Today was the Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings. The Rule 5 draft is a way for MLB to try to make sure no organization is stockpiling young talent down on the farm just to keep them from other teams. Each team gets to protect 40 players on their major league roster. Those can't be taken in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft. If you take a player (the Astros took two today) you have the option of keeping them on your 25 man active roster all year and paying $50,000 to the team you drafted them from, or if you don't want to keep them at the major league level, you can work out a trade for them. If you decide you don't want to keep the player, you just ship them back to the team they came from. You get some of your money back but not all.
In the minor league portion, the players are protected by being on the AAA or AA reserved list. The options are the same but the money is less and you don't have to keep the player in the same level they were drafted in.
Today, Jeiler Castillo was taken in the AAA portion of the Rule 5 draft by the A's. I was surprised by this selection. Castillo first appeared in Greeneville in 2008. That year, he had more walks (21) than Ks (18) in 20 2/3 IP. He returned in 2009 and showed improved control. However, the ball left the yard more frequently. In 2010, he started the season with Tri Cities of the NY Penn League and was sent down to Greeneville after appearing in just 3 games. He was told he was coming down to anchor the bullpen for a team the Astros thought had a chance to win the league. He had his best year yet but was visibly discouraged at the end of the year. Three seasons in the Appy League normally doesn't bode well for your career.
I am hoping that this opportunity will be good for Jeiler. He is having a good winter in Venezuela. He is pitching in the Liga Paralela (LVBP minors) for Caracas. He is 5-0 with a 2.15 ERA in 29 1/3 IP (7 appearances/3 starts).
Jeiler is not the first former G-Stro to leave the organization via the Rule 5 draft. Neil Sellers, Santo Luis & Victor Garate were all selected in the minor league portion of Rule 5 drafts.