Sox raid Yankees system for RHP in Rule 5 draft


The Red Sox raided the Yankees for help in Thursday's Rule 5 draft, selecting right-hander Garrett Whitlock with the fourth overall selection.

Whitlock, who is recovering from 2019 Tommy John surgery, ranked as New York's No. 18 prospect entering that season and has a chance to stick with the Red Sox as a reliever.

The big sinkerballer hit 95 mph as a starter, but relies primarily on a sinker-slider combo that yielded one of the best groundball rates in the minors in 2019 (1.71).

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All but four of Whitlock's 42 minor league appearances have come as a starter, with the 6-foot-5, 190-pounder going 12-8 with a 2.41 ERA overall. Though the 24-year-old is now nearly 18 months removed from Tommy John, he's more likely in the short term to stick with the Red Sox as a multi-inning reliever.

They must keep him on their big league roster all season or offer him back to the Yankees for $50,000.

Drafted in the 18th round of the 2017 draft out of Alabama-Birmingham, Whitlock overcame humble beginnings to land on New York's prospect radar. It helped that he threw 31 scoreless innings in 2018 before earning a promotion to Double A.

Whitlock went 3-3 in 2019 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts before injuring his elbow and undergoing Tommy John that July.

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The Red Sox did not make their second-round selection in the Rule 5. In the minor league portion of the draft, they selected Rangers first baseman Tyreque Reed, who does not need to be placed on the 40-man roster. The 23-year-old smacked 18 home runs in both 2018 and 2019.