The deadline to protect minor league players from the Rule 5 draft is today, and with six open spots on the 40-man roster, the Brewers have protected five — none of which are a total surprise.
#Brewers add RHP Nick Bucci, RHP Hiram Burgos, OF Khris Davis, 2B Scooter Gennett, OF Josh Prince to 40-man roster. Details coming jsonline.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) November 20, 2012
Burgos and Gennett were two additions that were a given. Burgos picked up the organization’s Pitcher of the Year award after putting up a 1.95 ERA in 171 innings that spanned three levels of the minors, striking out 153 and walking 49. Burgos will be 25 this season and figures to start the season back in Triple-A, with an outside chance to win a starting spot this spring. Burgos was a 6th-round pick in 2009 out of Bethune-Cookman.
Gennett remains one of the Brewers’ best offensive prospects after hitting .293/.330/.385 in Double-A as a 22-year-old. He continues to improve defensively and his plate discipline could still use some work, but all he’s done is hit at every level. He’ll likely head to Triple-A this season. Something to keep in mind as Gennett continues to climb the system: Rickie Weeks’ current contract ends after 2014, but the Brewers hold a team option for 2015. Gennett was a 16th round pick in 2009, mostly due to a strong commitment to Florida State, but the Brewers were able to sign him away.
Presumably, Prince’s spot on the 40-man is a result of his red-hot stint in the Arizona Fall League. Despite a career minor league line of .253/.333/.335, Prince took advantage of the hitter-friendly environment in Arizona, hitting over .400. Prince will be 25 next season, and is another that will probably play in Triple-A. A 2009 3rd-round pick out of Tulane, Prince is still probably best served as a utility guy, bouncing between the infield and outfield.
Khris Davis, like Gennett, has done nothing but hit in the Brewers’ system. Unlike Gennett, he’s also hit for power, putting up a career minor league line of .294/.400/.513. Davis only played in 82 games in 2012, but put up a 1.055 OPS, mostly between Double-A and Triple-A. Despite the gaudy numbers, most still project him as a 4th outfielder, confined to the corners due to defensive concerns. Unfortunately, that’s a bad spot for a Brewers prospect to be, with no starting spot open anytime soon. Davis was a 7th-round pick in 2009 out of baseball power Cal State-Fullerton.
Bucci missed a lot of time in 2012, only throwing 42.2 innings in 10 starts, but he’s long been a favorite of Doug Melvin and Gord Ash. Despite only reaching High-A this year, he has pure stuff that would have been worth taking in the Rule 5 draft, even if it meant stashing him in the bullpen as a long man. He’s still only 22 and could be out of options before he finally sticks on the big league roster, but has the potential to contribute as a starter. Bucci was an 18th-round pick out of high school in Ontario, Canada in 2008.
With limited spots available — the Brewers needed to keep at least one spot open if they wanted to make a Rule 5 pick of their own — there were some interesting names left unprotected. Among them: RHP Frankie De Los Santos, 2B Eric Farris, OF Kentrail Davis, RHP Kyle Heckathorn, RHP Cody Scarpetta, and former first-round pick RHP Eric Arnett. The Rule 5 draft takes place December 6th.