It was a rather active Rule 5 Draft to close out Baseball’s Winter Meetings on Thursday morning. The Cubs lost a lefty reliever in Andrew McKirahan to the Marlins and two players in the Triple-A phase of the draft while selecting one.
The Cubs selected INF Taylor Featherston from the Rockies in the Major League phase of the draft and traded him to the Angels for cash in a pre-arranged deal. The 25-year old infielder hit .260/.322/.439 at Double-A Tulsa last year. Featherston will have a chance to earn an everyday job with the Angels according to reports. If he does not stick on the Angels’ roster, he will be offered back to the Rockies.
The Marlins selected LHP Andrew McKirahan from the Cubs with the ninth pick in the Rule 5 Draft. McKirahan has a good chance to stay on the Marlins’ roster for the entire season.
McKirahan has very good stuff (92-96 mph fastball) and showed improvement last season as the year progressed. McKirahan made it to Double-A Tennessee and was 0-3 in 21 relief appearances with a 3.35 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP. In 65 innings between High-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee last year, McKirahan issued 14 walks and struck out 57 batters.
The Cubs passed on its second pick in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft and no other player from the system was taken in the Major League phase.
The Cubs selected OF Ariel Ovando from the Astros in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. And he’s a very interesting player that just hasn’t hit and the team plans to convert him to a pitcher.
Ovando is only 21 years old (Sept. 15, 1993) and the lefty throwing and hitting right fielder obviously has a big arm. Baseball America ranked Ovando as the Astros’ 14th best prospect prior to the 2012 season. Ovando is 6-foot-4, 226 pounds and was signed as an International free agent for $2.6 million in 2010. Ovando batted .237/.287/.289 in 58 games in A-ball last season.
With little to no risk associated with this pick, it is well worth the time to see if the Cubs can convert him to a pitcher.
OF/1B Rock Shoulders and C Luis Flores were selected in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. The Rangers grabbed Shoulders from the Cubs. Shoulders batted only .223/.341/.397 in 91 games for High-A Daytona last year. The Cubs selected Shoulders in the 25th round of the 2011 draft.
The Astros selected Luis Flores in the Triple-A phase. Flores began last year with Triple-A Iowa and was sent to Double-A Tennessee when Rafael Lopez was promoted to Iowa. The 28-year old backstop hit .253/.388/.371 in 67 games between Iowa and Tennessee last season.
The Cubs did not take or lose any other players in the Triple-A and Double-A phases of the Rule 5 Draft.