Oakland Athletics Lose Infield Prospect Colin Walsh to Milwaukee Brewers in Rule 5 Draft
On Thursday, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Oakland Athletics infield prospect Colin Walsh in the Rule 5 draft, potentially costing the A’s one of their best 2015 minor league performers.
Last season, Walsh hit .302/.447/.470, including 13 home runs and 49 RBIs in the notoriously pitcher-friendly Texas League. He was a key part of the Double-A Midland Rockhounds, helping the team to make the playoffs as he posted a career-high 20 percent walk rate.
Walsh would likely not have factored into the Athletics’ major league club at any point in the near future. Both Joey Wendle and Chad Pinder were ahead of him on the depth chart, and younger infielders like Yairo Munoz and Franklin Barreto, who are more-talented but less-experienced players, were quickly catching up to him in the system. Walsh joined the organization in 2014 after being released from the St. Louis Cardinals, so it’s not as though he’s a young player. He was a minor league veteran, but he seemed to be poised to reach his potential this season.
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While the loss of Walsh is certainly a blow to the club’s depth, the A’s had to leave several quality players unprotected ahead of the draft, because roster space is too valuable to waste on just anyone. His age and the number of players ahead of him in the system certainly contributed to his availability in the draft.
Whether the Brewers will be able to add Walsh to their 25-man roster and keep him there for the full season remains to be seen. They also took pitching prospect Zach Jones from the Minnesota Twins, a 25-year-old right-hander who posted a 2.19 ERA in 24.3 innings with Single-A Fort Myers, but also posted a 6.00 ERA during 27 innings with the Double-A club. It’s hard to imagine the Brewers having the room to keep both players, given that it would cost a pair of roster spots, and many teams struggled to keep even one Rule 5 player on the roster for a full season. Players like Mark Canha are the exception, not the rule.
In other Rule 5 news, the Athletics selected outfielder Jabari Blash from the Seattle Mariners, but sent him to the San Diego Padres as the player to be named later in the Drew Pomeranz deal. That trade sent Pomeranz, Jose Torres and Blash to the Padres in exchange for first baseman Yonder Alonso and lefty Marc Rzepczynski. Per the rules of the draft, if the Padres choose to return him to the Seattle Mariners, the Athletics will first have the chance to claim him.
The A’s were also busy in the minor league portion of the draft, taking outfielders Danny Oh and Alex Glenn in the Triple-A round, as well as first baseman Viosergy Rosa. In the same portion of the draft, the A’s lost outfielder Chad Oberacker to the Diamondbacks.
Oh, who played with Canha at UC Berkeley, hit .305/.360/.408 with 13 stolen bases in for the Yankees’ organization in 2015. He split time between High-A and Double-A last year, but found success at both levels. Oh seems to have the most potential of the trio, and it’s possible that he could reach the major leagues with the A’s.
Glenn was swiped from the Diamondbacks after batting just .248 last season, but posting a .739 OPS with 11 home runs last year. He also spent time with both the High-A and Double-A clubs. Rosa seems like a bit of an odd selection, having posted just a .217/.349/.339 line with Double-A Jacksonville for the Marlins, but he did hit 10 home runs, so it’s likely that they’re after his power.
Meanwhile, the Athletics lost Oberacker, who had an excellent 2015 season. He hit .294/.360/.425 and swiped 19 bases for Double-A Midland, making him a smart choice for the Diamondbacks.