Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/20/14
The Pittsburgh Pirates set their 40-man roster today, adding five players and protecting those players from the upcoming Rule 5 draft on December 6th. The list below includes the players who were left unprotected for the draft. Before I get to the list, I want to point out a mistake on Gift Ngoepe’s eligibility. Ngoepe signed with the Pirates in late-2008 at the age of 18. This would have been his fifth Rule 5 draft since he signed, which is the first draft an 18-year-old signee would be eligible for. However, because he didn’t play in 2008, the 2008 season and the 2008 draft don’t count. He would still be eligible for his fifth Rule 5 draft, but that count begins with the 2009 draft, not the 2008 draft. This situation came up a few years ago with Diego Moreno. Moreno signed after the 2006 VSL season ended. For that reason, he wasn’t eligible until the 2011 Rule 5 draft, rather than the 2010 draft. When I was looking at Ngoepe’s eligibility I forgot about Moreno’s situation. I was actually thinking of Starling Marte’s situation, where he wasn’t eligible because he signed after the 2006 draft took place. Since Ngoepe signed before the Rule 5 draft, I thought he would be eligible, not remembering the “Diego Moreno” rule. In short, the Pirates didn’t have to protect him, and he’s not eligible for the upcoming draft. Of the guys below who are eligible, the notables are as follows: Kyle Kaminska - This was probably the biggest surprise to me, even when I thought Ngoepe was eligible. It’s not that Kaminska has a history of strong numbers. It’s that the Pirates have invested a lot in him in such a short time, only to leave him unprotected. It’s hard to break down the Miami trade which sent a compensation pick and Gorkys Hernandez for Gaby Sanchez and Kaminska. We can’t pair the four pieces up and say what the Pirates traded for Kaminska. But you could argue that trading a compensation pick for Sanchez is a questionable move, and becomes less questionable if Kaminska pans out. The Pirates moved him to the rotation almost immediately, making a few adjustments which seemed to have worked. He had good results in limited time in Double-A, and then was one of the better pitchers in the league in the AFL. After all of that, it was a surprise to see him left unprotected. Nate Baker Nate Baker - Baker is a lefty reliever now, after having control problems this year and converting from a starter. He was much better in relief, seeing an increase in his velocity in the process. There’s a chance that he could get taken, since left-handers are in value, although I doubt he’d stick all year since he’s struggled with control problems at times. Jeff Inman - I’m a bit surprised by Hunter Strickland being protected, just because he doesn’t really stand out from other guys on the list below. Inman, for example, is also a hard thrower with poor numbers in Altoona and has dealt with injury problems in the past. They’re two very similar pitchers, but the Pirates protected Strickland and left Inman unprotected. It’s not that Strickland didn’t deserve it. He’s got great stuff, as I noted in Spring Training on three occasions. I would say that Inman deserved it just as much, and would be just as much of a risk to be taken as Strickland. Jarek Cunningham - No risk to be taken, due to his poor hitting in Double-A. He’s notable because of his power potential from the middle infield. Eric Avila - Not a risk to be taken in the draft, although he’s notable for hitting for a .291/.328/.564 line and 11 homers in 165 at-bats after the break in West Virginia this year. Michael Colla - He probably won’t be drafted, but I could see him as middle relief depth for the majors at some point next year. Here’s the list of players who are eligible. The Pirates wouldn’t lose any of these players for good unless the player was drafted and the drafting team kept that player on the 25-man roster all year. First time Eligibles Ashley Ponce, SS Benjamin Gonzalez, SS Carlos Paulino, C Elevys Gonzalez, 3B Elias Diaz, C Evan Chambers, CF Francisco Aponte, 1B Gavi Nivar, P Jarek Cunningham, 2B Jeffrey Inman, P Joan Montero, P Jodaneli Carvajal, 2B Jorge Bishop, 2B Junior Sosa, OF Nathan Baker, P Porfirio Lopez, P Quinton Miller, P Rinku Singh, P Ryan Beckman, P Samuel Gonzalez, C Yhonathan Barrios, SS Zachary Fuesser, P Previously Eligible Aaron Poreda, P Aaron Pribanic, P Anderson Hernandez, 2B Andrew Lambo, RF Andy Vasquez, LF Charles Cutler, C Eliecer Navarro, P Emmanuel De Leon, P Eric Avila, 3B Erik Turgeon, P Francisco Diaz,  C Jeff Larish, OF Jeremy Farrell, 3B Jhonatan Ramos, P Kenn Kasparek, P Kris Johnson, P Kyle Kaminska, P Michael Colla, P Quincy Latimore, LF Stefan Welch, 3B Tim Alderson, P Zachary Foster, P
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