ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks to watch in upcoming Rule 5 Draft include De Los Santos, Robinson

Dec 1, 2023, 7:00 AM

Deyvison De Los Santos...

Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Deyvison De Los Santos hits before a spring training game Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Arizona Sports/Alex Weiner)

(Arizona Sports/Alex Weiner)

The Rule 5 Draft is next Thursday, giving clubs the opportunity to add talent off another’s roster at the Winter Meetings on Dec. 6.

The talent pool is set, and the Arizona Diamondbacks have a couple higher-profile hitters unprotected and available. The D-backs protected 22-year-old southpaw Blake Walston by placing him on the 40-man roster by the Nov. 14 deadline.

Teams that select a player must pay $100,000 to add him to the 26-man roster, where he must stay for the season or he’d get offered to his former team for $50,000. Eligible players are those who did not make 40-man rosters within five years of signing at 18 years old or younger or within fours years of signing at 19 years old or older.

Clubs occasionally strike gold in the Rule 5 Draft, like the Baltimore Orioles in 2016 when they picked future 30-home run hitter Anthony Santander or the Minnesota Twins by taking eventual All-Star reliever Ryan Pressly in 2012.

Here is a list of seven Diamondbacks prospects to keep an eye out for next week:

Which Diamondbacks are Rule 5 eligible?

Deyvison De Los Santos, INF

De Los Santos is a power-hitting corner infielder and Arizona’s No. 5 ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, the highest-ranked prospect left unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft. He is 20 years old and has not played beyond Double-A, so his drafting would require a leap to the majors.

De Los Santos didn’t have the smoothest 2023 season, either, landing on the Development List on July 1 to pull him out of competition to make adjustments. It seemingly worked, as he heated up down the stretch with a .926 OPS and 10 home runs over his final 30 games of the season, helping the Amarillo Sod Poodles capture the Texas League title.

General manager Mike Hazen mentioned at the GM meetings he can see De Los Santos sticking at third base, as the infielder has experience with both corners.

Kristian Robinson, OF

Robinson will be up for the taking for the second time this calendar year, as Arizona designated him for assignment during the season to create a 40-man roster spot. He passed through waivers and was outrighted.

Robinson lost three full seasons of minor league ball due to the cancelled 2020 campaign and a legal issue that stemmed from an incident with law enforcement in 2020. The Bahamian and once No. 1 ranked prospect in the system was granted a visa and returned to game action this year, reaching Double-A for the first time.

The right-handed outfielder had 26 extra-base hits with 23 steals in 67 games, although he also struck out 86 times. Robinson was Arizona’s No. 11 prospect by Pipeline at the end of the season. He will be 23 when Opening Day rolls around and would have to make an even larger leap to the bigs than De Los Santos considering he played five games for the Sod Poodles.

Tristin English, OF/1B

English is a 26-year-old with positional versatility who is Rule 5 eligible for the second straight year, but this time he has Triple-A experience.

The right-handed bat slashed .293/.380/.514 in 84 games with the Aces last season and knocked 17 home runs. He also finished hot with a .937 OPS over his last 30 games and joined Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League.

J.J. D’Orazio, C

D’Orazio only has 37 games of Double-A experience but is Arizona’s No. 25 prospect on Pipeline and No. 33 on FanGraphs.

He threw out 25% of base stealers with Amarillo after a 28% caught-stealing rate for High-A Hillsboro. At the plate, D’Orazio set career highs with nine home runs, 23 doubles and four triples in 104 minor league games and produced a .755 OPS in his age 21 season. He will be 22 by spring training and also went undrafted in last year’s Rule 5 Draft.

The Diamondbacks are set at catcher with Gabriel Moreno, and his backup is looking like Jose Herrera or an external addition. Christian Cerda (20 years old) and D’Orazio are the highest-ranked catching prospects in the system.

Austin Pope, RHP

Pope pitched 48 games in relief during the 2023 season, 19 for Triple-A Reno and 29 for Double-A Amarillo. The 6-foot-3 right-hander finished with a 3.65 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 66.2 innings and extended his season in the Arizona Fall League.

He just turned 25, and his upper minors experience could stand out for clubs looking for answers in the bullpen. Arizona’s bullpen is coming off a terrific final stretch and postseason run. Every pitcher from Arizona’s World Series roster remains under contract.

Conor Grammes, RHP

Grammes was a 2019 fifth-round pick by Arizona and former top 10 pick in the system with a 70-grade heater. But the cancelled 2020 season and injuries held him to 22 games pitched from 2020-22. The right-hander made 40 appearances with six starts in 2023, reaching Double-A Amarillo where he produced a 3.55 ERA in 30 games.

He struck out 12.5 batters per nine innings on the season but struggled to keep runners off base. He walked 6.9 per nine innings, including 15 batters in his last 15 frames.

Mitchell Stumpo, RHP

The D-backs signed Stumpo in 2019 as an undrafted free agent after he pitched in the Indy Pro Showcase. Stumpo rose up the ranks quickly, even without a 2020 season, as he reached Triple-A by 2021. He spent all of 2022 with the Aces and had a 3.53 ERA in 43.1 innings with eight saves in a hitter’s paradise.

The right-hander started 2023 in the World Baseball Classic for Team Italy, and he threw three scoreless innings with five punch outs. The season went very differently, though. His walk and home run rates skyrocketed, and his season ERA between Triple-A and Double-A was 9.20. He went on the Development List twice. He will turn 28 next season.

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Diamondbacks to watch in upcoming Rule 5 Draft include De Los Santos, Robinson