Rule 5 draft results: Fields, Rondon, Rosenbaum, Pressly, McGuinness are top picks

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I wrote a little something about the Astros selecting right-hander Josh Fields from the Red Sox with the first pick in the Rule 5 draft and here are all the picks:

1. Astros – Josh Fields, RHP (Red Sox)
2. Cubs – Hector Rondon, RHP (Indians)
3. Rockies – Daniel Rosenbaum, LHP (Nationals)
4. Twins – Ryan Pressley, RHP (Red Sox)
5. Indians – Chris McGuinness, 1B (Rangers)
6. Marlins – Alfredo Silverio, OF (Dodgers)
7. Red Sox – Jeff Kobernus, 2B (Nationals)
10. Mets – Kyle Lobstein, RHP (Rays)
14. Diamondbacks – Starling Peralta, RHP (Cubs)
15. Phillies – Ender Inciarte, OF (Diamondbacks)
17. White Sox – Angel Sanchez, SS (Angels)
23. Orioles – T.J. McFarland, RHP (Indians)
24. Rangers – Coty Woods, RHP (Rockies)
31. Astros – Nate Freiman, 1B (Padres)
36. Marlins – Brauilo Lara, LHP (Rays)

So the Astros and Marlins are the only teams to pick two players and 17 of the 30 teams passed on selecting anyone. If you’re looking for in-depth analysis on any of those guys besides Fields the place to go is Baseball America.

Any players selected must remain on the new team’s 25-man roster for the entire season or be offered back to the original team for half of the $50,000 selection fee.

(Thanks to Zachary Levine of Baseball Prospectus for the Rule 5 sign photo.)

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.