Blue Jays Add RHP Glenn Sparkman in Rule 5 Draft

As is customary Winter Meetings procedure, the Rule 5 Draft was held this morning in Washington D.C., with teams able to take a flyer on select minor leaguers for a price of only $100,000, but must keep them on the roster all season. The Blue Jays took advantage of this last season and struck gold with reliever Joe Biagini, and they hope they have done so again with Glenn Sparkman, a 24-year-old righty from the Kanas City Royals organization.

Sparkman was selected in the 20th round of the amateur draft by the Royals in 2013 out of junior college, and has been a starter in the minor leagues thus far. He had Tommy John surgery in late 2015 and thus he spend 2016 rehabbing with (almost) the Royals’ full slot of minor league teams, going from rookie ball to AA ball during the year. He ended the year at the same level where he finished 2015, with the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals. For the year, he had a 5.22 ERA across 60 1/3 innings pitched. The big thing to like however is that he struck out 65 batters to just 10 walks, a sparkling 6.50 K:BB ratio.

The Blue Jays will likely want Sparkman to compete for a bullpen role in 2017 like Joe Biagini did this past season, sliding in at the middle innings and slowly working his way into more high leverage spots. If he struggles, he can always be returned to the Royals and they’ll have just paid a slight cost for the lottery ticket.

FanGraphs had the following to say about him prior to the 2016 season:

“He has a lot of deception with his delivery, using a slow-to-fast tempo that is tough for hitters to time up. The Royals prefer pitchers focusing on one breaking ball during development, though there is ongoing discussion over whether his slider or curve is more projectable. He’s not a big power guy but commands his fastball very well. Assuming he comes back fully healthy, there’s a chance he turns his deception and command into middle to back-end starter role.”

They gave him these grades on his pitches (current/likely future/90th percentile):

Fastball: 50/55/55 Slider: 40/45/50 Curveball: 45/50/55 Changeup:45/50/50 Command: 45/50/55
Overall: 40/45/50

This is Sparkman’s scouting report video from

The Blue Jays didn’t lose anybody in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft.

During the minor league portion, the Blue Jays selected High-A RHP Philip Waltby, a reliever with solid strikeout numbers but high walk totals. They lost double-A SS Jorge Flores to the Phillies and double-A C Jorge Saez to the Yankees, as well as $2M bonus baby Matt Smoral. The 6’8″ former second round pick who has struggled with injury and command issues in the minors was selected by the Texas Rangers.

Lead Photo: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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