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