SoSH Glossary: Rule 5 Draft

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Rule 5 Draft

The Rule 5 Draft was implemented to prevent teams from keeping young, talented players on their minor-league rosters when other teams could use them at the major-league level. A player not on a 40-man roster may be eligible for the draft if he was signed when he was 19-years old or older and has been in professional baseball for four or more years, or if he was 18-years old or younger when he was signed and has been in professional baseball for five or more years.

Process Of The Draft:

The draft takes place every December, during the Winter Meetings, and the order of the draft is determined by the previous season’s regular season records, so that the last place-team picks first and the first-place team picks last. Teams with no vacancies on their 40-man rosters (40-man rosters must be filled out by November 20) are not allowed to choose any players. If a player is chosen, the team that picked the player must pay that player’s team $50,000 and immediately place the player on their 25-man roster.

Stipulations For Players Selected In The Draft:

A player drafted in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on the drafting team’s 25-man roster for the entire season. The player cannot be placed on the disabled list until he has been on the team for 90 days. If the team does not wish to keep the player, the player is offered to the original team in exchange for $25,000. If the original team declines to take the player back, the player is then put through the waiver process before he may be assigned to the drafting team’s minor-league system.

Minor League Phases:

Players that meet the same age requirements as above and are not on the AAA reserve list (38 players) or the AA reserve list (37 players) are eligible for the AAA or AA portion of the draft. The drafting team must pay $12,000 for a AAA selection and $4,000 for a AA selection. The player drafted is then a member of the drafting team’s organization and is not subject to any roster stipulations.

Notable Players Selected In The Rule 5 Draft:

  • Ben Rivera was selected by the Atlanta Braves in 1988 despite the fact that he was already an Atlanta Brave. Atlanta had not placed him on their own 40-man roster and were fearful that he would not make it through the draft without being selected.
  • In 1999, the Minnesota Twins struck a pre-draft agreement with the Miami Marlins to select Jared Camp first overall while the Marlins selected Johan Santana with the second overall pick. The teams then swapped players with the Marlins trading Santana and $100,000 for Camp.
  • Shane Victorino was selected by the San Diego Padres from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002.
  • Joakim Soria was selected by the Kansas City Royals from the San Diego Padres in 2006.
  • Josh Hamilton was selected by the Chicago Cubs from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007 and subsequently traded to the Cincinnati Reds for $100,000.

Pete Hodges has written about the call up of a top prospect, an odd tradition, and Leo the Lip.

Follow Pete on Twitter @PeterWHodges.

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