There are lots of players from our system that will be eligible for Rule 5, but remember what is actually in play. Should a team claim one of our players, that team must carry that player on the 25-man roster next year or offer the player back to us unless they’re injured. So while we were able to stash a guy like Dan Winkler on the 40-man because he was injured, there isn’t an example of that on our roster where we should be concerned an injury player can be lost. Otherwise, a team has to put them on their roster. All we have to do is put the player on our 40-man roster, a much easier task to stomach.

This is a list of Braves players eligible for Rule 5:

My list is short, unlike others. The only two players I would protect are Patrick Weigel and Ray-Patrick Didder. Weigel made his return from injury in August, so he will certainly play into consideration for a roster spot in the Spring Training. He’s certainly deserving of a 40-man spot at this juncture.

Didder also probably deserves a roster spot due to his tremendous speed and defensive skill and versatility. He was considered our 2018 Arizona Fall League sleeper prospect, and you may enjoy the brief scouting report on him in that link. A team may decide to put him on their roster for those skills akin to how the San Diego Padres decided to carry Manuel Margot on their roster.

You may notice some omissions. I would not protect Travis Demeritte or Alex Jackson for similar reasons. One, they don’t deserve even a 40-man spot at this juncture, and two, for the same logic, I don’t think even a lesser team would put either of those two on their 25-man rosters.

I acknowledge that many teams suffer from depth issues at catcher, and Jackson still has significant tools, but I’m simply unconvinced some team will see it best to let him be a backup catcher on their 25-man when, at minimum, he needs more reps to get better, not to be buried on a bench. And they are certainly not going to give a sizable amount of at-bats to a catcher who cannot throw, cannot block, cannot frame, and hit .200/.282/.329 (.611 OPS) at AAA. He may very well have had a high draft position and some interesting tools, but at the highest level of the minor leagues, he’s not demonstrated he can do even single thing above average. I’m not even sure the poor Orioles or Royals would put him on their roster. Perhaps Jackson has some value as the last player included in a trade to a team that will put them on their 40-man roster.

I think very similarly about the collection of high minors pitchers on that list as well. If a team sees something in one of those guys, maybe a Matt Withrow or Chase Johnson-Mullins, enough to put them on their 25-man roster, then I simply wish them the best.

This should keep our 40-man nice and lean to be able to acquire players who can actually help our roster next year. What do you think?