Diamondbacks lose No. 5 prospect Deyvison De Los Santos to Guardians in MLB Rule 5 Draft

Dec 6, 2023, 1:20 PM | Updated: 3:24 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks prospects Deyvison De Los Santos...

Arizona Diamondbacks prospects Deyvison De Los Santos and Jordan Lawlar before a spring training game on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in Peoria. (Arizona Sports/Alex Weiner).

(Arizona Sports/Alex Weiner)

The Cleveland Guardians picked up Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Deyvison De Los Santos in Wednesday’s Rule 5 Draft at the winter meetings.

De Los Santos was the No. 5 prospect ranked by MLB Pipeline, a power-hitting corner infielder who belted 42 home runs over the last two seasons.

The 20-year-old was not protected by the D-backs on the 40-man roster, leaving him vulnerable to the Rule 5 Draft. He first signed with the team as a 16-year-old in 2019.

He joins Cleveland’s 26-man roster, jumping from Double-A Amarillo to the major leagues.

This does not necessarily mean De Los Santos’ tenure with the D-backs is over, although the ball is in the Guardians’ court.

A player picked in the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft must remain on the active roster for the entire upcoming season. He cannot be optioned.

If the selecting team wants to move their draftee off the 26-man roster, he must be waived (same rules apply for a team that picks him up on waivers). If the player clears waivers, he gets offered back to the club he was picked off of.

D-backs general manager Mike Hazen told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo, “We sort of anticipated this, you never know how these things go.” He alluded to former Diamondbacks prospect Dominic Canzone going unpicked in last year’s Rule 5 Draft despite being eligible.

As for the reasoning to leaving De Los Santos off the 40-man roster, Hazen explained the difficulties of having a Double-A player taking a spot.

“We love Deyvison. He’s a young power hitter, he’s got huge power,” Hazen said. “When you’re talking about adding to the roster coming off the season we had, where the roster stands, it becomes harder, your roster gets deeper. Everybody wants that at the major league level as you’re competing. The downstream effect of that is over protecting your minor league system, you have to take more risks to leave guys exposed.

“… Eventually we start calling guys up like (Andrew) Saalfrank, like (Slade) Cecconi, like (Bryce) Jarvis as we go through the season. We have to add those guys to the 40 and the 26 at the same time. Those are spots and if you outright Deyvison De Los Santos during the year, you’re basically handing him away while he has options. He’s 100% getting taken by the first team that can claim him, now it just becomes harder. So it’s more of a strategic move.”

The Guardians missed the postseason in 2023 with 76 wins, finishing No. 26 in runs per game at 4.09. They won the MLB Draft lottery on Tuesday and now have De Los Santos, the top-ranked prospect available in the Rule 5 Draft.

De Los Santos had a rocky start to the 2023 season with Amarillo and was placed on the development list on July 1 to work on his game in Arizona away from competition. After his return two weeks later, he caught fire with a .313/.333/.573 slash line and 13 homers in 51 games down the stretch.

He earned the organization’s Minor League Player of the Month award for July after winning the award twice in 2022. De Los Santos helped Amarillo capture the Texas League crown with an OPS over 1.000 in the playoffs.

The Diamondbacks entered the Rule 5 Draft with 38 players on the 40-man roster. They protected left-handed pitching prospect Blake Walston from selection.

Diamondbacks lose Seth Beer

In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Diamondbacks minor leaguer Seth Beer.

Beer was a key component of Arizona’s return from the Houston Astros for Zack Greinke in 2019 but never found his footing in the major leagues. His claim to fame with the D-backs was an Opening Day walk-off home run in 2022 against the San Diego Padres on National Beer Day.

The 27-year-old spent the 2023 season in the minors, getting designated for assignment and outrighted in May. He was with Double-A Amarillo for 83 games and had a .869 OPS with 13 homers.

The D-backs also lost 20-year-old catcher Luis Caicuto to the Philadelphia Phillies. Caicuto played nine games last year in the Arizona Complex League.

Whom did the Diamondbacks take in the Rule 5 Draft?

Arizona passed on its pick in the MLB phase as most teams did, but it added three prospects in the Triple-A portion.

The D-backs took 21-year-old right-handed pitcher Darlin Pinales from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system with their first pick. Arizona’s new farm director Shaun Larkin came from the Dodgers.

Pinales pitched in 20 games with four starts last season, and most of his outings came in rookie ball.

Arizona also nabbed 26-year-old infielder Andy Weber from the Chicago Cubs. Weber was a fifth-round pick in 2018 out of Virginia and played college ball with Diamondbacks players Pavin Smith and Jake McCarthy.

Weber was at one point a top 30 prospect in Chicago, per MLB Pipeline, but has not played beyond Double-A. He produced a .668 OPS in 106 games last season, hitting five home runs and 19 doubles as a left-handed bat.

The Diamondbacks’ third and final pick was right-handed pitcher John Matthews from the Texas Rangers. Matthews, 25, was an eighth-round pick in 2019 but also has not reached Triple-A. He made 32 appearances last year, 31 in relief, and had an 8.06 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 44.2 innings. He spent time on the development list.

Overall, 73 players were selected, 10 in the MLB portion and 63 in the MiLB phase.

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