A look at Thursday's Rule 5 draft

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Major League Baseball's Rule 5 draft will be held Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at the Winter Meetings and the Orioles will have the 16th pick. Any player selected in this draft must remain on the selecting team's 25-man roster for the entire 2014 season or be offered back to his original club.

This is the draft where the Orioles got Ryan Flaherty two years ago and pitcher T.J. McFarland last winter. The Orioles' 40-man roster is at 38 so they have room to take a player if they choose.

Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization's 40-man roster and:

* Were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years; or

* Were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years.

Unlike the June draft, where sometimes there is a consensus of what order the top players will be selected, the Rule 5 is more wide open and harder to predict. It simply depends on the preference of the selecting team. One club may take player X if they had the first pick while another team would prefer player Y. Some clubs will pass and not make a pick.

O's vice president Dan Duquette talked about both the possibility of the Orioles making another Rule 5 pick and also the chance the club could lose a player or players to another organization.

"We'll see. We are still talking about a couple of players that might help us," Duquette said. "We draft down a little further this year. We have a couple of players on our list, but we don't know if they'll be there. It's a good way to supplement your team."

Does he expect the organization could lose anyone to another club, with players like pitchers Oliver Drake and Jason Gurka, and catcher Caleb Joseph not protected on the 40-man roster?

"I've heard a couple of names mentioned, but I'm not convinced we are going to lose anyone in the draft," Duquette said. "We'd like to keep as much depth as we have in our system and we take a hard look at protecting players on the 40-man. If we've done our job right, we shouldn't be losing a lot of ballplayers."

Here is a list of some current O's minor league players that are eligible to be selected in the draft:

Aaron Baker
Jesse Beal
Eric Beaulac
Matt Bischoff
Buck Britton
Steve Bumbry
Bobby Bundy
Oliver Drake
Mychal Givens
Jason Gurka
Matt Hobgood
Caleb Joseph
Trent Mummey
Jake Pettit
Marcel Prado
Clay Schrader
Ashur Tolliver
Brian Ward

Three of the O's better pitching prospects that you may be wondering about are not eligible for the Rule 5 this year - Parker Bridwell, Eduardo Rodriguez and Mike Wright.

There is just not much information to be had on which players the O's have interest in, as the team - like most clubs - keep that information close to the vest.

As for O's players that could get taken by another team, that is also hard to figure. Pitcher Mychal Givens could be a longshot candidate to get taken.

Pitcher Eddie Gamboa, who was recently added to the 40-man only to be taken off the roster days later, is currently a free agent and not eligible to be taken today in the draft. The Orioles are expected to re-sign Gamboa for next year.

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