The Royals lost two minor-league pitchers in the annual Rule 5 draft Thursday, which concluded the Winter Meetings at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.
In the first round of the draft, the Detroit Tigers selected left-hander Daniel Stumpf, who was selected in the Rule 5 last year by Philadelphia and ultimately returned to the Royals. The Toronto Blue Jays also selected right-hander Glenn Sparkman, who pitched at four levels in 2016 after returning from Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2015.
Both players must immediately be added to the 40-man roster and remain on the 25-man roster all season or be returned to the Royals for half ($25,000) of the $50,000 acquisition cost.
In the minor-league portion of the draft, the Royals selected right-handed pitcher Kelvin Magallanes from the Yankees’ system. Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said the club liked Magallanes’ consistent ground-ball rate. In 160 2/3 minor-league innings across five seasons, he has not allowed a homer.
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“It was that skill that attracted us,” Picollo said. “It’s one skill that you try to identify and he stood out quite a bit.”
Magallanes, 22, will likely pitch in Rookie ball or at Class A Lexington in 2016. The club views him as a solid flier for the low minors.
Stumpf, 25, allowed six earned runs in seven appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2016. He was also suspended 80 games after violating Major League Baseball’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs. After returning to the Royals’ organization, he posted a 2.11 ERA as a reliever at Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
Sparkman, 24, is a former 20th-round pick out of Wharton County (Texas) Junior College. A 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-hander, he recorded a 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings at Northwest Arkansas after stints at three lower levels.
“I can’t say it was a surprise,” Picollo said of losing two pitchers. “You just hope certain guys get through, and they were two guys we were hoping to keep.”
Players are eligible to be drafted in the Rule 5 draft if they are not on a team’s 40-man roster and have spent four or five years in an organization, depending on their age when they were signed.