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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rule V Draft - Astros take Cubs Minor League Pitcher

Picking 17th in the major league edition of the Rule V Draft this morning, the Astros selected RHP Lincoln Holdzkom from the Chicago Cubs farm system. Jim Callis of Baseball America was among those broadcasting the Rule V Draft live from Orlando on XM Radio this morning, and he described Holdzkom as having a live arm with shaky control and as a guy who has a reasonable shot of sticking with the big-league club. Holdzkom moved from Rookie ball to High-A and up to Double-A last year in the Cubs organization, making 18 apperances at Double-A West Tennessee and posting a 1.95 ERA. In 206 minor-league innings, Holdzkom has a 2.62 ERA and 237 Ks opposed to 111 BB and only 6.24 H/9. The most amazing number? According to the Baseball Cube, Holdzkom has NEVER given up a home run in the minors. I'll try to get confirmation of that seemingly impossible number somewhere else. Smells a little bit like Chad Harville did a few years back, but hopefully for Astros' fans, Lincoln will prove a better fit. With Russ Spinger gone, there is certainly a hole in the pen for someone to fill.

The Rule V Draft allows teams to pay $50K to pluck a minor-leaguer from another team's roster who has not yet been added to that organization's 40-man roster. Determining when a player is eligible to be selected in the Rule V Draft if he has not yet been added to the 40-man roster depends on the player's age at the time that he originally signed his professional contract. The team that selects a player in the Rule V Draft must keep that player on its 25-man major league roster for the full length of the following season or else the team who lost him in the Draft has the right to buy him back for $25K. The Astros did not lose any players to other teams in this year's Draft.

Other notable selections include Joakim Soria, a Padres righty who was selected by Tampa Bay and then sold to Oakland. Soria is 22 years old and pitched in Low-A last season but has had a splendid winter in the Mexican League and Josh Hamilton, the former #1 overall pick by Tampa Bay who has been plagued with injury and drug abuse issues, who was selected by the Chicago Cubs. However, the guys at Baseball America point out that Hamilton will apparently be traded by the Cubs to the Cincinnati Reds. This seems like a very low risk move for the Reds with a potentially limitless positive payoff.


Blogger Scott said...

FYI - Chance Douglass was among those players who was left exposed by the Astros to today's Draft, and as best as I can tell, he was not chosen by any teams. There are minor-league versions of this same draft in which players do not have to be kept on the 25 man roster, and that's likely when Douglass would have been a possibility for someone.

One other note - Jim Callis also mentioned that the new CBA rule that extends the length of time in which some players can be protected by their teams from the Rule V Draft may have prevented a guy like the Astros own Brooks Conrad from becoming this year's Dan Uggla (2005 Marlin Rule V Draftee, 2006 NL All-Star). Conrad led all minor league hitters in extra-base hits in 2006 and was added to the Astros 40-man roster in late November, but is clearly blocked on the depth chart by Mr. 3000 and Chris Burke.

Thu Dec 07, 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Word is that Hamilton is negotiating with the Reds on a contract that would pay him his weight in crystal meth.

Thu Dec 07, 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

It's crack cocaine, not meth, and I'll provide the melted spoon if he hits like he's capable.

Thu Dec 07, 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Baseball Prospectus writer Kevin Goldstein mentions that Holdszkom was his "Cubs sleeper" due to "raw arm strength" and a good AFL performance. However, he also writes that some teams were turned off by his "makeup". Could this be a Ru Paul situation? That's not very Drayton-like...

Thu Dec 07, 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

According to the ever-reliable (/sarcasm) Wikipedia, not only does Lincoln have a 97 mph fastball, he also composed a piece on the Forrest Gump soundtrack and played piano on the Johnny Carson show in 1988 at the age of six. In this year's Arizona Fall League, Holdzkom pitched 20+ innings in relief, sporting a 1.62 ERA with 21 Ks and 13 BB. He was tied for 4th in Ks and tied for 3rd in BBs.

Thu Dec 07, 05:17:00 PM  

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