Texas Rangers: Who is the club protecting from the Rule 5 Draft?
By Kenneth Nash
The deadline to submit a 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft in December is tonight and here’s who the Texas Rangers are protecting.
The Rule 5 doesn’t take place until December 12th. However, the 40-man rosters that will be used as a guide to which players are eligible to be drafted is due tonight and the Texas Rangers had eight players who had to be added to the 40-man roster or subjected to the risk of being picked up by another club.
Levi Weaver of the The Athletic tweeted Wednesday afternoon that the Rangers were planning to add Leody Taveras, Demarcus Evans, Sherten Apostel and Tyler Phillips to the 40-man roster, thus protecting them from selection in the Rule 5 draft.
That presumably means that Anderson Tejeda, Joe Barlow, Eli White and Kyle Cody will be eligible for selection the Rule 5 draft. At least for now. Texas still has until 7 PM to make adjustments either through DFA, trade, etc.
Looking through the list of protected players, they all make a good sense. Leody Taveras has been one of the top prospects in the Rangers organization for years now. He’s an elite defensive outfielder and a switch-hitter at the plate. He still needs to develop some power but he projects to be an everyday center fielder in the future. He’s probably a year away from the big leagues still but if the Rangers didn’t put him on the 40-man he would certainly be gone.
Tyler Phillips is in a similar scenario as Taveras, albeit as a pitcher. He was drafted in 2015 and has worked his way through the system. He features some of the best command Texas has among its pitcher prospects but lacks elite pitches. He profiles as a future mid-rotation starter and while he won’t hit Arlington this year most likely, a rebuilding club would’ve happily stashed him away on their big league roster.
Demarcus Evans is the one among this group of four prospects who actually is on the verge of big league looks. The hard-throwing reliever skyrocketed through the organization last season and putting up stunning numbers in Frisco to the tune of 30 relief appearances, a 0.96 ERA and a 14.3 strikeouts per nine inning rate. Protecting him was an obvious decision.
The last player protected was Sherten Apostel who sits the furthest away from the Majors, but has made himself too valuable to lose. Despite not playing above High-A, the third baseman has shown a big bat in the minors and features plus power and an elite arm. While he might’ve slid through the Rule 5 draft because he’s not close to big league ready, it wasn’t a risk the Rangers were prepared to take.