Who Could Appear On An MLB 40-Man Roster

Mike Brosseau (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Who could appear on an MLB 40 Man Roster? Eligible top prospects should be chosen by this Friday, November 19th, or fall into the hands of the Rule 5 Draft committee. The Rule 5 Draft meeting will occur on December 8th in Orlando, Florida. 

Several clubs are making tough decisions. All 14 Top 100 prospects should be added to their organizations’ 40-Man Roster by Friday, November 19th. Not all decisions will be easy to make. Some will be challenging. A few of the Top 30 prospects will be challenging to choose from, due to parameters in the Majors, each individual’s skills, ceilings, and who could be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. 

The following are a few teams dealing with challenging decisions

American League East

Blue Jays

Blue Jays, Right-Handed Pitcher Eric Paridinho. He is listed at number 24 on the Top 30 Prospects with four substantial pitches along with reasonable control. He played at the Low-A level. Eric had Tommy John’s surgery in February of last year. Over the summer of this year, he pitched in only two games in the Florida Complex League. When he signed, he appeared to be one of the most significant pitching prospects in the system. 


Orioles, Kevin Smith; Left-Handed Pitcher rated 14 on Top 30 prospects. Smith struggled in Triple-A. His ERA 6.23 walked 49 batters in 56 1/3 innings. Control was good, but he lost of it in Triple-A. He has an excellent mix of three different pitches to help him stay in a starting role despite the struggles. Baltimore cannot let a pitcher like him leave easily. They cannot jeopardize losing their four ranked prospects to the Rule 5 Draft. Currently, they have eight open 40 Man roster spots. 


Rays, Ford Proctor, Catcher/ Infielder. He is rated number 30 on the Top 30 Prospects and drafted in 2018 in round three. He played in Double-A Montgomery, collecting a .381 OBP(On Base Percentage) and 127 wRC+ over 97 games.He communicated with the Rays to let him move behind the plate to get out of a talented infield. The Rays already signed catcher Rene Pinto and are still deciding whether to sign Blake Hunt. 

Red Sox

Red Sox, Thaddeus Ward, Right-Handed Pitcher, ranked 20 on the list. Before having Tommy John Surgery over the summer, he started in two games in Double-A. With his surgery possibility, he won’t be able to pitch much in 2022. Even if he is able to throw some in 2022, he will be on a restrictive limit as he gains his strength back. Some teams like taking a risk stockpiling pitchers that are injured on the IL. Rule 5 teams may decide not to take Thaddeous, and Boston feels secure keeping him. Thaddeous has a good fastball and slider that can help him when healthy in a Major League Bullpen. 


Yankees, Brandon Lockridge. He plays Outfield, ranked number 19. Brandon played in 43 games in Double-A, collecting ten home runs and a .557 slugging percentage. The Yankees currently have seven outfielders on their 40 man roster. Everson Pereira may be protected. Their roster is currently full. For the Yankees to protect their Top 30 prospects who are Rule 5-eligible this winter, they will have to remove players from their current roster. ; however, another team could pick up Lockridge; he could be on the roster with the Yankees despite the full roster. 

American League Central


Cleveland is looking at Infielder Aaron Bracho, ranked 15. He signed a $1.5 million contract in 2017 from Venezuela. 2021 offensively, he struggled. Aaron is a switch hitter infielder. In 70 games with High-A Lake county, he hit .174/.269/.299. He particularly struggled against Right Handed pitchers, .523 OPS in 203 at-bats. As an infielder, Aaron has good power, speed and can play in multiple places. A place on 40 Man Roster projection would be in consideration over recent performance.


Royals, Right-Handed Pitcher Zach Haake rated number 29; drafted in the sixth round. He missed six weeks in the 2021 season. High-A Quad Cities is where he played in 2021. Due to missing six weeks during the season, he battled with being consistent with his pitches. Zach played in the Arizona Fall League, showing his potential. His fastball is in the mid-90s, pretty good slider, and changeup. In 14 2/3 innings, he walked 11 batters. Zach still has a little way to go before 40-Man consideration. 


Tigers, Kody Clemens, 2B/OF ranked 18. Kody played at Triple-A Toledo. Left-handed slugger ending the season with 18 home runs out of 97 games played. He hit.247 and .312 OBP. He is skilled at second base along with right field. Kody potentially could be added for backup.


Twins, Blayne Enlow, RHP, ranked 15. Before he had Tommy John surgery in June, he played for High-A Cedar Rapids. ERA 1.84, 23 strikeouts in three games. Blayne fastball was 97 last year before he got injured. Organizations won’t be able to tell how he will be until sometime in 2022. If Minnesota decides to add him, they could potentially transfer him to the 60-day injured list. If that happens, it could open up an extra spot on the 40-Man roster in the spring. 

White Sox

White Sox, Lenyn Sosa, SS/2B ranked 17. In last year’s Rule Draft, he was not picked or protected. Lenyn competed at High-A Winston-Salem. He performed well there in 82 games totaling .290, .321, .443. When Lenyn moved to Double-A Birmingham for 33 games, he struggled. His numbers fell; .214, .240, .282. This season he played more at second base and third base. His skillfulness could help him. 

American League West


Angels, D’Shawn Knowles, OF, ranked 10. D’Shawn is a switch hitter who has not moved past Low-A. In 84 games, his numbers consist of .227, .289, .355, and hitting five home runs. His numbers do not show he is ready for the Majors. Regardless of those numbers, he could help out as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. Adding him to the 40-Man would take away the possibility of a Rule 5 spot years from now. 


Astros, Alex McKenna, OF, ranked 17. Alex a fourth-round pick in 2018. While playing for Asheville, he hit 13 home runs slugging .616 in 41 games. McKenna played at Double-A Corpus Christi in 38 games; ending the season with .206, .314, .305. His performance adds in a question mark about how he could perform against upper-level pitching. The Astros may decide they want him on the 40-Man so that he can rediscover his form.


Athletics, Jordan Diaz, 3B, ranked 11. Last year Jordan was not protected in the Rule 5 Draft. 2021 season, he played in 90 games at High-A Lansing where he hit .288, .337, .483, and 13 home runs. Jordan is self-disciplined and has some excitement with his bat. Although he had a birthday in August and turned 21, he might not be quite ready to be on a 40-Man right now.  


Mariners, Sam Carlson, RHP, ranked 24. Sam, a 2017 draft pick chosen in round two. In 2018, Sam had Tommy John surgery, took all of 2019 to recapture his strength, and of course in 2020 he could not play like everyone else. Sam had a phenomenal season playing for the Modesto Nuts in Low-A this summer, staying healthy. He pitched 100 total innings, 24.2 percent K-rate. His fastball and changeup are great pitches. His health has been proven with him pitching 100 innings this season. Mariners have to look into him jumping four levels while he stays healthy with a Rule 5 pick.  


Rangers, Ricky Vanasco, RHP, ranked Ricky has potential to throw 99 MPH. He has a great curveball as a starting pitcher. His pitches could land him on a 40-Man roster, but Ricky had Tommy John Surgery in 2020. Due to his surgery, he has not been able to be on the mound since 2019. Ricky, unfortunately, has had his fair share of elbow problems. The Rangers know-how is doing in recovery.  

National League East


Braves, Justin Dean, OF, ranked 25. Justin has an abundance of speed. His running grade is 70. He has played in three Minor League seasons, including Double-A Mississippi this season. In those combined seasons, he totaled 92 stolen bases. This season for Double-A Mississippi, he totaled 29 stolen bases. Justin is a good hitter. He hit .237, .345, .364, 104 wRC+ in 99 games this season. Adding in 30.3 percent of his at-bats. To be added to a 40-Man roster, he would possibly be safeguarded from a Rule 5 team taking him to place him on the bench.  


Marlins, Griffin Conine, OF, ranked 21.Griffin, a left-handed hitter, ended the season with 36 home runs between High-A and Double-A. He has strong hitting power, but his hitting tool is in question. In 42 games in Double-A, he hit .176 and his strikeout percent 47.4 percent. Before being chosen in a Rule 5 pick, Griffin possibly needs to display better contact. The Marlins have one Rule 5-eligible Top 30 prospect. 


Mets, Josh Walker, LHP, ranked 16. Josh, drafted in 2017 in round 37. He moved up three levels to Triple-A Syracuse. Josh struggled this season with a 5.19 ERA in only nine starts striking out 33 batters in 50 1/3 innings. He is a good left-hander who likes to pitch in the zone. Josh could be a starter for the Mets with his depth. The Mets may not want to lose his depth over a place on the 40-Man. 


Nationals, Tim Cate, LHP, ranked 13.Tim throws a curveball that is possibly the most significant breaking ball pitch in the organization’s Minor League rankings. With reasonable control, he pitched in 96 2/3 innings, his ERA 5.31 and WHIP 1.55. Tim stayed at Double-A Harrisburg 2021 season. Other pitchers have moved Tim down the depth chart.  40-Man roster, he could improve his non-curveball pitches to be an overcomer of his struggles. 


Phillies, Jhailyn Ortiz, OF, ranked 10. Jhailyn was Rule 5 Draft eligible in 2019 and 2020. Both years he was not protected nor picked. This year he is eligible again. Jhailyn ended the season at Double-A this year. He showed his strength hitting 23 home runs in 95 games combined, playing for High-A and Double-A. He plays right field but also plays center field. Due to his speed, it would be challenging for him to do well in the center. He could be a Rule 5 pick. The question remains if he could be on a 40-Man roster. 

National League Central


Brewers, Carlos Rodriguez, OF, ranked 22. Carlos displays decent speed along with being a good defender in the Outfield. His offensive ability is questionable. Playing for High-A Wisconsin, Carlos had one home run with a slugging percentage of .348 in 94 games. Decent speed and a decent glove leave the question of being enough to be on a 40-Man roster. 


Cardinals, Delvin Perez, SS, ranked 12. The Cardinals chose Delvin in 2016 as the 23rd overall pick. Only playing in Low-A, in the Rule-5 Draft last year, he was not protected or chosen. This season, Delvin got moved up to Double-A Springfield with his numbers .265, .322, .339. He is magnificent defensively at shortstop, along with good speed. His defense and speed could land him on a 40-Man as a backup infielder. 


Cubs, Riley Thompson, RHP, ranked 28.Chicago Cubs have two prospects in the Top 30 who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Riley was an11th round pick in 2018. Due to shoulder problems, he did not pitch in 2021. The last time he appeared on the mound was in 2019 in Low-A. Riley can throw a fastball and a curveball.


Pirates, Travis Swaggerty, OF, ranked 16. They have 10 Top 30 prospects who should be guarded. Travis chosen 10th overall in 2018. Before season-ending right shoulder surgery, he played in 12 Triple-A games. Unfortunately, Travis has not been able to hit as much as he would like to. His speed and defensive ability help him shine the most. The top question is his bat to see how he has recovered. They need as much talent as they can get so they can protect Travis. 


Reds, Allan Cerda, OF, ranked 17. The Reds have two players who are Rule-5 eligible. Allan is an outfielder who shines the most because of his power. In Low-A and High-A combined, he played in 87 games. Allan hit 17 home runs and had a .523 slugging percentage. He completed the season with 136 wRC+. With his excellent arm, it makes him a nifty right fielder. Not much upper-level experience could hold him back from a 40-Man roster spot.

National League West


D-backs Levi Kelly, RHP, ranked 22.Early in the season, Levi injured his shoulder. Over 25 innings with Double-A Amarillo walked 25 hitters, struck out 27, and ended with a 5.40 ERA and 1.76 WHIP. Levi has two stand-out pitches with his low to mid 90s fastball and slider. He could be in a bullpen role. The direction Arizona is heading cannot afford to let a possible relief pitcher leave, especially if they like the heater-slider combination.


Dodgers, Leonel Valera, SS ranked 15. Leonel became Rule 5 eligible last year. He jumped up one level in 2021, playing for High-A Great Lakes. In 95 games, he produced 16 home runs, 16 steals, and hit .224, .305, .436. He has excellent power and speed, along with credible defensive skills making him a validated prospect. He should receive extra looks. The Dodgers are currently with 38 players on their 4o-Man roster. They are looking at free agents, which makes it challenging how much roster space they want to create. Valera may be behind Chavez Ravine this go-round. 


Giants, Ricardo Genoves, C, ranked 18. Since Buster Posey retired, Joey Bart and Patrick Bailey are in the catching-depth conversations. Don’t overlook Genoves with his set of skills behind the plate and his throwing arm. Ricardo is the type of catcher organizations like to see. He only played in six Triple-A games, most of the 2021 season at High-A Eugene, hitting .217, .294, and .364 adding in 7 home runs and a 29.8 percent strikeout rate in 65 games. He deals with ome offensive struggles. A Rule 5 team would have to deal with his effort. The Giants have to decide on losing him even if he is still not quite ready. 


Padres, Brandon Valenzuela, C, ranked 19. Valenzuela defensive effort shows more than his offense. He had a strong season playing in 97 games at Low-A and High-A with a 122 wRC+ and .299, .393, .429. The Padres have to consider if these stats are enough to place him on a 40-Man despite not playing past High-A. Three catchers exist on the 40-Man now, so adding another catcher is not easy.


Rockies, Willie MacIver, C, ranked 25. Willie showed his skills in the Arizona Fall League, hoping to prove to the Rockies his worth. He displayed some positivity. At High-A Spokane, he started well but struggled at Double-A Hartford. Willie ended the season .167, .241, .266 in 54 games. Behind the plate he is strong defensively with a good arm helping him be protected

A Few Prospects

Each organization has a list of top 30 prospects they need to protect from the Rule 5 Draft. The complete list is 100 Top Prospects. Some names consist of:
Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners(No.2). Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds(No.26).
Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals (No.65). Drew Waters, OF, Braves(No.79).


In conclusion, so many guys with unique talent could add their abilities to a 40-Man. Those that do not get added to a 40-Man right now will continue to get stronger in their positions.
Each team faces challenges along with the guys. It is not an easy task choosing players, and the guys face challenges with all the work they put in.
Who will make it to a 40-Man this year? We will have to keep our eyes open to see.

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