The Rule 5 draft is a draft to combat big minor league systems. Basically, a player can be taken out of another team's minor league organization for $100k. Except it's a lot more complicated than that, and that's why I will be explaining the Rule 5 Draft.
The Rule 5 in the Rule 5 Draft refers to it's position in the rulebook as "Rule 5". The more common draft (First year player draft) is also known as the Rule 4 draft for the same reason.
In the Rule 5 Draft, not every player is eligible. Players have to meet some specific requirements:
Cannot be on the 40 Man Roster
If they were signed at 18 or younger, they must have played in the organization for 5 years
If they were signed at 19 or older, they must have played in the organization for 4 years
The teams selecting also have to meet some requirements:
They must have space on their 40 man roster
They must have at least $100k in their budget
GMs will usually put eligible rule 5 selections on their 40 man roster if they want to have them in their organization.
Even after the Rule 5 Draft, the players selected still have to follow some rules for a year:
The team that selected them must keep them on their 26 Man Active Roster
They can be traded or waived, but the player's new team still has to keep them on their 26 man roster
They CAN be sent back to their original team. The player has to go unclaimed on waivers. If that happens, then their original team can accept or decline. If they choose to decline, the player remains on his current team, and he loses something that is called Rule 5 status. That will be explained below. If the player's original team accepts, then the player goes back to their original team and they also lose rule 5 status.
Selected players cannot be sent down to the minors for at least another year
Rule 5 Status: They need to follow the set of rules below. If they lose Rule 5 Status, then the above rules don't apply. When a player is selected in the Rule 5 Draft, then they automatically gain Rule 5 Status. After 1 year, the player always loses Rule 5 Status.
If that doesn't really make sense, check out the picture below that I got from this video:
Credit to Outta Here Baseball. I love to watch their videos, and they always have great content.
The actual draft is like this:
Worst team always picks first
Best team always picks last
Teams judged on record
Teams can skip picks
Only about 15 players get drafted
There aren't many players of note that get Rule 5 drafted.
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