Last Updated on December 7, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
2023 MLB Rule 5 Draft Sees Minimal Activity with New York Yankees as Top Target
In a surprising turn of events, the 2023 MLB Rule 5 draft concluded with only 10 players being taken, making it one of the shortest drafts in recent memory. The New York Yankees were hit the hardest, as three of their right-handed pitchers were selected, including the top two picks.
It is no secret that the Yankees have had their fair share of players selected in the Rule 5 draft over the years. Since 2000, they have had 32 players picked up, making them the second-most affected team in the league. This year’s draft class, however, was considered less talented than usual, partly due to the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the 2020 draft. The pandemic forced the draft to be shortened from 40 rounds to a mere five, which had a significant impact on the talent pool available.
What may surprise some is that 60% of this year’s picks had been Rule 5 eligible in past drafts. This means that even though they were available before, they were not picked up until now. The draft order is typically determined by the reverse order of the standings from the previous season. Teams have the option to bypass their selection, and the draft continues until either every team skips their pick or they run out of space on their 40-man roster.
A notable feature of the Rule 5 draft is that the selected players must be kept on the selecting team’s active 26-man roster for the entire 2024 season. However, there is also a minor league phase in which selected players do not need to be kept on the big league roster.
In recent years, the Rule 5 draft has proved to be a breeding ground for talent. Players like Garrett Whitlock and Akil Baddoo made immediate impacts with their new teams, showcasing the potential that lies within this unique draft.
Pitching continues to be the most sought-after demographic in the Rule 5 draft, with bullpen arms being particularly coveted. One potential name to watch out for in the 2023 draft is Rangers’ pitcher Justin Slaten, who has been garnering attention for his impressive performance.
As the 2023 MLB Rule 5 draft wraps up, it is clear that this year’s event saw a minimal number of picks. Nonetheless, the New York Yankees felt the brunt of the draft, losing three talented right-handed pitchers, further solidifying their reputation as a prime target in future drafts. As the baseball world looks ahead to the 2024 season, it remains to be seen which of the selected players will become breakout stars and make a lasting impact in the majors.