Nationals pick Red Sox RHP Thad Ward first in 2022 Rule 5 draft

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The Washington Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Thad Ward from the Red Sox as the first pick in the 2022 Rule 5 draft Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Unlike the amateur draft, which now has its order partly determined by a draft lottery, the Rule 5 draft still takes place in reverse order of last season’s standings.
  • The Athletic’s Keith Law ranked Ward as the No. 14 prospect in Boston’s system ahead of the 2022 season.
  • The Dodgers and Red Sox each lost three major-league players in the draft, tied for the most among teams.

View the full list of drafted players here.

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GO DEEPER

MLB Rule 5 Draft: What is it? When is it? Why is it important?

Who was eligible for the Rule 5 draft?

Players were eligible for the first time if they are 1) not on their team’s 40-man roster and 2) experiencing their fourth Rule 5 draft if they were either 19 or older the year they signed their first professional contract, or experiencing their fifth Rule 5 draft if they were 18 or younger the year they signed their first professional contract. (CliffsNotes version: players who were 19 or older and signed in 2019 or earlier, or players who were 18 or younger and signed in 2018 or earlier, are eligible in this year’s draft.)

All non-roster players with the aforementioned eligibility were available in the major-league portion of the draft. Those eligible players not stashed on a team’s offseason Triple-A roster were eligible for the minor-league portion. — Lockard

Is there a fee for selecting a player in the Rule 5 draft?

Before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement came into effect in February, teams that select players in the major-league portion of the Rule 5 draft have to pay $50,000 to the team they selected the player from. If the new team decides not to keep the Rule 5 selection on their active roster, they have to first put the player on waivers and, if the player clears waivers, offer the player back to his old team for $25,000. Under the new CBA, the selection fee is now $100,000 and the player would be offered back for $50,000. — Lockard

Can Rule 5 picks be traded?

Yes, and two of the most famous Rule 5 selections were traded by the team that selected them — Johan Santana and Josh Hamilton. Santana was selected out of the Astros’ system by the Marlins in 1999 but immediately traded to the Twins. Hamilton was selected by the Cubs in the 2006 draft out of the Rays’ chain but was immediately traded to the Reds. Teams who acquire a Rule 5 selection via a trade are bound by the same roster restrictions as if they made the selection themselves.

This year, the Rockies selected RHP Kevin Kelly from Cleveland and traded him to Tampa Bay in exchange for cash considerations. — Lockard

Can teams stash Rule 5 picks on the injured list?

Sort of. Teams sometimes target players coming off of serious surgeries in the Rule 5 draft because they can keep those players on their major-league 60-day injured list. However, unless the player spends at least 90 days on the active roster during his Rule 5 season, he will be bound by the same roster restrictions the following year. — Lockard

What they’re saying

The A’s were excited to get first baseman Ryan Noda from the Dodgers with the second pick in the major-league portion. Noda hit 25 homers and drove in 90 runs for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2022. After the draft, A’s general manager David Forst said the A’s had asked the Dodgers about Noda in trade discussions several times in recent years and were happy to get him in this draft.

“I like the power. I like the walks, I like the defense at first base,” Forst said. Noda projects primarily as a first baseman but can play some outfield, as well. – Lockard

Required reading

(Photo: Kim Klement / USA Today)



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