Astros: The Off-Season Strategy Session - Rule 5 Update

Larry The GM on Nov. 20, 2018

Looking ahead at the Astros Rule 5 decisions today.

November 20 is the day the Astros have to decide who they protect and don’t protect on their 40 man roster. As you will soon see, this is a significant challenge this year. It is such a challenge I am revisiting my earlier submission to draw focus to this eminent activity.

On 11/2/18, the Astros signed Chris Herrmann in a classic quiet Jeff Luhnow increase your options and low risk- high potential reward type of move. His name shows in green in the table above. This move will set up other potential bigger moves at catcher will discuss in later sections.

On 11/17/18, the Astros made a quiet move you may not understand the consequences fully until after opening day. The Astros traded prospect Trent Thornton (who was likely to be lost in the Rule 5 draft) for needed IF depth Aledmys Diaz. As Eric Huysman highlighted already, Diaz is likely to replace Marwin Gonzalez as the primary utility player.

The following table shows what I believe will be the Rule 5 draft roster IF no Ramon Laureano type trades are made between now and 11/20/18 (the day Rule 5 rosters are set).

The table shows four types of players

  • Black font and shaded Green or White- players who will remain on the 40-man roster
  • Red Font and shaded Red or Pink- Players eligible for Rule 5 who are MOST likely to be added
  • Blue Font and shaded blue- Players eligible for Rule 5 who are not likely to be on roster- Draft eligible. Some of these are targets to be traded
  • Yellow shading- Players not yet eligible for the Rule 5 and ranked as top 30 Astros Prospects by MLB Pipeline.


Larry 9.PNG

The number is the prospect ranking in the Astros system. A study of this highlights that I have taken Brady Rodgers and Wil Harris OFF of the 40- man roster. There are two groups of additions.

  • Sure bets to be added- shaded red- Garrett Stubbs, Rogelio Armenteros, Riley Ferrell
  • Bubble candidates to be added- shaded pink- Drew Ferguson, Brendan McCurry, Jonathan Arauz

If the Astros added all of these the roster would be at 39 which leaves limited room for Free Agent signings. I think it is more likely one of the three bubble candidates will be added, and the roster will be at 37 players.

Also, as shown, the top prospects such as Whitley, Alvarez, Martin, Beer, and Bukauskas are not on the projected 40-man roster. It is highly possible at least one if not more of these players will be added to the roster in 2019. The Astros will want to be careful to have 40-man roster slots to add these players when they are ready.

What this shows is that the Astros have significant talent other teams may be interested in drafting in the Rule 5 draft. Many of these players may be used as Trent Thornton was to acquire either talent to fill gaps or non-Rule 5 draft eligible prospects. The list of these players is not even complete here but focuses on the highest profile players eligible for the draft.

What I suspect will happen is multiple prospects will be pooled together to acquire a Starting Pitcher or to upgrade the need positions we discussed previously.

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