Rule 5 Draft -- Minor League Phase (Updated)
Rashad Eldridge - OF - Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays must have felt that they needed to raid the Twins system for more talent after the Delmon Young/Matt Garza swap, because they took Tim Lahey in the Major League phase of the draft and then swooped in to pick up Eldridge here (although Lahey is likely being moved to the Cubs). Eldridge doesn't exactly have a long history as a Twin -- he was signed as a minor league free agent prior to the start of the 2007 season, and played all year in New Britain. Eldridge hit .291 with a 789 OPS in 361 AB's, so he wasn't exactly a slouch, and as I've said before, with the Twins outfield situation looking rather grim at the AA-AAA levels, the loss of Garrett Guzman and Eldridge on the same day stings a little bit.
Josh Hill - RHP - Pittsburgh Pirates
Hill has seemingly been in the Twins minor league system forever, as he played his first game in the GCL back in 2001, when he was 18. Since that time, he's compiled reasonable but unspectacular numbers (4.00 ERA/1.39 WHIP/7.93 K9), and last year finally made it to the AA level, where he picked up a 4.36 ERA in 53.2 innings of work. Hill is a solid player, but he more than likely wasn't good enough to go anywhere with the Twins, and probably would have left as a minor league free agent before too long anyway.
J.P. Martinez - RHP - Baltimore Orioles
Martinez was taken in the AA-phase of the draft, and I somehow missed him the first time that I looked through the list. Martinez is a 25-year-old who was drafted in the 9th round of the 2004 draft. He spent the bulk of the 2007 season in AA New Britain, where he posted a 4.19 ERA in 53.2 innings. He also spent time in High A Ft. Myers, where he had a 2.49 ERA in 21.2 innings. His career minor league ERA of 3.01 coupled with an excellent 9.44/4.33 K9/BB9 ratio indicate that, at least at the lower levels of the organization, Martinez was getting it done. Of the losses in the minor league phases of the Rule 5 draft, Martinez is probably the most unfortunate.