Most pundits felt the Royals would go after left-handed pitching in the Rule 5 draft, and they did.
The Royals selected LHP Cesar Cabral, who was unprotected by the Boston Red Sox. However, the Royals immediately traded Cabral to the New York Yankees for cash.
Deals for cash or ‘cash consideration’ are always humorous to me. So to say the move of selecting then simultaneously trading Cabral was strange, would be an understatement. Apparently Cabral is used to this sort of quick-exchange rate when it comes to his services. Our funny tweet to support this statement comes from Royals’ Director of Media Relations David Holtzman.
@HoltzyKC: “Note about LHP Cabral, who was a Royal briefly this AM: In span of last year, he was property of 4 AL East clubs (BOS, TB, TOR, BOS).
So, we’ll move on from the short-lived Royals career of Cabral.
In the Triple-A phase of the draft the Royals selected another LHP, perhaps the one they actually wanted, Thomas Melgarejo.
Melgarejo is a 24-year-old Mexican, (perhaps a left-handed Mexicutioner) who threw 38 innings in 2011 for AAA Saltillo and had a 3.55 ERA and a 4-2 record. For those wondering what the hell Saltillo is—it’s a triple-A Mexican League team formally known as Saraperos de Saltillo.
He has a high career walk-rate (4.2 BB/9) but more importantly he has a high strikeout rate as well (7.1 K/9).
The Royals seemed to have gotten what most felt they were looking for coming into the Rule 5.
I can’t give you an honest assessment of what the Royals got, but the peripherals look solid on Meljarejo. The walks are an issue, but Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland has a history of correcting command problems and utilizing high strikeout pitchers, which Meljarejo appears to be.
The Rule 5 draft is essentially like buying a lottery ticket. It’s very little cost for a small chance at a huge reward. More often than not, teams gain no big-league value from their selections. But occasionally, like the Royals did in 2006 with Joakim Soria, you hit the jackpot.
Time will tell if the Royals’ were able to find another gem from Mexico.