Major League Baseball wrapped up the winter meetings yesterday with the Rule 5 draft. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the Orioles selected catcher Lou Palmisano from the Milwaukee Brewers in the major league phase and traded him to the Houston Astros for cash considerations.
The Orioles lost relief pitcher Rocky Cherry to the New York Mets. It should be noted that the Mets made two Rule 5 selections during the major league part – they also chose right-handed pitcher Darren O’Day from the Los Angeles Angels – so Cherry might not be gone from the Orioles forever. The Mets need to keep him on the major league roster for the entire season or offer him back to the Orioles for $25,000.
In the Triple-A phase, the Orioles made two picks – shortstop Robert Valido from the Double-A Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox) and right-handed pitcher Josh Perrault from the Double-A Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals).
The Orioles were the only club to select a player in the Double-A segment of the draft. They picked right-handed pitcher Andrew Barb from the Seattle Mariners’ minor league system.
For the complete list of picks in the Rule 5 draft, check out the MLB.com Web site.
Valido hit .222 with three home runs and 27 RBIs in 112 games for Birmingham in 2008. He was also 1-for-24 (.042) in seven games with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. The 23-year-old shortstop batted .212 with three home runs and 33 RBIs in 127 games split between the Single-A Winston-Salem Warthogs and Birmingham in 2007. He’ll be assigned to the Triple-A Norfolk Tides to start the 2009 season.
In six seasons in the minor leagues, Valido has a .246 career batting average and he’s never had more than eight home runs and 59 RBIs in a single year. It’s obvious that he’s not a power hitter, but one of Valido’s positive traits is his speed. The 23-year-old shortstop had 18 stolen bases last season. He established a career high with 52 stolen bases in 119 games for Winston-Salem in 2005. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound shortstop has averaged 25 stolen bases per season in the minors.
Perrault was 4-2 with a 4.48 ERA in 46 appearances for Harrisburg in 2008. He had 59 strikeouts and walked 17 hitters in 66 1/3 innings. In three games with the Columbus Clippers, Perrault had a 2.08 ERA and five strikeouts. While splitting time between the Single-A Potomac Nationals and Harrisburg during the 2007 season, the 26-year-old relief pitcher was 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 50 games. Perrault will join Valido with the Tides in 2009.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound pitcher is 21-12 with 15 saves during six seasons in the minor leagues. Perrault has appeared in 230 games, but he’s only made 17 starts – none since 2005. He has a 3.38 career ERA in 389 1/3 innings.
Barb didn’t pitch last season in the Mariners’ organization. The 24-year-old relief pitcher was 3-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 32 games for the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2007. He had 10 saves and 55 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings for Wisconsin. Barb notched 18 saves in 38 games for the Single-A Lakewood BlueClaws, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, in 2006. He had a 2.21 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 61 innings.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound pitcher is scheduled to play for the Double-A Bowie Baysox in 2009. While he could be considered old for that level of professional baseball, Barb seems to get a lot of strikeouts. In four seasons in the minors, he has 260 strikeouts in 212 2/3 innings. If nothing else, Barb will add depth to the bullpen for the Baysox as long as he’s able to make a successful return after a year away from baseball.
I’d like to make one final note about the Rule 5 draft. During the Triple-A phase, the Brewers selected shortstop Shane Justis from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ minor league system. The 25-year-old infielder went to high school at Bel Air, and he played college baseball for Mike Gottlieb at Towson University. The Dodgers chose Justis in the 21st round of the 2005 MLB draft. He has a .281 batting average in four minor league seasons. It’s always nice to see local players doing well in professional baseball. It’ll be interesting to see if Justis can succeed in a new organization.