Long Beach. Since joining the Dodgers, he has advanced three minor league levels, finishing 2016 with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
“Professionally, being on the 40-man means that the team has a lot of faith in me,” De Jong said. “Personally, my grandfather was a huge Dodger fan and being able to make it in this system has a special place in my heart. I love playing in this organization.”
Rhame was drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round in 2013 out of Grayson County Community College in Texas. He spent all of 2016 with Triple-A Oklahoma City, putting up a 3.29 ERA and 3.87 FIP in 54 relief appearances, and saved seven games.
The 23-year-old right-hander struck out 70 — a 26.5% strikeout rate — and walked 28 in 63 innings.
"Being able to be in the zone more with my fastball and offspeed, it helped me click a little bit better,” Rhame said.
Rhame new a potential promotion to the 40-man roster was possible, but also out of his control.
"I don't like to think about that stuff because it will drive you crazy. I just kind of let everything play out,” Rhame said. “I threw as well as I could this year, and if that's enough to make that happen, that would be great.”
Farmer hit .256/.323/.395 with 18 doubles and five home runs in 74 games in his second year in Double-A Tulsa. Farmer, who played the infield at the University of Georgia, started 15 games at third base in 2016 in addition to his 53 starts behind the plate.
He gives the Dodgers three catchers on the 40-man roster, along with Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes.
The Dodgers drafted Farmer in the eighth round in the 2013 draft. He turned 26 in August.
Being on the 40-man roster means starting spring training in major league camp at Camelback Ranch in 2017. This will be the second big league camp for all three, who were non-roster invitees in 2016.
"I'll be a little more comfortable,” Rhame said. “Being my second one, I can settle in a little quicker and not have those butterflies.”
“I plan to train and be prepared so that when the big league team has a need, I'm ready to step up and fill it,” De Jong said. “That means to be prepared physically and mentally. That's the mindset I'll take to Camelback Ranch next spring.
“It is absolutely my goal to pitch in the big leagues in 2017. I've worked hard and developed my game to the point where I believe I can be an asset to a team at the big league level. I don't worry about it, this has been my goal since I was 10 years old so the light is definitely closer to the end of the tunnel than it was when this whole thing started,” De Jong added. “I am encouraged by the way that the Dodgers have been aggressive in promoting young players and I'm committed to getting myself ready to be an option for them sooner than later.”