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Angels and the 2016 Rule 5 Draft

Which players will be protected from the draft?

MLB: Spring Training-Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Angels Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

This Friday is the deadline for teams to decide who they will protect from the Rule 5 draft. Players who were signed at age 18 and haven’t made the 40 man roster within 5 years are eligible to be picked up in the draft which takes place on December 8th during the Winter Meetings.

The Angels have 6 players on their top 30 prospect list that would need to be protected:

5. Nate Smith, LHP
15. Chad Hinshaw, OF
18. Manny Banuelos, LHP
19. Kyle McGowin, RHP
23. Keynan Middleton, RHP
29. Jesus Castillo, RHP

Given that the Angels currently have a full 40 man roster, they have some decisions to make in the next few days.

Personally, I don’t see Eppler and team exposing any of these guys (outside of maybe McGowin) to the Rule 5 draft. Nate smith has 2017 starter potential, Chad Hinshaw could end up as a 4th outfielder at some time in 2017, Manny Banuelos was picked up by Eppler in August, Kyle McGowin is a top 20 prospect but suffered horribly in Salt Lake this year, Keynan Middleton is a 23 year old fireballer with future bullpen potential, and Jesus Castillo came over in the Joe Smith trade with the Cubs.

If 5 of these guys end up on the 40 man roster, then who gets bumped? We’ll know soon how Eppler shuffles the team around to make sure he protects the players he thinks would be most at risk of being nabbed. Stay tuned over the next few days as there are bound to be some roster transactions.