Rule 5 draft

The Rule 5 draft is a Major League Baseball player draft that occurs each year in December, at the annual Winter Meeting of general managers. The Rule 5 draft aims to prevent teams from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other teams would be willing to have them play in the majors.[1] The Rule 5 draft is named for its place in Major League Rules. (It is sometimes erroneously referenced with a Roman numeral.) The June Rule 4 draft, known as simply "the draft", "amateur draft", or "first year player draft", is a distinctly different process in which teams select high school and college players.


Prior to its current incarnation, from 1959 until the creation of the Rule 4 draft in 1965, top first-year prospects of teams were exposed to the Rule 5 draft. This was in some ways an outgrowth of the Bonus Rule that existed from 1946 to 1950 and from 1953 to 1957.[2]


As in the amateur draft, the selection order of the teams is based on each team's win-loss record from the prior regular season, each round starting with the team with the worst record and proceeding in order to the team with the best record. Teams may choose not to select any player with their pick, passing to the next team in the order. Any player selected under Rule 5 is immediately added to his new team's 40-man roster; thus, teams who do not have an available roster spot may not participate in the Rule 5 draft. Players who are not currently on their team's 40-man roster are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft, but only after a standard exemption period has elapsed. See Selection eligibility below.

If chosen in the Rule 5 draft, a player must be kept on the selecting team's 25-man major league roster for the entire season that follows the draft—he may not be optioned or designated to the minors. The selecting team may, at any time, waive the Rule 5 draftee. If a Rule 5 draftee clears waivers by not signing with a new MLB team, he must be offered back to the original team, effectively canceling the Rule 5 draft choice. Once a Rule 5 draftee spends an entire season on his new team's 25-man roster, his status reverts to normal and he may be optioned or designated for assignment.

To prevent the abuse of the Rule 5 draft, the rule also states that the draftee must be active for at least 90 days. This keeps teams from drafting players, then placing them on the injured list for the majority of the season. For example, if a Rule 5 draftee was only active for 67 days in his first season with his new club, he must be active for an additional 23 days in his second season to satisfy the Rule 5 requirements.

Any player chosen in the Rule 5 draft may be traded to any team while under the Rule 5 restrictions, but the restrictions transfer to the new team. If the new team does not want to keep the player on its 25-man roster for the season, he must be offered back to the team of which he was a member when chosen in the draft.

Selection eligibility

Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft if they are not on their major league organization's 40-man roster and:

  • were 18 or younger on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fifth Rule 5 draft upcoming; or
  • were 19 or older on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fourth Rule 5 draft upcoming.

These exemption periods (one year longer than those in effect previously) went into effect as part of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in October 2006. The change took effect immediately, exempting many players from the 2006 Rule 5 draft even though they had been signed in some cases more than four years before the new agreement came into effect. Prior to the rule change, players were exempt from the first two or three Rule 5 drafts held after their signing (regardless of the year they were drafted), rather than from the first three or four Rule 5 drafts after their signing.

Cost and example

To prevent excessive turnover in the minor league levels, each draftee costs $100,000. If the draftee does not stay on the selecting team's 25-man (major league) roster all season, the player must be offered back to his original team at half-price ($50,000). Prior to the 2017-2021 CBA, each draftee cost $50,000 and therefore $25,000 to be reacquired by his original team[3]. Organizations may also draft players from AA or lower to play for their AAA affiliates (for $12,000) and may draft players from A teams or lower to play for their AA affiliates (for $4,000).[4][5]

The Rule 5 draft has opened opportunities for teams to take other teams' top prospects who may not be ready for the major leagues. A prominent example is Johan Santana, who was chosen in the 1999 Rule 5 draft by the Florida Marlins when the Houston Astros declined to put him on their 40-man roster, and then traded to the Minnesota Twins in a pre-arranged deal.[6] The Twins kept Santana on their roster for the 2000 season, despite the pitcher's subpar performance that season (6.49 ERA). After the 2000 season, the Twins had the right to option Santana to their minor league system, but chose not to during the 2001 season. He was briefly optioned to Class AAA at the start of the 2002 season, then returned to the major leagues at the end of May and established himself as an above-average pitcher; he went on to win Cy Young Awards in 2004 and 2006. Santana had not played above Class A in minor league baseball before being chosen in the Rule 5 draft.[7]

Notable Rule 5 draftees

Hall of Famers


Other notable selections

Buck Martinez

Drafted, but returned or traded before start of season

Drafted, then traded to the drafting team, nullifying the draft


  1. ^ MLB Draft Rules –
  2. ^ Baseball America history of the draft
  3. ^
  4. ^ MLB Draft Rules –
  5. ^ MLB Rule 5 Draft FAQ –
  6. ^ Costello, Brian (February 3, 2008). "Many Twists & Turns In Johan's Journey". New York Post. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
  7. ^ "Johan Santa Minor League Statistics & History".
  8. ^ Schwarz, Alan (2002). "At last, a quick explanation of the Rule 5 draft". Baseball America. Retrieved 18 January 2015.


  • Schwarz, Alan (2002). "Ask BA". Baseball America. Retrieved 2006-04-19.
2003 Seattle Mariners season

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One notable fact about the 2003 Mariners is that they used only five starting pitchers the entire season. The five starting pitchers were Ryan Franklin, Freddy Garcia, Gil Meche, Jamie Moyer and Joel Piñeiro.

Callix Crabbe

Callix Sadeaq Crabbe (born February 14, 1983) is a Virgin Islands American former professional baseball second baseman and current assistant hitting coach for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was selected in the 2007 Rule 5 Draft by the San Diego Padres from the Milwaukee Brewers, appearing in 21 games before he was returned on May 16, 2008, to the Brewers.

Daniel Stumpf

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Delino DeShields Jr.

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He is the son of former MLB player Delino DeShields.

Derek Thompson (baseball)

Derek Rain Thompson (born January 8, 1981) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher.

He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1st round of the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft and pitched in the Indians minor league system for the Burlington Indians (2000), Columbus Indians (2001–2002) and Kinston Indians (2002). He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 draft on December 16, 2002, and then sold to the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the Dodgers he played for the Jacksonville Suns in 2004 & 2005, appearing in the Southern League All-Star Game in 2004.

Thompson pitched briefly for Triple-A Las Vegas in 2005 before he was called up to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He started 3 games for the Dodgers in 2005. He was released by the Dodgers after the season, and signed a minor league contract with the Oakland Athletics.

Iván Nova

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Nova grew up poor in the Dominican Republic, where he started playing baseball at a young age. An unheralded prospect, the Yankees signed Nova as an international free agent in 2004. After pitching in minor league baseball through the 2008 season, the San Diego Padres selected Nova from the Yankees in the Rule 5 draft. The Padres opted not to carry Nova on their 25-man roster, however, and returned him to the Yankees.

Nova enjoyed a breakout season in the minors for the Yankees in 2009. He made his MLB debut with the Yankees in 2010, and established himself as a key member of the Yankees' starting rotation during the 2011 season. After struggling in 2012, Nova reemerged in 2013, winning the American League Pitcher of the Month Award for August 2013. The Yankees traded Nova to the Pirates in 2016, and he won the National League Pitcher of the Month Award for April 2017. After the 2018 season, the Pirates traded Nova to the White Sox.

Joakim Soria

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Soria began his professional career in the Mexican League, before briefly playing in minor league baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres organizations. The Royals selected Soria from the Padres in the Rule 5 draft after the 2006 season, and he debuted with the Royals in 2007. Soria is a two-time MLB All-Star.

Josh Hamilton

Joshua Holt Hamilton (born May 21, 1981) is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played for the Cincinnati Reds (2007), Texas Rangers (2008-2012, 2015), and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2013–2014). Hamilton is a five-time MLB All-Star and won the American League Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 2010.

Josh Hamilton was the first overall pick in the 1999 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He was considered a blue chip prospect until injuries and a drug addiction derailed his career beginning in 2001. Prior to the 2007 season, Hamilton was selected by the Chicago Cubs (picking for the Reds) in the Rule 5 draft. During the off-season he was traded to the Rangers.

During the 2008 season, Hamilton was named to the AL All-Star team. He also participated in the Home Run Derby, where he hit a record 28 home runs in the opening round and finished with 35 home runs, which was second-most all-time in derby history. He made the All-Star team the next four seasons as well. In 2012, Hamilton received more votes than any other player on the All-Star Game ballot, besting by approximately 3.5 million votes the vote count set in 2011 by José Bautista. Hamilton won the AL batting title in 2010. On October 22, 2010, Hamilton was selected as MVP of the 2010 ALCS. On November 23, 2010, Hamilton was named the 2010 AL MVP, earning 22 of 28 first-place votes. On May 8, 2012, Hamilton became the 16th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in a game. All four home runs were two-run home runs, and he set an AL record for total bases in a game with 18.

Major League Baseball transactions

Major League Baseball transactions are changes made to the roster of a major league team during or after the season. They may include waiving, releasing, and trading players, as well as assigning players to minor league teams.

Matt Roney

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In 2002 he was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates and then purchased from the Pirates by the Detroit Tigers. In 2003 he made his major league debut with the Tigers, appearing in 45 games and starting 11 of those. He would compile an overall record of 1-9 with a 5.45 ERA before being released on July 3, 2005. He played for the Oakland Athletics in 2006 but spent much of that time in the minors with the Sacramento River Cats, appearing in only three MLB games.

He signed a major league contract for the 2007 season with the Toronto Blue Jays on November 13, 2006.On April 30, 2007, Roney was suspended for 50 games for violation of baseball's minor league drug program. Roney tested positive for a "drug of abuse", which is separate from performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids or human growth hormone. After serving his suspension, Roney spent the rest of the 2007 season in the Blue Jays' farm system.

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Patrick Schuster

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Before beginning his professional career, Schuster attended J. W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Florida, and starred for their baseball team. Selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2009 MLB Draft, the San Diego Padres acquired him in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. He was returned to the Diamondbacks before the season began.

Richie Martin

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Rube Oldring

Reuben Henry "Rube" Oldring (May 30, 1884 – September 9, 1961), was a professional baseball player who played outfield in the major leagues from 1905 to 1918. He played for the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Yankees.

Oldring started his professional baseball career in the Southern Association, in 1905. That October, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Athletics in the Rule 5 draft.

From 1907 to 1915, Oldring was a regular outfielder on the A's. He played in three World Series with them.

Oldring played in the minor leagues for several years after his major league career was over. In 1923, he hit .342 for Wilson of the Virginia League and also managed the team to the pennant.

A farmer after he ended his career in baseball, Oldring died of a heart attack at his home in Bridgeton, New Jersey at the age of 77.

Rule 5 draft results

This article contains a list of Rule 5 draft results. Players chosen in the Major League Baseball (MLB) phase of the Rule 5 draft have to remain on their new team's 25-man roster for the entire following MLB season, or they are placed on waivers and offered back to their original team if not claimed. Players chosen in the Minor League Baseball phases of the Rule 5 draft remain with their new organization without restrictions.

Ryan Pressly

Thomas Ryan Pressly (born December 15, 1988) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). Originally selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 MLB Draft, the Minnesota Twins selected Pressly from the Red Sox in the 2012 Rule 5 draft. Pressly made his MLB debut with the Twins on April 4, 2013. The Twins traded him to Houston in 2018.

Taylor Lindsey

Taylor Thomas Lindsey (born December 2, 1991) is a professional baseball player who is currently a free agent.

Lindsey was drafted 37th overall by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, out of Desert Mountain High School. Prior to the 2014 season, Baseball America rated Lindsey the 93rd best prospect in baseball.On July 19, 2014, Lindsey was traded to the San Diego Padres with José Rondón, R. J. Alvarez, and Elliot Morris in exchange for Huston Street and Trevor Gott. On November 20, 2014, the Padres added Lindsey to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Lindsey was designated for assignment on August 11, 2015.

On April 20, 2017, Lindsey signed with the Laredo Lemurs of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. He became a free agent on May 9, 2017, when the Lemurs folded.

Víctor Reyes

Víctor José Reyes (born October 5, 1994) is a Venezuelan professional baseball outfielder for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2018.

Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings are an annual event, held each December, in which representatives of all 30 Major League Baseball teams and their 160 minor league baseball affiliates convene for four days to discuss league business and conduct off-season trades and transactions. Attendees include league executives, team owners, general managers, team scouts, visitors from baseball-playing countries, trade show exhibitors, and people seeking employment with minor league organizations. The Rule 5 draft, in which minor league players who are not on a team's 40-man roster can be drafted by a major league team, is held on the last day of the meetings.The 2017 Winter Meetings were held from December 9 to 13 at the Swan and Dolphin resort in Orlando, Florida. Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas will host in 2018.

First-year player drafts
Rule 5 drafts
Expansion drafts


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