Baseball Basics: What is the Rule 5 Draft? Baseball Basics: What is the Rule 5 Draft? Baseball Basics: What is the Rule 5 Draft?

Baseball Basics: What is the Rule 5 Draft?

What is the RULE 5 DRAFT in Major League Baseball?


The Rule 5 Draft was generated to stop MLB teams from stockpiling minor league prospects indefinitely in their farm system. With the Rule 5 Draft a player has an opportunity to be picked up by a team who is willing to play him in the Majors.


The Rule 5 Draft happens in December at the annual Winter Meetings of all 30 MLB teams General Managers. This off-season’s Winter Meetings begin on December 5th, with the Rule 5 Draft scheduled for the last day of the Winter Meetings, which is on December 8th.


Any minor league player, who has been retained for three, (signed at age 19) or four years, (signed at age 18); and are still not on their respective club’s 40-man roster. Minor leaguers’ who are on the team’s 40-man roster before the fixed time expires are protected, or ineligible to be drafted under Rule 5.

MLB Teams with no open spots on their 40-man roster are not allowed to partake in the Rule 5 Draft.

The Rule 5 Draft allows for a team to steal a raw, top prospect from another club who deems the player is not close to Major League ready in terms of their team. These are diamonds in the rough and are rarely found, but one example of a successful Rule 5 drafted is two-time CY Young winner Johan Santana.


Let’s say TEAM B drafts a player under Rule 5 form TEAM C; under Rule 5 means the draftee has not been added to TEAM C’s 40-man-roster during the allotted time period.

Under Rule 5, TEAM B pays $50,000 to TEAM C for the draftee. If TEAM B plans to keep the draftee, he must stay on TEAM B’s 25-man roster for the full season after the draft.

To prevent TEAM B from exploiting the Rule 5 draftees by shoving him on the DL for the season, the draftee must be active for a minimum of 90 days with TEAM B. For example, if the Rule 5 draftee is active for 59 days in his first season, he must be active for the outstanding 31 days during his second season to fulfill the Rule 5 prerequisite.

TEAM B does have the right to waive the Rule 5 draftee at anytime, which releases the player and allows him to be signed by another MLB team.

If the Rule 5 player clears waivers but does not get picked up by another MLB club, it cancels the Rule 5 draft choice and the player goes back to his original team, which is TEAM C.

If the draftee does not stay on TEAM B’s 25-man roster all season, the player is offered back to their original club, or in this case TEAM C, for half-the-price, or $25,000.

All Rule 5 draftees are trade eligible but all Rule 5 restraints transfer to the new team acquiring him.

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