Lisa Winston had a nice little post on MiLB.com today about a few names left unprotected that participated in the AFL this year. Any interest in these guys? (Source)
Matt McBride, Cleveland Indians, C/1B/OF: Right now it’s tough to pin a defensive position on McBride, the Indians’ supplemental second-round pick in 2006 out of Lehigh. A catcher by trade, he underwent shoulder surgery after the 2007 season and after missing much of 2008 had not caught again until this fall, seeing his defensive time at first base and in the outfield. But he caught 11 of his 22 games for the Peoria Saguaros, shaking off the defensive rust, including eight of his last nine games. What isn’t a question is his bat. He hit .378 with four homers and 18 RBIs in those 22 games, and his 19 walks versus nine strikeouts gave him a .511 on-base average and .649 slugging percentage. During the regular season between Class A Advanced Kinston and Double-A Akron, he hit .287 with 18 homers, 99 RBIs and 44 doubles, sixth in the Minors and collected a team-record eight RBIs on July 31 for the Eastern League champion Aeros. Of the six 40-man eligible players the Indians sent to the AFL, only two made the cut — shortstop Carlos Rivero and power-hitting Canadian outfielder Nick Weglarz. McBride could be an interesting option.
Colin Curtis, New York Yankees, OF: One of three 40-man eligible Yankee prospects in Arizona, none of whom ended up making the 40-man roster, the fourth-rounder out of ASU in 2006 has been generating buzz and with good reason. A survivor of testicular cancer who has made a comeback with two solid seasons, hitting .250 with seven homers and 48 RBIs between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton in 2009, he went on to tear it up in Arizona, hitting .397 with five homers, seven doubles and 18 RBIs in 20 games. That’s a .731 slugging percentage for those playing along at home. He can play all three outfield spots.
Zach Kroenke, New York Yankees, LHP: Curtis was not the only Yankee farmhand in Arizona generating buzz. The southpaw could become another Shane Victorino, going in the Major League Rule 5 Draft twice. Taken last year by the Marlins, he didn’t stick and headed back to the Yankee system where he sparkled in relief at Scranton, going 7-1 with a 1.99 ERA and limiting International League hitters to a .213 average. Though his fall league numbers won’t jump out you, with a 5.28 ERA in 11 games, he fanned 14 and walked just four in 15 1/3 innings and his name is getting Rule 5 play once again.
Nevin Ashley, Tampa Bay Rays, C: Teams looking for catching depth in the Draft may be taking another look at Ashley, who hit .366 with two homers, 14 RBIs and a pair of steals in 18 games. Ashley, a sixth-round pick in 2006 out of Indiana State, had previously been known for his stellar defense, hitting just .230 between Class A Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery in 97 games in 2009. The Florida State League All-Star was named the Rays’ Minor League Best Defensive Player this past season, throwing out 47.5 percent of opposing baserunners and posting a .993 fielding percentage.
Josh Perrault, Baltimore Orioles, RHP: Perrault is becoming a Rule 5 pro, but has yet to make it to the Major League phase of the draft. He’s already changed organizations twice via the Minor League version, being drafted away from Arizona by Washington in 2005 and from Baltimore last year. This past season, he moved into a closer role for the first time and combined between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk for a 2.13 ERA in 59 games, collecting 18 saves and striking out 74 while walking 18 in 72 innings, limiting hitters to a .209 average. In Arizona, he posted a 3.38 ERA in 11 games in relief.
The Rule 5 Draft will take place at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday. During the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, eligible players left unprotected from their clubs’ 40-man rosters may be selected for $50,000. A player selected must remain on his drafting team’s active Major League roster during the following season or be sent back to the original club for $25,000. MLB.com will carry the audio portion of the event live from Indianapolis with Jonathan Mayo and Mike Siano as co-hosts.