Orioles take Red Sox reliever prospect Andrew Politi in Rule 5 draft: ‘He was our guy’

Since 2006, the only thing that has kept the Orioles from making a selection in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft is that it doesn’t happen.

With the event fully returning to the winter meetings after the 2021 major league portion was canceled due to the MLB lockout, the Orioles continued their streak by selecting right-hander Andrew Politi from the Boston Red Sox with the 17th overall pick and the ninth. choose. Baltimore did not make a second selection and none of the other 29 teams drafted an Orioles prospect to their 40-man rosters.

Politi, 26, posted a 2.34 ERA in 50 plate appearances for Boston’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2022, striking out 83 in 69 1/3 innings while allowing fewer by one base runner per inning. He will have a chance to compete for the Orioles’ major league job.

“We’re excited to have him,” Orioles director of pro scouting Mike Snyder said. “He was our guy.”

The Rule 5 change allows teams to select eligible players that other organizations have left off their 40-man rosters, with the drafting team required to keep their selections on the major league roster for one year or offer them back to the clubs their originals. Teams are not required to make picks and lose the ability to make subsequent selections once they pass. Of the six players Baltimore acquired through the Rule 5 draft under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias, only right-hander Tyler Wells, the team’s second overall pick in 2020, remains with the Orioles.

Snyder said the Orioles had Politi on a roster of no more than seven players, navigating the possibility that one or all of those players could be taken before their selection after they had one of the first five picks out of the three previous Rule 5 drafts. Snyder joked “don’t tempt me” when asked if Baltimore considered making a second selection, saying the Orioles are excited to end the draft with Politi and one remaining on their 40-man roster of people.

“We like the pitching mix,” Snyder said. “We like top-level performance. He came through Double-A and then dominated Triple-A, so we have a big league-ready arm. We have, we think, a power slider, a fastball with some hair on it – it’s hard for hitters to get right – and a curveball that can be very difficult as well. It has deception. He has improved his ability to throw punches. He’s made some positive changes over the years and we’re optimistic that in training camp we’ll give him a chance to break camp with the team.”

The Red Sox also lost out on Navy product Noah Song in the draft, with the Philadelphia Phillies taking the right-hander with the 20th pick. The Phillies announced that Song, 25, will not be considered for their 40-man roster, but will receive major league service time while on the military list as continues active duty in the Navy.

In the Triple-A phase of the draft, Baltimore took three players and lost three. The Orioles selected right-hander Alfred Vega from the New York Yankees, left-hander Trey McGough from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers shortstop Randy Florentino. Right-hander Héctor Pérez, infielder Jonathan Araúz, and catcher Cody Roberts were drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets, and Phillies, respectively.

Vega, 21, struck out 22 of the 61 batters he faced with a 1.15 ERA for the Yankees in the Florida Complex League. A product of Mount St. Mary’s, McGough, 24, posted a 3.06 ERA in eight Triple-A appearances last year and has a 3.31 career minor-league grade despite coming off reconstructive surgery Tommy John elbow. Florentino, 22, slashed .242/.332/.353 for the High-A affiliate in Texas.

Pérez, 26, made one major league appearance for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020 and spent 2022 with three Orioles affiliates. Araúz, 24, played in nine games for the Orioles after they claimed him from Boston with a broken right thumb, effectively ending his tenure. Roberts is a well-regarded defensive catcher and joined the Orioles’ bullpen for a handful of road series; the 26-year-old hit .271 with a .776 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A.


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