Texas Rangers and the Risky Rule 5 Draft

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In Star Wars there’s something called the “Rule of Two.” It implied that for the evil Sith, there can only be two members at a time. One master, one apprentice. No more, no less. Rule of Two.

This has absolutely nothing to do with that.

Every December Major League Baseball has it’s Rule 5 Draft. The idea of the draft is to prevent teams from hoarding Major League ready prospects in their minor league system. If the player is on the 40 Man Roster, he’s protected. If not, then he’s up for grabs in the Rule 5 Draft if he meets the eligibility requirements.

It serves two main purposes, one for the teams involved and one for the player.

For the team, it’s so they won’t keep a player down in the minors simply for the sake of not eating up a roster spot.

For the player, it’s so he doesn’t spend more time in the minor leagues when he’s ready –or at least deemed ready– by a Major League club.

Jun 2, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) hits a leadoff double during the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Reds, 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s all really quite fascinating and fun for people like myself who are far too much into Minor League Baseball to follow. However, rarely do any of these players make a longstanding impact with their new team. If they are taken off the 40 Man by their new team, they go on waivers (If unclaimed they are returned to their previous team).

However, given the absurd amount of injuries and all the money spent on the top of the current Rangers infrastructure, Jon Daniels and company were quite involved in last Winter’s Rule 5 Draft. Here’s a recap:

Coming: Delino DeShields

Going: Odubel Herrera

The Rangers also briefly rostered Logan Verrett (13th overall in the Rule 5 Draft) by way of the Orioles via the Mets. They eventually Designated him for Assignment, sending him back to his original team, the Mets.

The rarity of getting majorly involved in the Rule 5 Draft most certainly did not apply to the 2015 Texas Rangers.

Odubel Herrera was a fringe prospect who was likely to open 2015 in AAA. An outfielder by trade, Herrera was drafted 8th by the Philadelphia Phillies. Certainly helped out by the fact that the Phillies are currently struggling, Herrera always had an eye for the Major Leagues, albeit a stretch.

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However, given that he was an international signee back in 2008 and was unprotected on the 40 Man Roster, he was drafted and so far has maintained a near everyday position with the Phillies.

After a hot start in a completely wide open Philly outfield, the left handed hitting center fielder has fallen on hard times. He does have 6 stolen bases, but is hitting just .245 with a putrid .280 OBP.

Isolated to the past month, he’s hitting just .202 with a low .548 OPS and has started to lose at bats. If not for his Rule 5 attachments, say if he was the complete property of the Phillies organization, he would have likely been demoted by now. Although by that logic he never would have started the year in the Majors.

May 30, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Delino DeShields (7) rounds third base to score a run in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers are getting the total opposite out of Delino DeShields right now.

Selected 3rd overall from the Houston Astros, DeShields has history as a top prospect where Herrera does not. The 8th overall pick in the 2010 Draft, the Astros super rich farm system saw them leave DeShields unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft.

After starting the season slow, he’s become one of the team’s best players and consequently, their new leadoff hitter.

Through the first month of the season, DeShields was seldom used as predicted. But when he did play, he wasn’t producing much of anything. The speedster did have seven stolen bases, but was hitting just .200.

However, when Ryan Rua went down, and especially when Leonys Martin got hurt and well and before Josh Hamilton was even a thought, Manager Jeff Bannister turned to DeShields to help spark the ball club.

Since May 15th, he’s started 17 games, of which the Rangers are 11-6 in. A good call on the part of fellow Nolan Writin’ writer Jason Burke.

His bat, whether it be a bunt single or a rope into left field, has come alive with flying colors. He’s hitting .290 and speaking of flying, continues to run whenever possible, with five more stolen bases in that span. His versatility to play any of the outfield positions at plus value has become extremely valuable. He’s also appeared at second base for a game, which he played in the Minor Leagues his first two three seasons.

He’s held the leadoff slot since May 22, unchallenged by Elvis Andrus or Leonys Martin and Shin-Soo Choo is finding a nice groove outside of the prime spot of the order.

The seasons of Herrera and DeShields have been strikingly similar. They almost mirror each other, you know, if it’s one of those weird backwards mirrors.

A month ago many thought Herrera was an everyday player and DeShields could end up back in Houston’s Minor League system.

Such is the risky Rule 5 Draft.

Next: Texas Rangers Move in the Right Direction in Fansided's Power Rankings

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