Here are the results of the 1999 Rule V draft, along with analysis of the players selected during the major league phase of the draft and how they might fit into their new team’s plans. Ages are as of July 1, 2000. Bear in mind that many of these players will be returned to their former organizations before the season starts. Although there have been some high-profile players that had nice careers after being selected in the Rule V draft — Roberto Clemente, George Bell, Bobby Bonilla, Bip Roberts, Matt Mantei, to name just a few — many more slip back into obscurity, unnoticed by the masses. For more information on the Rule V draft, visit the Baseball America web site.
Minnesota Twins: Jared Camp, RHP (drafted from Cleveland Indians). Camp features mid- to high-90s heat but has been plagued by control problems throughout his pro career. Made stops last season at three different levels, dominating the Carolina League before pitching inconsistently at Double- and Triple-A. Traded shortly after being drafted, the 25-year-old Camp stands a good chance to stick with the Marlins, who are desperate for pitching help and who have had good success turning hard throwers into relief aces in the past (Trevor Hoffman, Robb Nen, and former Rule V draftee Mantei). This could turn out to be a great pickup.
Florida Marlins: Johan Santana, LHP (Houston Astros). Santana, a 20-year-old Venezuelan, spent 1999 in the Midwest League. He put up some decent numbers at Michigan, but it’s a long way from the Midwest League to the Show. Traded to the Twins, Santana looks like a longshot to stick with the big club.
Kansas City Royals: Damian Rolls, 3B (Los Angeles Dodgers). Rolls, a former first-round pick (1996) of the Dodgers, has been a huge disappointment as a pro. At age 22, he finally showed signs of life in the Florida State League last year. Having never played above A-ball, and stuck behind Joe Randa, Rolls is unlikely to land a job with his hometown team.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Chad Ogea, RHP (Detroit Tigers). Probably the highest profile selection in the draft, at least in terms of big league experience, Ogea played his first five seasons in Cleveland before moving to Philadelphia, where he posted uninspiring numbers in 1999. The 29-year-old Ogea, whose worst enemies are the gopher ball and the DL, figures to get a very long look at a rotation job for Tampa Bay, mainly due to a severe lack of competition.
Montreal Expos: Marty McLeary, RHP (Boston Red Sox). Boston’s 10th round selection in 1997, McCleary has never pitched higher than Class A. Following two nondescript seasons, in 1999 he performed very well in the SAL before getting pounded in a late-season trial in the Florida State League. The 25-year-old Ohio product, a converted catcher, throws hard but is very raw as a pitcher. Felipe Alou has a pretty good track record with young hurlers; McCleary doesn’t strike me as a good candidate for a big league job at this point but anything is possible.
Detroit Tigers: Mark Johnson, RHP (New York Yankees). Johnson, a 1996 first-round pick (Astros), spent most of last season at Double-A Norwich, where he posted a respectable ERA but struggled with his control, which is dangerous for a guy without overpowering stuff. The University of Hawaii alum stands a good chance to win a job as a fifth starter/long reliever with the pitching-starved Tigers.
Anaheim Angels: Derrick Turnbow, RHP (Philadelphia Phillies). Turnbow, a 1997 fifth-round pick out of a Tennessee high school, spent 1999 in the SAL, where he put together a very solid season. The 21-year-old will try to crack the Anaheim staff as a long reliever.
San Diego Padres: Kory DeHaan, OF (Pittsburgh Pirates). DeHaan, age 23, split 1999 between the Carolina League (where he was an All-Star) and the Eastern League. The Iowa native displayed a good batting eye and gaps power at Lynchburg before being promoted to Altoona, which proved to be more of a challenge. A lefty-swinging center fielder whose skills draw comparisons to Steve Finley and Andy Van Slyke, this 1997 seventh-round pick of the Pirates will go to spring training to compete for a spot with the big club as a pinch-runner/defensive replacement.
Milwaukee Brewers: Matt Williams, LHP (New York Yankees). Not to be confused with the third baseman of the same name, this Matt Williams, a fourth-round pick of the Indians in 1992, pitched well at Double- and Triple-A in 1999. Although he hasn’t been considered a prospect for some time, the 29-year-old Williams has plenty of minor league experience and a live arm; he’s got a good chance to help fill the situational lefty void left by the recent trade of Mike Myers.
Seattle Mariners: Chad Alexander, OF (Houston Astros). The 26-year-old Alexander, a 1995 third-round pick out of Texas A&M, split 1999 between Double- and Triple-A. He’s a toolsy player who hasn’t developed as expected. His strong defense gives him a good shot at sticking with the big club. He certainly can’t be any worse than Brian Hunter.
Toronto Blue Jays: DeWayne Wise, OF (Cincinnati Reds). Wise, the Reds’ 1997 fifth-round pick out of a South Carolina high school, runs well and is a very good defender. The 21-year-old left-handed hitter showed improved power and strike-zone judgment in his second tour of duty in the Midwest League. There’s a lot of upside here, but there’s also a lot of work to be done, preferably at the minor league level. Looks like an extreme longshot to make the team.
Oakland Athletics: Bo Porter, OF (Chicago Cubs). Pros: hits, hits for power, draws walks, runs well, can play center field. Cons: Porter is 27 years old. He’s too old to be a prospect, but this guy could contribute in Oakland as a fourth or fifth outfielder. A very shrewd pickup.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Brian Smith, RHP (Toronto Blue Jays). A 27-year-old reliever with decent but not great numbers in the minors, Smith stands as good a chance as anyone to land a job at the back end of the Bucs’ pitching staff. A 27th-round pick in 1994 out of the University of North Carolina, Smith features a plus fastball and slider. The Pirates won big in the Rule V last year, with the acquisition of lefty Scott Sauerbeck (Mets), so maybe lightning will strike twice.
San Francisco Giants: David Maurer, LHP (San Diego Padres). Maurer, the Padres’ 11th round pick in 1997, has put up solid numbers ever since turning pro, striking out more than a batter an inning, allowing less than a hit an inning, and keeping his strikeout to walk ratio at better than 2 to 1. Strictly a reliever in the minors, this Oklahoma State product, who spent all of 1999 at Double-A, could give San Francisco some quality innings out of the bullpen.
Cincinnati Reds: Adrian Burnside, LHP (Los Angeles Dodgers). Burnside, a native of Australia, hadn’t had much success in North America prior to 1999, when he put together a fine season in the California League. Just 22 years old, as a southpaw he has an outside shot to land a job in the bigs next year.
New York Mets: Jim Mann, RHP (Toronto Blue Jays). Mann spent most of 1999 at Triple-A Syracuse, where he worked out of the bullpen. The 25-year-old was stingy with the hits but showed spotty control. Right now he looks like the 11th man on a staff, at best.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Chris Reitsma, RHP (Boston Red Sox). The 22-year-old Reitsma returned from a severe arm injury and pitched in the Florida State League last year, with mixed results. The downside is that he put up poor numbers in a pitcher-friendly league. The upside is that he managed to make 19 starts. A first-round pick of the BoSox in 1996, out of an Alberta, Canada, high school, if Reitsma is healthy, he’s got a pretty high ceiling. The last thing he needs right now is infrequent appearances out of a big league bullpen. Despite the Devil Rays’ pitching woes, I have a hard time imagining Reitsma making the club.