The Rule 5 Draft or: How I Learned to Stop Caring and Love Corndogs

It’s that time of year again, the offseason, a time where we all go crazy and get mad at the Tigers for not doing what we all think is the best move, particularly pertaining to the Rule 5 draft. Happens every year, we see former top prospects that pop up as eligible and we immediately clamor for them with partial belief that while they’ve lost some sheen, the majority of what made them top prospects remain. Riley Ferrell did it to me last year and the Tigers took Reed Garrett. I was a giant fan of Ferrell out of college. Big, tall righty with a high 90’s fastball and plus hammer. Turns out, Riley and the strikezone were mortal enemies and that trend continued with the Marlins as their R5 pick until they returned him back to Houston.

Point being, corndogs. Corndogs before, corndogs now, corndogs forever.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, why corndogs? Simple, I, uh, wanted a corndog at the time. Now, I want you to imagine yourself at the county or state fair, the perfect evening. The air is thick with the smell of fried food, children are laughing and screaming, you’re with your friends, maybe drunk, and having a roaring good time. You come across corndog stand with the giant ones that are like a foot plus and costs you 6 dollars. A perfect deal. It comes with its stick to carry it on, it’s nice and hot, and it’s always a good quality dog inside. That first bite in that crunchy exterior, perfectly fried, reveals the sweet interior of the cornbread batter and the salty, maybe slightly smoky hot dog. A perfect bite, way easier than eating a hot dog and bun.It’s a perfectly dependable and easy food to consume from almost anywhere, even the frozen ones are good. This is totally unlike a rule 5 draft player, because, let’s be honest with ourselves, they suck. Of the 14 players taken in last year’s rule 5 draft, 11 remained with their team. The number 1 overall pick, Richie Martin, a former 1st round pick in 2015 by Oakland, put up a triple slash of 208/260/320 in 310 PA and 120 games. Richie is all glove, no bat at SS and 25 years old. He was considered the cream of the crop for the rule 5.

This is what the rule 5 draft is comprised of. They’re a bunch of low ceiling to moderate floor players that lie somewhere between quadruple A. They’re too good for triple A but not good enough for the bigs, 24th/25th men on the roster. The players that actually have a lot of sheen that go unprotected are players that are nowhere near MLB ready to the point where you risk damaging their ability to develop because they’re so overmatched at the plate against MLB pitching. It’s not worth it to carry these guys on the roster. Toronto did it with Elvis Luciano as a pitcher. Elvis is the first player born in the 2000’s to make it to the big leagues. He threw 33 innings, had a 5.35 ERA, struck out 27, and had a near 2 WHIP. Now sure, you’re going to get your success stories, mainly Dan Uggla who had a great 5 year peak. Odubel Herrera had a good first year, great 2016 that led to an All Star appearance, and then he fell off the face of the Earth after a decent 2017.

Your main takeaway from this is that corndogs are far superior. They are an ELITE drunk food and elite food in general. Quality rarely varies from corndog to corndog. They carry an 80 grade in convenience, a 7 in flavor, specifically at a ballpark or fair, and an 8 in accessibility because you can get them from any grocery chain across the country. They’re cheap, you can even drip them in mustard without having to worry about the mess of a hot dog’s contents dripping onto your shirt. Rule 5 players rarely hit. It’s fun to imagine some of these guys are the prospects they once were but they’re unprotected for a reason. Getting a guy like Victor Reyes, although hated amongst the fanbase is fine. He’s a versatile OF playing in the Don Kelly role. Does seeing the success of Brad Keller hurt? Sure. He had a great year for Kansas City in 2018 and a pretty average 2019 with a 4.2 ERA and a 4.35 FIP while striking out 6.65 per 9 and walking nearly 4. Nick Burdi also hasn’t thrown a single pitch. So take a breath, ignore the rule 5 draft, and buy some damn corndogs.

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