The Winter Meetings concluded with the Rule 5 draft Thursday, and for the second straight season, the Royals found a Rays pitcher they liked, selecting Charlotte righty Stephen Woods Jr.
Woods has to remain on the Royals’ active roster for an entire season or be offered back to the Rays. That’s what happened with Sam McWilliams in the 2019 season. He was returned to the Rays at the conclusion of spring training and finished with a 4.10 ERA in 131 2⁄3 innings for Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.
Woods made his organizational debut in 2019. He was originally acquired from the GIants in the Evan Longoria trade, but he missed all of 2018 due to a shoulder injury. With the Stone Crabs, the 24 year old posted a 1.88 ERA with 79 strikeouts and 33 walks in 86 1⁄3 innings.
Rule 5 expert and Baseball America executive editor J.J. Cooper gives Woods a 25% chance to stick in the majors this season ($).
In the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, the Rays selected a player and lost a player. Unlike the major league portion, players selected in this phase can remain in their new organizations with no restrictions.
First, they drafted left-handed pitcher Faustino Carrera from the Cubs. They originally signed Carrera in 2015 for $250,000, and the 20 year old made his full-season debut in the Midwest League in 2019. He had a 4.03 ERA with 103 strikeouts and 28 walks in 116 innings.
Later, the Angels selected outfielder Pedro Diaz from the Rays. The 20-year-old outfielder also signed in 2015 but hasn’t yet played in full-season ball. For short-season Hudson Valley, he batted .220 with a .276 on-base percentage and .314 slugging percentage in 127 plate appearances.