It has nearly a quarter of a century since MLB has added expansion teams. If it were to come in the near future, which 15 Colorado Rockies would you protect to avoid an expansion draft?
In the last year or so, Major League Baseball has been looking at some possible cities for expansion teams. Recently, MLB Trade Rumors has been doing a series on which 15 players each franchise would be most likely to protect from an expansion draft and they have yet to reach the Colorado Rockies. Additionally, our colleagues at Friars on Base looked into which 15 Padres they would protect in an expansion draft as well.
Before diving into which 15 Rockies we would protect, let’s look back on the history of recent expansion draft rules, including why it would likely be 15 Rockies protected.
In the most recent drafts, each MLB team was allowed to protect 15 players in their entire organization from being drafted from the expansion teams. In both of those expansions, there were only two expansion teams but earlier drafts have had instances of four new teams (e.g. 1968) and even some had redrafts because the expansion’s teams rosters were so bad (e.g. the 1961 draft for the Mets and Colt .45s, later known as the Astros, had a second phase in 1963 because of this).
In 1997, when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks were added, here were the rules that had to be followed.
- For the first round, 15 players from the rosters of their entire organization
- Each team could add three more players to its protected list after each round (there were only a total of three rounds)
- No team could lose more than one player in a given round.
- All players in an organization were eligible to be drafted with two exceptions
- Those with no prior major-league experience who had less than three years of minor league service if signed at age 19 or older
- Those with less than four years of service if signed at age 18 or younger.
- Players who were free agents after the end of the 1997 season need not be protected.
Let’s dive into the 15 players we were to protect if an expansion draft were to be held today.