Rule 5 Draft Eventful for Washington


The annual Rule 5 Draft took place last Thursday, as the Winter Meetings were wrapping up their final day. Unfortunately due to a busy work schedule and some temporary server problems that plagued many of the FanSided sites at the end of last week, we didn’t have much of an opportunity to address the Draft right away and considering a number of Nationals players were involved, it seems worthwhile to catch up.

Washington lost two players and selected two players in this year’s Draft. For those unfamiliar with the Rule 5, I’ll refer you to the Wikipedia entry on the subject, which isn’t a terrible explanation. Both Erik Komatsu and Brad Meyers were selected in the MLB-phase of the Draft, meaning they’ll need to stick with their new teams in the Major Leagues or they will be returned to their original organization.

Komatsu is arguably the bigger of the two names, at least in terms of recent discussions. Komatsu, an outfielder, had been acquired by the Nationals last July from Milwaukee in exchange for Jerry Hairston Jr. He had been batting .294/.393/.416 with 6 HR and 40 RBI with Double-A Huntsville before the trade, splitting time between right field and center. After the deal, however, he struggled at the plate, batting just .234/.298/.297 with a home run and 8 RBI.

Komatsu, who had been named Milwaukee’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2010, was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals who could potentially hang onto him for the entire 2012 season. Right now the Cardinals outfield consists of Matt Holliday in left, Jon Jay in center, and Allen Craig in right, once he’s healthy after off season surgery. The team’s other 40-man roster options are all nearly as unproven as Komatsu, so he just might stick if he plays well enough.

As for Meyers, his situation doesn’t quite seem as favorable. Meyers was selected by the New York Yankees – a team which has returned it’s last three Rule 5 selections before the end of Spring Training. The Yankees don’t currently have much room in their starting rotation or the bullpen, so for Meyers to stand a chance at sticking with the team for the entirety of the 2012 season he is going to need to really impress during Spring Training. If not, he could be heading back to Washington quickly.

Meyers totaled a 9-7 record and 3.18 ERA across three levels in 2011, including his first taste of Triple-A. In 17 games (16 starts) with Syracuse pitched 95.1 innings, going 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA, 7.0 K/9, and 1.4 BB/9. He was the Nationals’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year back in 2009 (his first season in Double-A) but has never been given much MLB consideration from the organization because of his inconsistent play since. I’d guess we’ll see him returned to the organization in the coming months.

As for who the Nationals selected themselves this year, there wasn’t a selection made in the MLB-phase of the Draft. This means there are no players who must be kept on the 25-man roster this year to consider, such as the team faced with Elvin Ramirez last year. The team did make two picks in the minor league phase of the draft, however.

First, they selected Beau Seabury from the Colorado Rockies. Seabury is known as being a defensive minded catcher and gives the organization some additional depth at an important position. He batted .274/.328/.406 in 122 plate appearances last season. He’ll likely head into the Spring as a candidate to backup Derek Norris in Triple-A.

Then, the team also took Matt Buschmann from the San Diego Padres. The right-hander split the 2011 season between Double-A and Triple-A, posting one of his worst seasons to date (12-6, 6.16 ERA). He presumably will provide some depth out of the bullpen in Double-A to begin the season.