A rather quiet week from the Pittsburgh Pirates ended with an equally quiet Rule 5 draft. The Pirates selected one player in the AAA portion of the draft, Alex Aquino, and saw one member of the Altoona Curve, Jerrick Suiter, selected as well. The Pirates passed on their pick during the major league portion of the draft. So, the acquisition of Aquino was the only they made during the process.
The rules of the Rule 5 draft are pretty simple. Eligible players can be selected by a team in the normal draft order (based on record). If a player is selected, the receiving team pays $100,000 to the team from which the player was selected. The catch is that a selected player must be on the new team's 26-man roster for the entirety of the season or he is offered back to the original team for $50,000.
So a team, like the Pirates, who choose to pass on their pick aren't simply saying "we don't want another player in the system," but rather that they didn't deem any of the available players worthy of an active roster spot.
The AAA portion of the draft doesn't have the same roster restrictions. The selecting team must only pay $12,000 for the rights to the player. It was during this phase that the Pirates selected RHP Alex Aquino from the Atlanta Braves rookie league roster.
Aquino's development was slowed by a rather significant position switch. When he entered the rookie league, he was an infielder with a strong arm and very little pop in his bat. So, the Braves made the decision to move him to pitcher, and it seems like the right move.
For only being a professional pitcher for two years Aquino has progressed well. In 2019, he posted a very impressive WHIP (0.850) and K/9 (9.9). His ERA (3.60) was not reflective of his excellent WHIP. His 2 balks, 3 wild pitches, and 3 hit batsmen show that he still needs some more polish as a pitcher, but that's to be expected.
At 21 years old, Aquino is almost a year and a half older than the average competition in the rookie league. So, it will be interesting to see if he is still able to limit base runners at higher levels of the minor leagues.
Jerrick Suiter, who was selected by the Cubs in the AAA phase, looked to be on a path to the majors before a tough 2018 in Indianapolis derailed his upward trajectory. Suiter missed a ton of time in 2018 and wasn't the same hitter when he was in there. When 2019 came around, Suiter found himself demoted to AA where his results were much of the same. He is now a 26-year old minor leaguer who needs to regain his footing. The potential is there, and apparently the Cubs think they can bring it out of him.
The Rule 5 Draft capped what was an uneventful week for the Pirates at the Winter Meetings. I wrote last week that we should expect a slow start to Ben Cherington's tenure as GM as he familiarizes himself with the players within the organization.
Follow Jared on Twitter: @a_piratelife