Crew protects top prospect from Rule 5 Draft

Shortstop Arcia highlights trio added to Milwaukee's 40-man roster

Crew protects top prospect from Rule 5 Draft

MILWAUKEE -- Top Brewers prospect Orlando Arcia was among three players added to the club's 40-man roster on Friday, the deadline to protect eligible players from next month's Rule 5 Draft.

In addition to the 21-year-old shortstop, the Brewers also protected relievers Jacob Barnes and Damien Magnifico by adding them to a 40-man roster that is up to 38 players. Among those left unprotected are power-hitting outfielder Victor Roache, a former first-round Draft pick who ranks No. 22 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 30 Brewers Prospects, and former Rule 5 Draft pick Wei-Chung Wang, who spent much of the 2014 season in the Majors with Milwaukee.

Arcia was a sure bet to be protected. Playing for a Double-A Biloxi team that went to the Southern League Championship Series, the 21-year-old led the Brewers' system with 157 hits while posting career highs in home runs (eight), RBIs (69) and batting average (.307). He was a runaway winner for the organization's Minor League Player of the Year Award.

"He is a natural leader, not necessarily a kid that has to be loud, but just the way he goes about the game. It speaks for itself. All players look up to him," Biloxi manager Carlos Subero told MiLB.com. "If it's a tight ballgame in the seventh, you want Orlando up. He wants to be up there, and he'll deliver. ... He's a kid that, with help and God-willing, he'll definitely be an impact at the Major League level soon."

Barnes, a 25-year-old right-hander, boosted his stock with a stellar showing in the Arizona Fall League, where he made eight scoreless appearances and struck out 17 batters vs. three walks in 11 2/3 innings. At Biloxi in the regular season, he had a 3.36 ERA in six starts plus 33 games in relief. Barnes was a 14th-round Draft pick in 2011.

Magnifico, a 24 year-old right-hander, served as Biloxi's closer for much of 2015. He had a 1.17 ERA and 20 saves in 42 appearances before joining Barnes in the AFL.

The trio joined five other would-be Rule 5 Draft eligible players who had already been added to Milwaukee's 40-man roster as September callups. Those players were pitchers Yhonathan Barrios, Zach Davies, Adrian Houser and Jorge Lopez and outfielder Michael Reed.

Had any of those players been left off the roster, they would have been available to the 29 other teams in the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place Dec. 10 on the final day of the Winter Meetings in Nashville. Eligible players include those who signed before turning 18 years old and have been in an organization for five years, or players who were 19 or older when they signed and have been in an organization for four years.

Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player and must keep him on the big league roster all season, or offer him back to his former team for $25,000.

That's how the Brewers acquired Wang from the Pirates at the 2013 Winter Meetings, opting to take a flier on a left-handed pitcher who had never pitched above rookie ball. Wang struggled in the Majors (10.90 ERA in 14 games) before heading to the disabled list, but the Brewers got him through the year and returned him to their Minor League system for the start of 2015.

At the start, Wang's struggles continued at advanced Class A Brevard County, where he owned a 5.93 ERA after 12 starts. But after the Brewers removed him from their 40-man roster, he allowed zero or one earned run in 11 of his final 14 starts, the last coming at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Also unprotected Friday was Roache, the 28th overall pick in the 2012 Draft. In parts of three Minor League seasons, he has batted .243 with 58 home runs and 199 RBIs in 371 games. For another team to take a flier on the 24-year-old during the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, it would probably have to be convinced Roache's power would show up in an unfamiliar pinch-hitting role.

In alphabetical order, here are some other notable players left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft:

• Former first-round Draft pick Jed Bradley, who converted to relief in 2015 and pitched to a 6.60 ERA at Biloxi and Colorado Springs.

• Right-hander Hiram Burgos, a onetime prospect who rebounded from a shoulder injury to post a 3.35 ERA in 15 late-season starts for Colorado Springs.

• Right-hander Jorge Ortega, a command specialist who went 10-9 with a 2.38 ERA in 23 games (21 starts) at the top two levels of the system and issued only 12 walks in 147 2/3 innings.

• Infielder Hernan Perez, who spent most of last season with the Brewers and was briefly a free agent before re-signing with Milwaukee on a Minor League deal.

• Left-hander Brent Suter, who was 8-4 with a 2.36 ERA in 26 games, 17 starts last season between Biloxi and Colorado Springs.

• Adam Weisenburger, a defensive catcher who has logged significant time in recent big league Spring Training camps.

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