In preparation for next month's Rule 5 draft, the Orioles set their 40-man roster, adding just one minor leaguer to the list of protected players.
The club added pitcher Oliver Drake (Navy), who was a combined 11-8 with a 3.32 ERA at High-A Frederick, Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk last year. The 6-foot-4, 24-year-old right-hander was a 43rd-round draft pick in 2008.
The 40-man roster is at 39. After today, they cannot put anyone currently in the organization onto the 40-man roster.
That leaves a chunk of upper-level minor leaguers susceptible to the Rule 5 draft, but the club is gambling that those players won't be claimed by other teams or won't be kept on the claiming team's big league roster all next season.
Last year, the New York Mets grabbed reliever Pedro Beato and were able to keep him all year, so he has remained part of the Mets' organization. The Milwaukee Brewers, however, selected pitcher Pat Egan but returned him at the end of spring training.
In 2010, the San Francisco Giants selected pitcher Steve Johnson in the Rule 5 draft but returned him in March.
Johnson (St. Paul's) is one of the more notable players who could be selected in the Rule 5 draft, which occurs during the winter meetings next month.
Others include pitchers Cole McCurry and Wynn Pelzer, catchers John Hester and Caleb Joseph, infielders Greg Miclat and Brandon Waring and 2006 first-round pick Billy Rowell.
Top prospects such as Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop have not accrued enough time in the minors and therefore do not have to be protected on the 40-man roster.