Today around noon EST, the assorted MLB infrastructure held their annual rule 5 draft in Las Vegas to close up their Winter Meetings.
As in the regular 2019 MLB Amateur Draft, to be held in June, the Miami Marlins picked fourth. Right-handed pitcher Riley Ferrell, formerly the Houston Astros 17th ranked prospect, will now open the season on Miami’s Opening Day roster.
The rule 5 draft rules state that Ferrell must remain on Miami’s 25-man active roster through the entire campaign, or else placed on outright waivers. If he makes it through waivers, he must then be offered back to Houston for $50,000.
Riley Ferrell, Miami Marlins
Riley Ferrell is a 25-year-old, 6’2″, 200 lb. right-handed reliever from College Station, Texas. He’s spent three seasons in the Astros minor league system, splitting 2018 between their double-A Corpus Christi Hooks and their triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. Ferrell surrendered a combined 1.587 WHIP and a 4.53 ERA, but he also struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings through the season. Ferrell joins the Marlins system as their number 21 MLB Pipeline prospect. See video below for a look at him in the Arizona Fall League in 2017, courtesy of Baseball Census.
"With a pair of pitches that grade as well above average at their best, Ferrell could become a closer if he can find some more consistency. His fastball usually ranges from 93-98 mph with late life and his mid-80s slider has two-plane break and can be more unhittable at times. – MLB Pipeline"
After only 13 teams elected to make a pick in the first round, the San Francisco Giants were the lone club to make a second round pick. You can read the full results here.
With that wrapped up, the triple-A phase of the draft commenced. 25 teams participated in the first round, but not the Miami Marlins. Round two had 11 teams playing the game, round three would see five picks, and round four was only the Tampa Bay Rays.
Braxton Lee, New York Mets
Of particular interest to the Miami Marlins is the loss to the New York Mets of Braxton Lee. Lee was Miami’s 29th ranked prospect when selected, but is not reflected on New York’s MLB Pipeline page.
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You’ll remember Lee joined the Miami Marlins system in mid-2017, after he was traded to the Rays with Ethan Clark for Adeiny Hechavarria. He spent the entire 2017 season in the double-A Southern League, first with the Montgomery Biscuits then with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp after the trade, and led the circuit with a .309 batting average.
An outfielder, Lee went three-for-17 in his major league debut with the Miami Marlins very early in the season. He was then sent down and did not get back to the top level through the rest of the year. Lee hit .233/.316/.294 in 84 games between the Marlins top three minor league levels.
The loss of Lee to a divisional foe could come back to haunt the Miami Marlins, but the addition of Ferrell could take some of that sting away. It’ll be interesting to see what Ferrell brings to the table in 2019.
Also of possible interest to Miami Marlins fans, former farmhand Chris Mazza was chosen off the Seattle Mariners in the triple-A part of the draft. Like Lee, he will also join the Mets organization. Mazza had been cut by the Marlins mid-season, only to make a heroic return late in the year to the double-A Arkansas Travelers. He racked up a 1.33 ERA over four starts, with 23 K’s and a 0.704 WHIP in 27 innings.
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