Welcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective
What is the Rule 5 draft?
According to MiLB.com,
What happens when a player is selected in the Rule 5 Draft?
A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $50,000 to the team from which he was selected. The receiving team must then keep the player on the Major League 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season, and the selected player must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days. If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team he was selected from for $25,000. If his original team declines, the receiving team may waive the player.
Once a player is selected, he is automatically assigned to his new organization's 40-man roster.
Can any Minor League player be drafted?
No. Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played in pro ball for five years.
All players on a Major League Baseball team's 40-man roster, regardless of other eligibility factors, are "protected" and ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft."
Originally signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009 as an undrafted free agent, Velasquez played with the Phillies organization for two years before signing with the Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League in 2011. He spent last season with the Camden Riversharks until signing a free-agent contract with the Minnesota Twins on December 3.
It's not as if Velasquez doesn't have experience or the tools to be successful. He's appeared in over 560 innings and has started 69 games, while finishing 36. In 2010, his record wasn't that good (3-9), but he finished the year with a 3.19 ERA surrendering only 68 hits in 87 innings as a member of the Clearwater Threshers.
2013 was, without a doubt, his breakout season. As a member of the Riversharks, he went 6-2 with a 1.95 ERA in 61 games. In 73.2 innings he struck out 82 good for 10.0 SO/9 (the best of his career). Even more impressive was his 26 walks (a career low) and only allowed two home runs all season (Courtesy Baseball Reference).
The Rule 5 draft isn't as high profile as Rule 4 Amateur Draft, but right now none of that matters. Velasquez is getting that second chance every athlete hopes for.