In November, the SF Giants will have the decision of whether they want to protect any of their prospects from the Rule 5 draft. There are a handful of prospects who will be eligible for the first time this winter, including Erik Miller, Grant McCray, and Aeverson Arteaga.
3 SF Giants prospects who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time this winter
Protection from the Rule 5 draft was part of the reason why the Giants added Marco Luciano and Luis Matos to the 40-man roster last offseason. Neither had played above Double-A, but the Giants were in a position where they had to add them to the 40-man roster or risk losing them through the Rule 5 draft.
The Rule 5 draft is a somewhat complicated practice in baseball. Essentially, if a team does not protect an eligible prospect by adding him to the 40-man roster, then another team can draft him away from the original team.
However, the team that drafts him has to keep him on the active roster for the entirety of the season to gain that player's option rights. Teams cannot stash a player on the injured list while doing this, but some teams do get creative with transactions involving a Rule 5 pick.
If the team does not keep a player, then he is typically placed on waivers with the expectation of returning to his original team. The hit rate is low in the Rule 5 draft, but Blake Sabol is an example of one of the successes. So, the Giants will have a decision to make as to whether they want to protect any eligible prospects.
1. Erik Miller
The Giants acquired reliever Erik Miller in an offseason trade that sent Yunior Marté to the Philadelphia Phillies. Miller was originally a fourth-round pick out of Stanford University by the Phillies in 2019.
He came up as a starter and still has the repertoire for a starter. However, below-average control will likely keep him in the bullpen. The left-handed reliever flashes a fastball that sits comfortably in the mid-90's with a quality slider and a plus changeup. The changeup is a true out pitch that has some nice fade action, getting hitters to swing right over it.
The move to the bullpen has been a good one for Miller. The 25-year-old tallied a 2.77 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 12.6 K/9, and a 1.78 SO/W ratio in 52 innings with the Sacramento River Cats this year. Miller had no problem pitching through traffic and the subpar control is partly due to the automated strike zone implemented for stretches of the 2023 season.
Given his repertoire and the fact that he has had success in Triple-A, there is a good chance that he would get selected in the Rule 5 draft. There is also a good chance that the Giants add him to the 40-man roster this winter.