One week from today will be the annual Rule 5 draft, capping off the annual Baseball Winter Meetings. This offseason the Yankees protected just one eligible player from the draft in the person of right-handed reliever Joe Harvey.
The Yankees have left several promising prospects exposed to the draft and a few that have the potential to be selected by MLB teams looking for that diamond in the rough.
With that in mind, we are taking a look at five Yankees minor leaguers that could be realistically picked up in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft.
Left-handed pitcher Nestor Cortes is no stranger to the Rule 5 Draft. The former 36th round draft pick was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft and appeared in four games out of the bullpen for the Birds before being offered back to the Yankees.
Though he struggled with a 7.71 ERA and just three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings, he excelled in the minors with the Yankees once again. In 24 games, 18 starts, he had a 6-6 record with a 3.68 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 115 innings.
To follow up his strong 2018 season, he has headed down to the Dominican Republic where he is once again pitching for Estrellas Orientales where he has thrown an addition 42 innings in eight starts with a 1.71 ERA and 45 strikeouts.
Cortes is a crafty lefty that does not throw particularly hard. He has a fastball that is anywhere between the high-80s and low-90s and topping out at 93 miles per hour. He locates his fastball well compliments it with a changeup that sits between 75-70 miles per hour, a curveball in the low-mid-70s and a slider that is in the high-70s.
Rosa, 24, just completed a season that saw him pitch a career high of 128 1/3 innings across three levels. While most of his time was spent at High-A Tampa, he ended his season in the rotation of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Unlike many of the pitchers in the Yankees system, he does not throw 98 miles per hour. His fastball usually sits 91-93 miles per hour, occasionally getting it up to 94 at times. He follows it up with an average curveball and slider as well as a changeup that is still developing and lags his other pitches. He relies heavily on plus command of his four pitches and competitiveness that matches up with anyone in the system.
He has a career 34-17 record with a 3.15 ERA in 89 games, 61 starts, over 412 innings across five seasons.
Former first-round pick Kyle Holder is eligible for the Rule-5 Draft for the first time this offseason. The talented defensive infielder has long been praised for his ability on the field. Ever since he was drafted the book on Holder was that he had major league-quality defense with a below-average bat, but that has been coming around after making his professional debut.
Since being drafted Holder has spent time at shortstop, second base and third base. Making him a valuable utility option for teams looking to fill a spot on the bench.
Holder’s injury history is a concern too, each of the last three seasons he has spent considerable time on the disabled list. While he ended the 2018 season officially with the Trenton Thunder, he did spend some time during the postseason with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in case they needed an extra fielder.
Like Cortes, first baseman Mike Ford is no stranger to the Rule 5 draft. Last offseason he was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the draft but was ultimately returned to the Yankees just before the end of spring training.
In 24 games in spring, he hit just .259/.385/.500 with seven doubles and two home runs for Seattle. After returning to the Yankees, he was assigned to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. In 102 games with Scranton, he hit .253/.327/.433 with 15 home runs.
Though injury limited his time on the field in 2018, he still showed progress in his development. With Greg Bird and Luke Voit ahead of him on the first base depth chart, it is clear that if he were to break into the major leagues, it would most likely be with another team.
First baseman/outfielder, Ryan McBroom falls into a similar category as Mike Ford. He is buried on the Yankees depth chart and likely will find a path to the major leagues with another team.
He had a breakout season hitting .302/.348/.458 in 121 games between the Trenton Thunder and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
McBroom has experience in the corner outfield spots but is a first baseman by trade with 433 career games at the potion vs. just 59 in the outfield.