The Rays did not make a selection in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft which was not a surprise as that has not been a part of the Friedman plan in recent years. There was speculation that the franchise might lose RHP's Marquis Fleming or Nick Barnese, but fortunately for the Rays that did not come to fruition.
The Rays did lose two players in the minor league phase however. Catcher Gerardo Olivares was selected in the AAA phase by the Boston Red Sox and infielder Matt Sweeney was chosen by the Baltimore Orioles in the AA portion.Under the rules of the draft, the team will receive $12,000 for Olivares and $4,000 for Sweeney. Unlike the major league portion neither player is subject to any type of roster requirements, which means that they are officially no longer members of the organization. Selections in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft rarely develop into Major League players and are typically chosen to help organizations gain depth in their farm system's.
Olivares played in only 24 games for the Short-Season A Hudson Valley Renegades in 2011. In 84 at bats he hit .298/.355/.488 with 2 home runs and 18 runs batted in. The 22 year old has a career .262 average in five minor league seasons and has displayed a strong arm by throwing out 42 percent of runners attempting to steal.
Sweeney, who was an 8th round pick by the Angels in the 2006 MLB June Amateur Draft, was acquired by the Rays as part of the Scott Kazmir deal. Last season for AA Montgomery he hit .154/.262/.282 in 305 plate appearances. The infielder split time between first and third base and hit 7 home runs and drove in 29 runners. He is a .247 career hitter in the minors.
Last season the Rays lost pitcher Aneury Rodriguez to the Houston Astros in the major league phase. He would go on to post a 5.23 earned run average in 43 appearances while striking out 64 hitters in 83.1 innings pitched.
John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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