The Mathewson Season 11 Rule 5 Draft was complete, and early on, it appears that there were some clear winners, some losers, and well, as the country music song goes, some chain smokers and boozers. The Cleveland Lumberjacks lost 7 players in the draft, while the Colorado Crush lost 5. The majority of players drafted project to fill some limited roles for their new teams, but some notable exceptions are expected to carry significant roles.
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks took infielder Jorge Perez with the first pick of the draft. Perez, a previous Colorado projects to be a solid infielder with a balanced set of tools and should play a significant role in Anaheim's rebuilding efforts.
The Baltimore Blast picked catcher Pablo Santos in the second pick of the draft. In 250+ at bats at the ML level in Season 10, Santos hit a decent .275 AVG/.353 OBP/.712 OPS, while catching in 74 games. The Blast were in desperate need of a catcher, and Santos clearly helps fill that void.
The Boston Minute Men claimed outfielder Pedro James from the Colorado Crush. The 23 yr old James has been a 4 time All-Star in the Minor Leagues, and has shown great promise against right handed pitching and a great batting eye.
No real losers in this draft. While Cleveland lost the highest number of players, Colorado lost the most talent. However, the Colorado minor league system is very strong, and the players lost in the draft have a minimal impact on the depth of the system. In fact, looking at the number of quality players protected by the Crush that would've been eligible for the draft, Colorado could qualify as a winner in this year's draft.
The Baltimore Blast claimed 10 players in this year's draft. In picks ranging from the #2 to the #290 in the draft, the Blast strategy was clearly aimed at numbers in restocking a franchise that lost a lot of talent under prior management in the last few seasons. It is not clear that these players will remain in the roster, but the Blast get the "chain-smoker" award.
The Iowa City Bison picked two very similar players in this year's draft: Vic Saez and Billy Hunter. Both are defensive, speedy players who play 2B and CF with limited offensive capabilities, and it is not immediately clear what role both of these would play in the team if they stay with the franchise.
In the drafting binge of Rule 5 talent stocking, the Baltimore Blast took on AJ West off of the El Paso Fighting Tacos... and his 5 million contract due in season 11. Although a talented player, West's otherwise modest contract will be a significant burden in a team looking to rebuild and leaving the Blast management in a post-draft hangover. The Blast are considering returning West to El Paso; after clearing waivers and not getting claimed by other teams, El Paso is still considering. Rumors say that the Blast are in negotiation with several teams regarding a possible trade that would bring younger prospects to Baltimore.