Since 2006, the only thing that has stopped the Orioles from making a selection in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft is that it doesn’t happen.
With the event returning entirely to winter meetings after the 2021 major league game was canceled due to the MLB lockout, the Orioles continued their streak, selecting right-handed reliever Andrew Politi from the Red Sox from Boston with 17th place and ninth in the draft. take. Baltimore didn’t make a second selection and none of the other 29 teams drafted an Orioles prospect to their 40-man rosters.
Politi, 26, recorded a 2.34 ERA in 50 appearances for Boston’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2022, striking out 83 in 69 1/3 innings while allowing less than one runner from basis per sleeve. He will have the chance to compete for a job in the Orioles’ major league bullpen.
“We’re thrilled to have him,” Orioles director of professional scouting Mike Snyder said. “He was our guy.”
The Rule 5 draft allows teams to select eligible players that other organizations have left on their 40-man rosters, with the drafting team having to keep their picks on their major league roster for a year or offer them to their home clubs. Teams are not required to make picks and lose the ability to make further picks once successful. Of the six players Baltimore acquired via the Rule 5 draft under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias, only right-hander Tyler Wells, the team’s second pick in 2020, remains with the Orioles.
Snyder said the Orioles have Politi on a roster of no more than seven players, navigating the possibility that any or all of those players were taken ahead of their selection after having one of the first five picks in of the previous three Rule 5 drafts. Snyder joked “don’t tempt me” when asked if Baltimore was considering making a second selection, saying the Orioles were thrilled to finish the draft with Politi and an opener remaining on their roster of 40 players.
“We love the pitch mix,” Snyder said. “We like top-level performance. He went through Double-A and then topped Triple-A, so we have a big arm ready for the league. We have, we think, a power slider, a fastball with hair on it – it’s hard for hitters to line up – and a curveball that can also be very difficult. He has deception. He improved his ability to throw punches. He’s gone through some positive changes over the years, and we’re optimistic that at camp we’ll give him a chance to get out of camp with the team.
The Red Sox also lost Navy product Noah Song in the draft, with the Philadelphia Phillies taking the right-hander with the 20th pick. The Phillies have announced that 25-year-old Song will not count on their 40-man roster but will receive major league service time while on the military roster as he continues active duty in the Navy. .
In the Triple-A phase of the draft, Baltimore took three players and lost three. The Orioles selected New York Yankees right-hander Alfred Vega, Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Trey McGough and Texas Rangers wide receiver Randy Florentino. Right-hander Héctor Pérez, infielder Jonathan Araúz and receiver Cody Roberts were drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets and Phillies respectively.
Vega, 21, struck out 22 of 61 batters he faced with a 1.15 ERA for the Florida Complex League team Yankees. A Mount St. Mary’s product, McGough, 24, posted a 3.06 ERA in eight Triple-A appearances last year and has a 3.31 rating in his minor league career, although he’s coming out of Tommy John’s elbow reconstruction surgery. Florentino, 22, cut .242/.332/.353 for Texas’ High-A affiliate.
Pérez, 26, made one major league appearance for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020 and spent 2022 with three Orioles affiliates. Araúz, 24, played nine games for the Orioles after claiming him in Boston, with a broken right finger ending his tenure. Roberts is a noted defensive receiver and joined the Orioles taxi team for a handful of road playoffs; the 26-year-old hit .271 with a .776 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A.