Rule 5 picks don’t stick very often. Making a big league roster out of spring training is tough enough, and sticking through an entire season is even more difficult. There’s a chance one of these two — or both — will come back to the Yankees, but they’re both interesting Rule 5 selections who honestly might have a shot.
Truth be told, the Yankees might not miss them. There’s so much upper-level pitching talent that these two were easily lost in the shuffle, but there’s legitimate talent here. I’ve been a Kontos believer since I saw him in ’09.
25 years old
His first three professional seasons were good, but they never pushed Kontos out of the shadows of the Yankees pitching-rish system. He was beginning to establish himself with a terrific 2009 – including a strong series of starts in Triple-A – but his elbow gave out during a start in Gwinnett and Kontos needed Tommy John surgery. The injury got him through last year’s Rule 5, but he returned this season to post pretty good numbers out of the Double-A bullpen (his first relief experience). When healthy, Kontos has some life on his fastball and a good slider. Improved command was making a significant difference in 2009, and if that continues, he could stick with the Padres in some capacity, probably in the bullpen. Heading into the draft, Kontos seemed to be the Yankee most likely to go.
27 years old
Very similar to Kontos, actually. Pendleton also had Tommy John – much earlier in his career than Kontos – and that’s kept him in the shadows of the Yankees pitching prospects. He’s been largely overlooked despite steady numbers at every level. There’s nothing flashy about Pendleton, and his age keeps him off most prospect lists, but he had 133 strikeouts, a .218 opponents batting average and a 3.61 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A last season. His 4.24 ERA in six Scranton outings is inflated by one six-run start. The Yankees have enough upper-level pitching that Pendleton might not be missed, but the Astros have enough holes that he could legitimately make the team as a starter or a reliever. As Patrick Teale pointed out at Pinstripes Plus, Pendleton missed enough time early in his career that his arm doesn’t have the mileage his age might suggest.