NEW YORK — The Mets left one of their top defensive prospects exposed in the Rule 5 draft on Tuesday as they made no additions of 40 players by the deadline.
The team opted not to protect outfielder Jake Mangum, who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time. Mangum, the club’s fourth-round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, was limited to 72 games this season due to a stress reaction in his spine. He’s considered old for a prospect at 26 and doesn’t rank among the Mets’ top 30 prospects in MLB Pipeline. But he’s widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in the organization at any position, which could attract rival teams.
The Rule 5 draft is scheduled for Dec. 7 during the winter meetings in San Diego. Players who signed their first professional contract at age 18 or younger must be added to 40-player rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. 19 or older must be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player from the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft. If that player does not remain on the 25-player roster for the entire season, he must be offered to his former team for $50,000.
Although Consuegra — ranked the Mets’ 23rd prospect by MLB Pipeline — is rated higher than Mangum, he’s 22 and has no experience above the Class A ball, making him less likely to be drafted. Mangum, on the other hand, is a former Mississippi State star who played 144 games in the upper minors. If he went unclaimed in the Rule 5 draft, Mangum would have a strong chance of making New York’s Opening Day roster as a reserve outfielder. But another team could take a chance on Mangum, a dynamic center fielder who holds MSU’s hitting record.
The Mets have eight openings on their 40-man roster, but they’ll need to use several on pitchers to round out their roster.
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