Commentary

Rule 5 picks provide little fantasy value

Updated: December 10, 2009, 4:38 PM ET
By Jason Grey | ESPN.com

While last year's Rule 5 draft was filled with players who failed to make an impact at the big league level, at least it had the San Diego Padres' selection of shortstop Everth Cabrera, who wound up stealing 25 bases for his fantasy owners.

John Raynor
Ronald C. Modra/Getty ImagesJohn Raynor's speed could make him a useful fantasy asset, especially in NL-only leagues, in 2010.

Cabrera, and to a lesser extent, Texas Rangers reliever Darren O'Day, were the only players who wound up having any fantasy impact out of the 21 players drafted at this time last year.

At first glance, it appears this year's Rule 5 draft is going to be more of the same, with just a player or two who might be of interest in fantasy play, as quite a few teams selected players that they hope might be just extra bullpen pieces.

The names most worth mentioning are the top two selections, both outfielders.

The second pick in the Rule 5 draft was the Pittsburgh Pirates' taking outfielder John Raynor from the Florida Marlins. Raynor had a down year in his first exposure to Triple-A last season, hitting just .257 with six homers and 19 steals in 123 games, but I liked him as a fourth-outfielder candidate when I saw him in the Arizona Fall League in 2008, following a year in which he hit .312 and stole 48 bags at Double-A. Despite his poor 2009 campaign, he can hit enough to have a chance to stick as a backup outfielder in Pittsburgh, and his 70 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale could make him a deep sleeper in NL-only play if it looks like he'll get enough at-bats to use it.