The third pick in the 2010 Rule 5 Draft was the second reliever selected and the second Triple-A player selected, as Arizona went inside their division and took lefty reliever Joe Paterson from San Francisco.
Many relief pitchers can transition rather easily from Triple-A to the majors, so Paterson’s selection makes sense in that sense. However, it’s worth wondering if he’ll ever be a significant contributor.
Paterson, 24, posted some PlayStation strikeout numbers in the low minors, typically whiffing over ten batters per nine innings. However, he lost a good amount of that in Triple-A this past year, whiffing under a batter per inning and seeing his walk rate nearly increase to near-unhealthy. Paterson did dominate in the Arizona Fall League, but nobody thinks he’s anything more than a good lefty specialist down the line.
So he probably has a better chance than most of sticking and contributing right away, particularly in an Arizona bullpen that was terrible in 2010. However, Paterson is highly unlikely to be more than a somewhat interchangeable part at any point in his career, even if he proves 2010 was a fluke and that he’s capable of whiffing over a batter per inning in the majors. Bullpen help can be found in a lot of places–why waste a Rule 5 pick on it, especially on such a limited pitcher?
Still, a potential contributor is a potential contributor, and the pickings aren’t exactly huge in the Rule 5, to it’s tough for me to pan this one too much. It’s a decent but uninspiring selection.