The Rule 5 draft will be held at the Winter Meetings on December 8, and here are three Rays that may be taken:
RHP Marquis Fleming - The change-up artist struck out 105 in 82.2 innings in 2011, mainly for Montgomery, and boasts a 10.8 career K/9. He's also shown an ability to limit hits, with 193 allowed in 255 career innings, mitigated somewhat by 118 walks. His lack of a plus fastball -- it's straight and in the 88-92 range -- was likely a big factor in his being left off the 40-man roster, but his track record of missing bats, especially considering his strikeouts didn't drop off much with a promotion to double-A, could entice a team to take a chance on him as a 7th reliever. He's sort of a one-trick pony with his change-up, but at some point he'll get a chance to show if that's enough, and it could come as soon as 2012 if he's selected.
OF Kyeong Kang - Like Fleming, Kang had some success with Montgomery in 2011. After a lost season with Charlotte, Kang rebuild his prospect stock some by hitting .263/.384/.437 for the Biscuits. He lacks the range to play center and his hit and power tools might be a little short for a corner spot, but he may be worth a shot for a team that can afford to hide him as a fourth outfielder and hope he can become a decent platooner (he hit .270/.398/.470 against righties last year). Injuries may turn teams off to Kang, as he's yet to play in more than 100 games in a season.
RHP Joseph Cruz - The Rays protected Wilking Rodriguez, who like Cruz is a righty with a live arm who battled injuries in 2011. Cruz was a disaster out of the gate, allowing 44 runs and 75 hits in 47 innings for the Biscuits before being put on the shelf with a shoulder injury. He made it back by the end of the year with the GCL Rays and Charlotte for 27 innings, but still didn't quite resemble the guy who struck out 230 and walked 65 in 240 innings between 2009 and 2010. His injuries and performance will turn teams off, but someone may fall in love with the 6'4" 190 frame and a fastball that's touched 94-95 in the past.
C Mark Thomas - Sound defensive backstops are always in play for the rule 5 draft, but Thomas hasn't played above high-A and hasn't hit much anyway.
RHP Nick Barnese - His walk rate fell from 1.9 per 9 with Charlotte in 2010 to 4.4 for the Biscuits last year.