KANSAS CITY -- The Royals must decide by Friday if they want to protect any Rule 5 Draft-eligible Minor Leaguers by placing them on their 40-man roster.
Some of Kansas City's Minor Leaguers under consideration for protection include left-hander Daniel Stumpf, who was taken by the Phillies in last December's Rule 5 Draft and then returned last summer; right-handers Jake Junis (the Royals' No. 9 prospect per MLBPipeline.com) and Andrew Edwards (No. 21); and first baseman Samir Duenez.
Players taken in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on a team's 25-man roster the entire season or be returned to their former club. Players eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft are those not on the 40-man roster signed at 19 or older who have played for four years, or those signed at 18 with five years of playing time.
The Royals have 40 players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
Here's more information about some of the players at the top of the list for consideration to be protected:
Stumpf: The Royals lost Stumpf last December to the Phillies, but his chances there were diminished when he was suspended for 80 games in April for taking a performance-enhancing drug. When he was cleared to play, he pitched five innings and gave up six runs, and Philadelphia returned him to Kansas City. Stumpf is a left-hander with good stuff.
Junis: In 21 starts at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Junis, 24, posted a 3.25 ERA and then was promoted to Triple-A Omaha. In six starts there, he posted a 7.20 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. But the Royals believe Junis is a smart pitcher who adapts to each league quickly, and he could be stashed in a big league team's bullpen.
Edwards: A big guy (6-foot-6, 265 pounds) with a big arm (sits at 95-96 mph and touches 100 mph), Edwards, 25, is a full-time closer, and Kansas City believes he has a high ceiling. A 19th-round Draft pick in 2013, he has advanced quickly through the system because of that power arm. Edwards dominated this year at Double-A, posting a 0.50 ERA in 10 games. He was quickly promoted to Triple-A, where he had his ups and downs -- a 5.40 ERA in 32 games.
Duenez: Signed out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old, Duenez, now 20, has shot through the system. He started last season at low Class A Lexington, advanced to Class A Advanced Wilmington and finished at Double-A. Duenez, a left-handed hitter, put together a combined 100-RBI season at those stops, with 13 homers while hitting .284.
Some other names under consideration for protection are catcher Cam Gallagher, shortstop/third baseman Mauricio Ramos, right-hander Glenn Sparkman and left-hander Jonathan Dziedzic.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.