The San Francisco Giants made some roster moves on Wednesday to protect a quartet of prospects from December’s Rule 5 draft, including disappointing center fielder Gary Brown.
According to CSNBayArea.com, the Giants also added pitchers Kendry Flores and Hunter Strickland and third baseman Adam Duvall. To make room, pitcher Guillermo Moscoso was designated for assignment.
Brown was thought of by some as the center fielder of the future when he tore up the California League in 2011, hitting .336/.407/.519 with 14 homers, 13 triples and 53 steals at San Jose.
But his numbers dipped upon being promoted to Double-A Richmond in 2012, where he hit .279/.347/.385 and stole 33 bases with just seven homers and 87 strikeouts.
That led to a disastrous 2013 at Triple-A Fresno. Brown hit .231/.286/.375 and struck out 135 times in 608 plate appearances and stole just 17 bases. He did hit 13 homers/
His walk total has dipped from 46 in 2011 to 40 in 2012 to just 33 last year. He was the Giants first-round pick, 24th overall, in 2010 out of Cal State Fullerton.
The other moves weren’t as surprising.
Flores was 10-6 with a 2.73 ERA and sterling 0.918 WHIP in 22 starts and 141.2 innings at Class-A Augusta this season with 137 strikeouts. The 21-year-old Dominican was signed in 2009.
Strickland, 25, has bounced back from Tommy John surgery that wiped out most of his 2010 season and all of 2011. Last year for San Jose he made 20 relief appearances and pitched 21 innings, going 1-0 with a 0.86 ERA and 0.714 WHIP with 23 strikeouts. Strickland joined the Giants organization in April when he was claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Duvall hit .252/.320/.465 in 430 plate appearances at Richmond this season, with 17 homers and 58 RBI. That followed a 30-homer, 100-RBI campaign at San Jose in 2012. The 25-year-old was an 11th round pick by the Giants in 2010 out of the University of Louisville.
Moscoso came to the Giants in July from the Chicago Cubs as part of a conditional deal and was 2-2 with a 5.10 ERA and 1.367 WHIP in 13 appearances, two of them starts, for the Giants. He worked 30 innings and struck out 31. If the name seems familiar, it could be because Moscoso went 8-10 in 21 starts for the A’s in 2011.
The Rule 5 draft is held on the last day of the winter meetings in December and players who are within three or four years of their original signing date, depending on their birthdate, are subject to the draft unless they are on the 40-man roster.
The catch for teams selecting a player is that the player must be kept on the 25-man major league roster for the entire following season or be offered back to his former organization for half of the $50,000 paid for making a pick in the draft.
Only teams who have fewer than 40 players on their roster at the time of the draft may make selections. Fifteen players were chosen last year.
The last time the Giants selected a player in the Rule 5 draft was in 2009, when they selected right-hander Steve Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles, but he was returned to the O’s during spring training in 2010. The last player the Giants had selected was pitcher Joe Paterson, who was taken by the Diamondbacks in 2010. He made 62 relief appearances in 2011 for Arizona, but has pitched mostly in Triple-A the last two seasons.
The most players ever taken in the Rule 5 draft was 28 in 2002 and the least active Rule 5 draft was in 1974, when just three players were selected.
Few stars emerge from the Rule 5 process, but there have been some notable exceptions. The most well-known of those is Roberto Clemente, who the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted from the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. Other more recent Rule 5 draftees include Johan Santana (1999), Jose Bautista (2003), Dan Uggla (2004) and Josh Hamilton (2006).