The Reality of Today's Rule 5 Draft

December 7, 2011

There are dozens of sugar-coated articles out there telling you why you should care about the Rule 5 Draft. Historically, it has been an opportunity to steal away star-level talents. Not any more.

The 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement granted teams an additional year to evaluate talents before they are subject to the Rule 5 Draft. Since then, no star players have been swooped away (the 2002-2006 Rule 5 Drafts each had at least one star). What's more, not a single No. 1 overall Rule 5 Draft pick has provided the team that selected him above-replacement-level MLB value in over a decade.

If there was a sports betting site that allowed you to bet on which Rule 5 picks will surface as average regulars, you'd almost certainly be throwing your money away.

Top 10 Rule 5 Picks (since 2007)

Ranked by career WAR (Fangraphs), regardless of what MLB team it was for, here are the top 10 players who have been selected in the Rule 5 Draft since 2007:

1. R.A. Dickey, 7.4

2. Randy Wells, 6.3

3. Ivan Nova, 3.2

4. Darren O'Day, 2.3

5. Brian Barton, 1.1

6. Evan Meek, 0.8

7. Everth Cabrera, 0.7

8. Bobby Cassevah, 0.5

9. Scott Diamond, 0.4

10. Joe Paterson, 0.3


Results from the 2010 Rule 5 Draft

* The majority of the players selected did not make a MLB roster.

* Of the 19 players drafted, just 3 had positive WAR values.

* More than twice as many picks performed below replacement level than above.

* Scott Diamond (LHP, MIN), who had three good starts and three bad starts, was the most valuable 2010 Rule 5 Draft pick.


Average Rule 5 Pick (since 2007)

The average Rule 5 Draft pick has yielded the following career WAR value:

Median: 0.0 WAR

Mode: 0.0 WAR

Mean: 0.2 WAR


Other Rule 5 Stats (since 2007)

* Nealy half of the players selected in the Rule 5 Draft since 2007 have spent 0 days in the big leagues.

* Over a third of the players selected have yielded below-replacement-level career WAR values.

* The cumulative WAR value of every player selected since 2007 is 14.0, which is less than Matt Stairs' career WAR value.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamWFoster