Diamonds in the Rough: Miami Marlins Rule 5 Draft Preview

On Thursday, December 10th, MLB’s annual Rule 5 Draft will take place in San Diego, CA, and the Miami Marlins could be looking to poach potential talent during the proceedings.

The Marlins are associated with one of the best selections in the Rule 5 Draft’s modern era with their selection of Dan Uggla in 2005. Uggla became a foundational piece of the team’s rebuilding efforts after the 2003 World Series. His 2006 All-Star appearance made Uggla the first Rule 5 draftee to make an All-Star game in the same season he was drafted.

The Rule 5 Draft’s eligible pool of draftees includes players who have been with a team for either four or five seasons (depending on their age at signing), and who are not part of the club’s 40-man roster. Any player selected must remain on the team’s active roster for the duration of the season, not counting rehabilitation assignments.

The Rule 5 Draft marks the end of the Winter Meetings, and this year the Marlins own the No. 3 pick overall, thanks to finishing with the league’s third-worst record in 2019.

Here’s a look at some of the intriguing prospects who the Marlins might consider selecting during this year’s Rule 5 Draft.

Brandon Bailey, RHP, Houston Astros

At 5’10”, Bailey is not an imposing figure on the mound. At 25-years-old, the right-handed starter could be ready to take the next step in his career despite not pitching about the Double-A level. He features a solid repertoire of pitches, including a fastball that moves well which is complimented by a changeup and a curveball. Bailey could find himself as an option for middle or long-relief with a big club.

Joe Barlow, RHP, Texas Rangers 

Barlow is a 24-year-old right-handed reliever who has piled up 277 strikeouts over his four seasons of minor league play. At 6’3″, Barlow stands tall on the mound. He has good velocity on his fastball, and a complimentary curve. He has struggled with command, issuing 130 in his 193.2 minor league innings. If Barlow manages to straight-out his control problems, he has potential as a high-leverage, late-inning reliever, something the Marlins are in the market for.


MARYVALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 22: Zack Brown #74 of the Milwaukee Brewers. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

Zack Brown, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers 

Brown struggled in 2019 after a solid 2018 campaign. The 24-year-old righty features three pitches, fastball, curveball and changeup. He posted a 5.79 ERA and 1.73 WHIP in 116.2 innings pitched in 2019 at the Triple-A level. Command was an a problem, as he issued 64 walks, but if he could return to his 2018 form, Brown could serve as a long reliever or spot starter if he regains that command.

Jacob Robson, OF, Detroit Tigers

The 25-year-old Canadian outfielder has been part of the Detroit Tigers system since 2016. Robson is a decent hitter with good speed. He posted 33 extra-base hits and 25 stolen bases last season with Triple-AAA Todelo. Robson is a left-handed hitter and an average defender. If he’s selected, he fits the profile of a versatile fourth outfielder with above-average speed.

Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

SURPRISE, AZ – NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Jordan Sheffield #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Sheffield is a 24-year-old former starter who was drafted out of Vanderbilt University in 2016. Sheffield posted good strikeout numbers as a starter early in his career in the minors, but he struggled with command. After injury forced him to miss time, Sheffield returned as a reliever and gained some experience as a closer specifically. Sheffield has big-league velocity and stuff, but command issues might hold him back. He has potential as a high-leverage, late-inning reliever, perhaps even as a closer.

Some other potential prospects the Marlins might look at include: Griffin Jax, RHP, Minnesota Twins; Esteury Ruiz, 2B, San Diego Padres; Yohan Ramirez, RHP, Houston Astros; and Dauris Valdez, RHP, San Diego Padres.

The Marlins left one player unprotected for the Rule 5 Draft, RHP Will Stewart. Acquired in the J.T. Realmuto trade last offseason, Stewart underwhelmed with the Marlins, posting a 5.43 ERA in 2019. The 22-year-old lefty might be too far away from the Majors for a team to take a chance on him.

We look forward to seeing how the rule 5 draft will shake out. In the meantime, keep your eyes on us for breaking Marlins news.

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