As expected, the Baltimore Orioles were active in the annual Rule 5 Draft yesterday on the final day of the annual Winter Meetings. With the second pick in the draft, the O’s selected RHP Brandon Bailey, formerly of the Houston Astros’ organization. Bailey was drafted in 2016 out of Gonzaga University, by the Oakland Athletics.
Pitching mainly out of the bullpen, Bailey has a .500 record in the minor leagues. He also has an ERA of 3.07. It’ll be interesting to see how that translates at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is considered a hitter’s paradise.
To show that they weren’t kidding about pitching, they used their second selection to pick Michael Rucker, formerly of the Chicago Cubs’ organization. In the minors with Chicago, Rucker is 17-14 with a 3.26 ERA. Both Rucker and Bailey are young arms who will be tasked with competing.
Keep in mind that in order to keep a Rule 5 player, he needs to be on the active major league roster in essence for an entire season’s worth of time. That’s why it’s difficult to keep Rule 5 players, as they can sometimes be raw. We’ve seen this nearly every year since 2012, although the Orioles have also gotten some really good Rule 5ers.
I would suspect that even in their rebuilding state, keeping two Rule 5 players on the roster will be next-to-impossible. So it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Orioles let both of these guys compete in Spring Training, and hand onto the best one they can keep. Time will tell.