The Los Angeles Angels added a few players to their organization during the Rule 5 Draft that took place Wednesday at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Calif. They came away with four picks and wound up losing one, all during the Minor League portion.
The main purpose of the Rule 5 Draft is for players blocked by their current teams in terms of playing time opportunities, to be given a chance with a different club. All 30 teams were drafted in reverse order of the 2022 standings, but not every team is required to make a pick when their number is called.
With how thin the Angels are in their Minor League system, they selected catcher Ronaldo Flores and right-hander, Willian Suarez from the Richmond Flying Squirrels of the San Francisco Giants, center fielder Jared Olivia from the Altoona Curve of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Riley Unroe from the Arkansas Travelers of the Seattle Mariners.
In 80 at-bats in 2022, Flores batted .263, tallying a .769 on-base plus slugging in his 20-year-old season. He spent the majority of his season in the Cal League with the Giants, alongside Suarez, who posted a 4.02 ERA, split between rookie ball and Single-A San Jose.
Olivia is a 27-year-old Santa Clarita, Calif. native, who spent some time in Major League Baseball in 2020 and 2021 but spent 99 games in Triple-A and carried a .753 OPS. Unroe is an older prospect, in Double-A with the Seattle Mariners, he slashed .264/.367/.399 in 102 games.
The Angels lost Zach Linginfelter from Rocket City Trash Pandas to Leigh Valley IronPigs of the Philadelphia Phillies.
During the Major League portion of the draft, the Angels didn’t select anyone nor did they lose anyone to opposing teams.
Angels sign Chris Devenski & Jonathan Holder to Minor League deals
The Angels made another series of moves in a buy-low attempt to turn around the careers of a few veteran bullpen arms in hopes they can be serviceable pieces to the roster in 2023 with Chris Devenski and Jonathan Holder.
Devenski, 32, has struggled for the better part of his career outside of 2016 and 2017 with the Houston Astros. He posted earned run averages of 2.16 and 2.68 to kick off his career but hasn’t quite found the same form that made him an All-Star and helped the Houston Astros capture a World Series title.
The Angels are correct to continue taking fliers on veteran arms on Minor League deals, simply because there is no downside. If they work, great. If not, cut bait and move on to the next project. But the belief that the Angels can fix him if the Astros couldn’t figure him out for three seasons after 2017 is a bit much. Still, he should be an interesting addition if something can be done.
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