There's lots of paperwork being filed over at MLB this week, since Friday afternoon is the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster if they wish to protect them from December's Rule 5 Draft. Last year the Braves protected Diory Hernandez, Stephen Marek and Todd Redmond. The rules for eligibility are pretty difficult to interpret, but I did some VERY rough back-of-the-napkin math to look at who might be eligible for the Braves. I keep a list of about 90 Braves prospects just to keep an eye on their stats over the course of the season, and here are the names my quick-and-dirty check revealed, listed in order of the level at which they finished the year, upper levels first (Because I didn't look at every player, remember that there could be eligibles not listed, but they likely aren't significant players):
C Matt Kennelly; IFs J.C. Holt, Van Pope, Cole Miles, Samuel Sime, Daniel Falcon; OFs Willie Cabrera, Matt Young, Concepcion Rodriguez, Jon Mark Owings, Luis Sumoza, L.V. Ware; RHPs Ryne Reynoso, Kyle Cofield, Rudy Darrow, Deunte Heath, Jeff Lyman, Erik Cordier, Michael Broadway, Angelo Paulino, Luis Avilan; LHPs Jonny Venters, Kevin Gunderson, Cole Rohrbough, Edgar Osuna, Jose Ortegano, Eric Barrett, Lee Hyde, Steve Kent
Keep in mind a drafted player has to be added to his team's 25-man roster, so a guy from the GCL like Daniel Falcon or Luis Avilan isn't going to get picked. (They are nonetheless eligible, since if you sign at age 16, you're eligible for the draft at age 20.) David O'Brien has already told us that Lee Hyde is likely to parlay his strong AFL work into a 40-man roster spot, but that leaves six roster spots unfilled (though the Braves are highly unlikely to fill all of those). Who else do I think is potentially worth keeping around?
OF Matt Young: Young isn't really young (he'll be 27 next season), and he's already as good as he's ever going to get, but he's speedy, plays hard, and can handle lots of positions, including second base and center field. Teams have done worse with their 25th roster spot.
RHP Jeff Lyman: Found his groove at Mississippi when he pitched out of the bullpen, and can get right-handed hitters out (though he struggles vs. LHBs). Not a great showing in Arizona, but the fact that he was sent out there shows that the Braves are thinking about keeping him.
RHP Erik Cordier: The swag from the Tony Pena Jr. deal, Cordier's dealt with injuries galore since being traded to the Braves. But scouting reports on him remain pretty strong, and there's still a chance the Braves can turn him into a bullpen arm. His injury history makes him pretty unlikely to get drafted, though.
LHP Cole Rohrbough: Now here's a major tough call. Rohrbough was seen as a major breakthrough candidate going into 2009, considering his left-handedness and his excellent stuff. But some injuries, ineffectiveness and confidence issues destroyed his 2009 campaign. If I'm a team like the Royals, I take a chance on a guy with this much talent, but the Braves may opt to leave him out there and hope other clubs won't be able to look past his 5.77 ERA.
LHP Edgar Osuna: The crafty soft-tossing lefty came into the season ranked as the Braves 17th-best prospect by Baseball America, and posted another solid campaign even while moving up to Double-A. He's no star, but he's doing well in relief in the Mexican Winter League, and some team will look hard at snagging him as a bullpen arm if the Braves don't protect him.
LHP Jose Ortegano: Much like Osuna, he's a lefty without great stuff, but who had a nice season between Myrtle Beach and Mississippi. Probably not as likely to go as Osuna, but he's still a guy that other teams could definitely view as a middle relief candidate.
End of the day, I'll take Hyde, Rohrbough, Osuna, and one of Ortegano, Lyman and Young.