Today is the day major-league clubs must add eligible minor-league players to their 40-man roster to avoid exposing them to other teams in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings.
The Milwaukee Brewers have five openings on their 40-man roster unless they remove a player or players to create extra space. Players who must be protected basically are high school draft picks and international signings from 2013 as well as college draft picks from 2014.
The Brewers have two players who are locks to be protected – middle infielder Mauricio Dubon and right-hander Freddy Peralta – both acquired via trades.
Dubon, 23, was part of the Travis Shaw/Tyler Thornburg trade with Boston at the 2017 winter meetings. He split the 2017 season between Class AA Biloxi and Class AAA Colorado Springs, batting .274 with a .330 on-base percentage, .382 slugging percentage, 29 doubles, eight homers, 57 RBI and 38 stolen bases in 129 games.
Peralta, 21, was one of three 18-year-old pitchers acquired from Seattle at the 2015 winter meetings in a trade for first baseman Adam Lind. He had a breakthrough season at advanced Class A Carolina and Biloxi, going 3-8 with a 2.63 ERA in 25 games (19 starts), with 169 strikeouts in 120 innings and a .178 opponents batting average.
Two players with a good chance of being added to the 40-man roster are right-hander Marcos Diplan and catcher Jacob Nottingham, also added to the organization via trades. Diplan, 21, scuffled at Carolina (7-8, 5.23 ERA in 26 games) and it would be a big jump to the majors – Rule 5 picks must be kept at the top level for a full season – but has a good arm.
The Brewers saw right-hander Miguel Diaz plucked away from the Class A level in the 2017 Rule 5 draft by the rebuilding San Diego Padres, so there is precedent for taking a young, promising arm.
Nottingham, 22, acquired from Oakland in a February 2016 trade for slugger Khris Davis, struggled at Biloxi, batting .209 with a .695 OPS, nine home runs and 48 RBI. It would not be easy to keep a catcher in the majors who hasn’t played at the Class AAA level but the Brewers have high hopes for Nottingham and likely will protect him.
Right-hander Devin Williams, 23, also is in his protection year but had Tommy John elbow surgery this year and has not pitched above Class A ball, so the Brewers could choose to leave him off the roster.
Other players who might merit some consideration for protecting include infielder Nate Orf and outfielder Kyle Wren, who have performed well at the Class AAA level and have some versatility.
Stay tuned throughout the day. The deadline for protecting players is 7 p.m. CT.