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Raynel Espinal (Matt Bufano)

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Yankees Lose Four Prospects in MiLB Rule 5 Draft

While the Yankees only lost one player in the major league portion of the annual Rule 5 draft, they were not so lucky in the minor league phase of the draft.  In total, the Yankees lost four players in the minor league Rule 5 draft.

Unlike the major league phase of the draft, players do not have to meet any requirements to stay with the club that selected them.  All four players are now members of their new organizations and do not have to be returned to the Yankees.

Those selected included right-handed pitchers Hobie Harris, Will Carter, and Raynel Espinal as well as infielder Wendell Rijo.  Harris was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays, Carter was taken by the Chicago White Sox, Espinal will now pitch for the Boston Red Sox, and Rijo is now with the Atlanta Braves.

Harris, 26, has been with the Yankees organization since being drafted in the 31st round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of the University of Pittsburgh.  In 129 minor league appearances out of the bullpen, he owns an 11-14 record with a 3.23 career ERA and 263 strikeouts over 226 innings of work.  Harris spent all the 2019 season in Class-A Advanced Tampa after reaching as high as Double-A Trenton in 2018.

Carter, 26, was a 14th round draft pick of the Yankees in the 2015 draft out of the University of Alabama.  Originally a starter, he moved to the bullpen prior to the 2018 season and has pitched out of the pen since.  In 95 career minor league games he owns a 9-15 record with a 4.61 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 290 2/3 innings pitched.  He reached as high as Triple-A Scranton in 2019 while working as a reliever.

Espinal, 28, was initially signed by the Yankees as an international free agent on September 27, 2012.  Since then he posted a 24-24 record with a 3.32 ERA over 139 games, 30 starts, with 411 strikeouts over 347 1/3 innings of work.  Espinal has the potential to be an MLB pitcher sooner, rather than later.  This past season he worked primarily as a starter for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, pitching to a 4.32 ERA and a 5-7 Record with 79 strikeouts over 75 innings in 18 games.

Rijo, 24, was acquired by the Yankees via draft on June 16, 2018, from the Milwaukee Brewers. He was initially signed as a free agent by the Boston Red Sox before being traded to Milwaukee on July 7, 2016.  In 647 career minor league games he hit .240/.319/.362 with 137 doubles, 10 triples, 37 home runs, and 37 RBIs.  Rijo got his first taste of Triple-A this past season, playing 43 games for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders where he hit .270/.324/.496.

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