The 2018 Rule 5 draft is over, meaning so are the Winter Meetings.
Well, it was a pretty uneventful 2018 Major League Baseball Winter Meeting trip for the San Diego Padres, at least on the transaction front. We don’t know what happened behind the scenes, but as of Thursday afternoon, the Padres will leave Las Vegas with just one new player, a pitcher who hasn’t pitched beyond the Dominican Summer League.
To conclude the Winter Meetings, all 30 franchises completed the annual Rule-5 draft, with 14 players selected in the major league phase of the draft. The Baltimore Orioles kicked things off by selecting Oakland Athletics Top 15 prospect, shortstop Richie Martin, a slick-fielding infielder who should get his fair share of playing time with the rebuilding Orioles. With a full 40-man roster, San Diego did not make a pick in the major league phase.
Before the draft, we highlighted a few current Padres minor leaguers who were at risk of being taken by other franchises, luckily, no San Diego players were selected by another team in either the major or minor league phases. This means players like Michael Gettys and Travis Radke remain with the organization, for at least another season.
**Update: Since the publishing of this article, the Padres have traded Cristofer Melendez to the Pittsburgh Pirates ***
San Diego Padres make a selection in minor league phase.
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The draft didn’t go by with complete silence from San Diego. The Padres used their first pick in the Triple-A phase by selecting Cristofer Melendez, a right-handed pitcher from the Chicago White Sox organization.
There isn’t a lot of information out there about Melendez, a 21-year-old who has yet to pitch in the United States. Originally signed by the Houston Astros, Melendez was released in 2017. In his third season in the Dominican Summer League as an Astro, Melendez posted a 7.68 ERA, striking out 32 and walking 27 in 36 innings.
He was picked up by the White Sox and turned things around, statistically. In 15 games (11 starts), Melendez went 4-4 with a 1.54 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. In 70 innings, he gave up just 39 hits and 28 walks while striking out 93.
What does that mean? It means he was 21 years old still pitching in the DSL and the statistics mean nothing.
Houston Astros Director of International Baseball Operations, Oz Campo, had this to say about Melendez when the Astros originally signed him.
"Cristofer Melendez is a tall, projectable Dominican right-handed pitcher with clean arm action and solid mechanics. He throws a fastball that jumps out of his hand, and has solid feel for a curveball."
You can put a bow on the 2018 winter meetings. Will this lead to a few big moves over the next few weeks? Andy Green did say that the roster will be constructed within the next weeks. All we can do is wait and see at this point.