Alcantara protected on Angels' 40-man roster

Alcantara protected on Angels' 40-man roster

ANAHEIM -- The Angels selected the contract of pitching prospect Victor Alcantara on Friday, adding the 22-year-old right-hander to the 40-man roster in order to protect him from exposure to the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

With Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis recently dealt to the Braves for shortstop Andrelton Simmons, MLB.com has Alcantara listed as the Angels' top-rated prospect.

Hot Stove Tracker

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic four years ago, Alcantara had a rough season in the hitter-friendly California League in 2015, posting a 5.62 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP in 136 innings for Class A Advanced Inland Empire, striking out 8.3 batters and walking 3.8 per nine innings.

But Alcantara had a respectable season for Class A Burlington in 2014 -- 3.81 ERA, 1.26 WHIP -- and he boasts an impressive repertoire, with an upper-90s fastball and a solid slider.

Angels Top 30 Prospects

Players who were drafted at 19 or older and have played four seasons in the pros, or were drafted at 18 or younger and have gone through five seasons, are eligible for the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place Dec. 10.

A player selected in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on the active roster the entire season or be offered back to his original club, a big reason why infielder Taylor Featherston spent all of 2015 with the Angels.

The Angels still have five open spots on their 40-man roster, but their farm system is devoid of talent in the upper levels and there's a slim chance any of their unprotected players will get selected. A couple who may have a chance are second baseman Alex Yarbrough and left-handed reliever Chris O'Grady.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.