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Cubs Protect 4 Minor Leaguers From Rule 5 Draft, Add Them to 40-Man Roster

As expected, the Cubs added prospects Brennen Davis, Ben Brown and Kevin Alcántara to their 40-man roster, protecting them from the Rule 5 draft. They also added right-handed pitcher Ryan Jensen, protecting him from the rule 5 draft.

A little background to remind you of the rule 5 draft and why the Cubs added these players now to their 40-man roster.


Held each December, the Rule 5 Draft allows clubs without a full 40-man roster to select certain non-40-man roster players from other clubs. Clubs draft in reverse order of the standings from the previous season. Players signed at age 18 or younger need to be added to their club’s 40-Man roster within five seasons or they become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Players who signed at age 19 or older need to be protected within four seasons.
Not every club will make a selection, but those that do pick a player must pay $100,000 to the club from which said player was selected. Rule 5 Draft picks are assigned directly to the drafting club’s 26-man roster and must be placed on outright waivers in order to be removed from the 26-man roster in the subsequent season. Should the player clear waivers, he must be offered back to his previous team for $50,000 and can be outrighted to the Minors only if his original club does not wish to reacquire him. A Rule 5 Draft pick can be placed on the Major League injured list, but he must be active for a minimum of 90 days to avoid being subject to the aforementioned roster restrictions in the next campaign.

TLDR: Players in the minor leagues have to be added to a team’s 40-man roster after four or five years and if they’re not then they can be eligible to be selected by another team in the rule 5 draft. If they are picked in the rule 5 draft the player has to remain on active MLB 26-man roster for at least 90 days or he has to be returned to the team he was drafted from.

So now Davis, Brown and Alcántara can’t be plucked away from the Cubs in the rule 5 draft.

Brennen Davis

The 2022 season was brutal for Brennen Davis. He was getting showered with praise in spring training and then a hit-by-pitch to his wrist slowed him down. The first month+ at Triple-A wasn’t good, with high strikeout numbers and nothing to really point at to be positive about. Davis then had surgery to fix an issue with blood vessels that were pushing up against a nerve causing pain for the outfielder.

Davis was able to return to action later in the minor-league season, which was a positive on its own, and he then appeared in the Arizona Fall League. Overall, the 2022 numbers were ugly, as Davis slashed .180/.299/.298, with five home runs in 178 at-bats.

Yet, there’s a reason why Davis is still considered by some writers as the Cubs’ top prospect. The 23-year-old will essentially treat 2023 like we all thought 2022 was going to play out. If he hits enough through the first few months with Iowa, then he could very easily make his MLB debut with the Cubs by June 2023.

Ben Brown

The Cubs acquired right-handed pitcher Ben Brown from the Phillies in exchange for reliever David Robertson back at the trade deadline. Brown, 23, had a good minor league season in the Phillies and Cubs’ farm system, recording a combined 3.38 ERA in 104 innings. Brown made seven starts at Double-A once he joined the Cubs and struck out 44 batters in 31 innings.

Kevin Alcántara

In his age 19 season, outfielder Kevin Alcántara slashed .273/.360/.451, with 15 home runs in 112 games playing at Class-A Myrtle Beach. Impressive stuff for Alcántara in his first full season as a pro.

Some are very bullish on Alcántara heading into 2023.

Ryan Jensen

The fourth player added to the 40-man roster is the Cubs’ first-round pick from 2019, Ryan Jensen. The 24-year-old made 17 starts in 2022 at Double-A. The righty had a 4.25 ERA in 59.1 innings, striking out 60 batters and walking 39. The WHIP was higher than you’d like to see at 1.40 because of the walk rate, but he did hold hitters to a .204 batting average against him.

Jensen spent time down in Arizona on the development list, working on some stuff and he came back with a new delivery and better results to end the 2022 season.

Via Bryan Smith in Bleacher Nation.

Jensen’s numbers after returning from Arizona: 43 IP, 31 H, 3.77 ERA, 25 BB, 42 K, 2 HR-A. Obviously the arm action change was not a cure-all for the issue Jensen occasionally faces in throwing consistent strikes, which is the only thing holding him back from being a 40-man lock and guy discussed in 2023 plans. But, it was better in most outings, and the slight increase in stuff quality should earn him the benefit of the doubt.

While Jensen has been a starter throughout his time in the Cubs’ organization there is always the chance that they try him out as a reliever to try and maximize his potential.

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