That’s pretty much the results of the Rule 5 Draft that concluded the Winter Meeting Thursday in Las Vegas. The Cubs did not make a selection in the major league portion of the draft, nor did they lose any prospects in that section either. So Trevor Clifton, Jhonny Pereda, Erick Leal, and many more will be still Cubs come 2019.
The minor league phase of the draft saw 54 picks made, with relief pitchers David Garner and Yapson Gomez taken by the Blue Jays and Indians, respectively.
The Cubs took three young players from other organizations as well:
Luis Lugo, LHP – 24 (Royals)
Rafelin Lorenzo, C – 21 (Pirates)
Alexander Vargas, RHP – 21 (Yankees)
It is a bit odd that the Cubs took two starting pitchers when that is the strength of the system, but they have gone with a volume approach over the last few years. That said, I find Lorenzo to be the most intriguing prospect of the three, as he hit above .300 this past season. If there’s a caveat, it’s that he only saw action in 33 games as a catcher.
Both Lugo and Vargas have mixed records as starters, so maybe the Cubs have plans to move them to the pen. All three have limited experience beyond high-A and only Lugo has seen significant time at Double-A. Based on their age and experience, Lugo should open at Double-A Tennessee while Lorenzo will likely be at high-A Myrtle Beach. Vargas could go begin the season at either level.
We’ll find out once the season starts whether the Cubs just took them for depth reasons or if there is actually some value to their individual skill sets.