The Los Angeles Dodgers added three new players to their organization during the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft by selecting Kekai Rios, Carson Fulmer and Jon Duplantier during the various rounds.
Although there is currently an MLB lockout, Minor Leaguers are not part of the Players Association, so they have been unaffected by the transaction freeze.
In the first round, the Dodgers selected Rios from the Milwaukee Brewers. Rios, 24, is a catcher who was taken in the 28th round of the 2018 Draft by the Brewers.
This past season in High-A, he hit .270/.357/.410 with a 112 wRC+ and earned a promotion to Double-A, though only played in six games.
The selection of Rios is likely just to fill the organization with much-needed catcher depth.
In the second round, the Dodgers made a notable selection in Fulmer from the Cincinnati Reds.
Fulmer, 27, pitched for Vanderbilt University with Walker Buehler and he was selected eighth overall in the 2015 Draft. That was a mere 16 spots before Buehler was taken by the Dodgers.
Although he has struggled to find any footing at the Major League level, Fulmer was previously one of the highest-ranked prospects in baseball and still has elite fastball and curveball spin rates.
This past season he appeared in 20 games for the Reds and posted a 6.66 ERA and 4.69 FIP across 25.2 innings. In his career, the right-hander owns a 6.41 ERA and 5.93 FIP across 130.2 innings.
While Fulmer has posted uninspiring numbers throughout his career, there aren’t many organizations who are better suited to help him breakout and getting a player with that pedigree for free is a good risk to take.
In the third round, the Dodgers selected another former top pitching prospect in Duplantier, from the San Francisco Giants.
Duplainter, 27, was taken by the Diamondbacks in the third round of the 2016 Draft. By 2018, he was the Diamondbacks’ No. 1 prospect and the 80th-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.
He pitched in 13 innings for the Diamondbacks this past season with a 13.15 ERA and 8.63 FIP, and owns a career 6.70 ERA and 5.18 FIP in 49.2 innings.
Just like with Fulmer, it’s hard to argue against a team as smart as the Dodgers taking a chance on pitchers who were once highly ranked to see if they can help revive their careers.
The likely scenario is all the Rule 5 selections are just organizational depth to fill out the farm system, but at least they also provide some intrigue.
Dodgers lose two prospects in Rule 5 draft
The Dodgers lost two prospects during the Rule 5 Draft as well in Nelfri Contreras to the Cardinals in the fourth round, and Carlos Santiago to the Marlins in the fifth round.
Contreras, 22, is a left-handed pitcher who posted a 3.80 ERA and 5.88 FIP across 47.1 innings for Low-A Ranch Cucamonga this past season.
Santiago, 20, is a shortstop who hit .168/.237/.305 in 44 games in the Arizona Complex League.
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