The New York Yankees are set to enter the 2021 season with another exciting crop of talented prospects, dominated by a deep crop of right-handed pitchers.
Several of those prospects might see their big-league dreams come true for the first time next season, but before that opportunity arrives, the team will have to make some key decisions by the Nov. 20 deadline about which players to protect ahead of the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.
The annual Rule 5 Draft, set to take place Dec. 10 this year, is an opportunity for clubs across the Majors to fill out their 40-man rosters by selecting prospects on other organizations that are not part of their respective team’s 40-man roster.
As the official MLB Glossary states, “Players signed at age 18 or younger need to be added to their club's 40-Man roster within five seasons or they become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Players who signed at age 19 or older need to be protected within four seasons.”
To be "protected" simply means a player is added to their club’s 40-man roster, which removes them from the eligible pool of players available for the Rule 5 Draft.
Additionally, “Rule 5 Draft picks are assigned directly to the drafting club's 26-man roster and must be placed on outright waivers in order to be removed from the 26-man roster in the subsequent season. Should the player clear waivers, he must be offered back to his previous team for $50,000 and can be outrighted to the Minors only if his original club does not wish to reacquire him” (More on the Rule 5 Draft here).
For the Yankees, five of their top 30 prospects per MLB.com’s rankings are currently not members of the 40-man roster and would be eligible to be selected by another team if the Rule 5 Draft were to take place today.
Those five prospects include SS Oswald Peraza (No. 4), RHP Alexander Vizcaino (No. 8), RHP Yoendrys Gomez (No. 9), RHP Roansy Contreras (No. 19) and RHP Trevor Stephan (No. 24).
Of course, the Yankees can choose to make roster moves to accommodate the addition of any or all five of these prospects, or any others not potentially listed among MLB.com’s top 30, but they’ll have to make those decisions before Nov. 20 to protect them.
Be sure to tune into an all-new Yankees Hot Stove on Monday at 7 p.m. on YES Network as the analysis team breaks down all the needs and potential scenarios for the Bombers this offseason.