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San Francisco Giants Add Fernandez, Lose Suarez in Rule 5 Draft

Jake Mastroianni
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Albert Suarez #56 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 23, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Albert Suarez #56 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on September 23, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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In the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning the San Francisco Giants took hard-throwing pitcher Julian Fernandez with the second overall pick.

The Giants essentially swapped an aging Albert Suarez for a young Fernandez.

Suarez was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 14th pick in the draft. The 28-year-old had a 4.51 ERA in 115.2 innings pitched for the Giants, but should be a solid piece of the Diamondbacks bullpen.

Fernandez is only 22-years-old, but has spent five seasons in the Colorado Rockies minor league system after being signed out of the Dominican Republic.

He has a career ERA of 3.26 over 148 innings pitched — all out of the bullpen — with 133 strikeouts.

The problem is, Fernandez has not pitched above Single-A. And since the San Francisco Giants took him in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft, they must keep him on their 25-man roster. If not, they have to give them back to the Rockies for $50,000.

According Baseball America’s JJ Cooper, Fernandez hit 102 MPH during the 2017 season, and said he could be the second hardest thrower in all of professional baseball behind Aroldis Chapman.

Cooper also mentioned that Fernandez needs to develop some secondary pitches.

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This seems like a good risk for the Giants as Fernandez could be a hard throwing reliever they desperately need in the bullpen.

The Giants also selected Eduardo Rivera and Wander Franco in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 Draft.

Rivera comes out of the Cincinnati Reds organization where he had a 1.90 ERA in 23.2 innings with 33 strikeouts at Low-A last year. He’s another arm that could have an impact on the Giants bullpen.

Franco comes out of the Kansas City Royals organization where he hit .279 in 481 at-bats last year at High-A.

The Giants lost Skyler Ewing, Martin Cervenka and Andrew Muren in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 Draft.

Next: San Francisco Giants Working on Possible Backup Plan in Jay Bruce

Obviously, you take these Rule 5 transactions with a grain of salt, but we’ve seen in the past how important they can be.

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