MacKenzie Gore found himself back in the ACL this summer. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

The Padres added MacKenzie Gore, Eguy Rosario, Steven Wilson and Efraín Contreras to the 40-player roster on Friday, ensuring that none of them will be eligible for this winter’s Rule 5 draft.

While Gore was a no-doubt addition, the promotion comes at the end of a disappointing year for the talented 22-year-old lefty. Two years removed from being the consensus top pitching prospect in the game, Gore was pulled from competition during the regular season and Arizona Fall League this year to work on mechanical changes that first became an issue when he was working at the Alternate Site in 2020. Gore has been working with newly-hired pitching coach Ruben Niebla in San Diego in recent weeks.

Eguy Rosario produced in his first year playing against age-appropriate competition. (Photo: Rey Holguin)

The additions of Rosario and Wilson – this year’s top position player in San Antonio and top pitcher in El Paso respectively – were only slightly less of a foregone conclusion than Gore. Rosario, now 22, first came stateside at the end of the 2016 season. The infielder had his best full-season campaign this year, hitting .281/.360/.455 in Double-A. While he logged significant time at shortstop, he profiles better at second or third.

Wilson, 27, was originally selected as a fifth-year senior out of Santa Clara University in 2018. The righty has struck out 165 in 114 innings over in his three professional seasons thanks to his fastball and slider combination. This year, he held Triple-A batters to a laughable .154 average.

Contreras, who underwent Tommy John surgery last winter, should be ready to pitch when the 2022 minor league season opens, but could have been stashed on the IL by a team that had an interest in him. The stout righty, who will turn 22 in January, was flashing an upper-90s fastball before injuring himself in last year’s instructional league. The Juarez, Mexico, native was the runner-up top performer in Fort Wayne in his last active season in 2019.

To make room, the Padres got former top-20 prospects RHP Reggie Lawson and OF Jorge Oña through waivers and outrighted them to Triple-A. Both players have struggled with injuries for several years and had to cut short minor league rehab assignments this summer. The club also placed right-hander Shaun Anderson on waivers, but the righty was claimed by Toronto. It’s the fourth time Anderson has been claimed off waivers since June.

While both Lawson and Oña are now technically eligible for the Rule 5 draft, teams that could have selected them from the waiver wire with no big league roster implications are unlikely to now obligate themselves to a 26-player roster spot.

The Rule 5 draft typically takes place on the last day of the Winter Meetings in December, but with a lockout expected on December 1, the timing of this year’s draft is still unknown.

Among the players who might be of interest to other clubs are right-handers Jacob Nix and Jordan Guerrero, both with upper-level experience and recovering from their own Tommy John surgeries. Catcher Brandon Valenzuela and righty Moises Lugo are the highest-ranking prospects eligible, but both are far enough from being ready for the Majors that the club can take a chance leaving them unprotected.

Posted by David Jay

David has written for MadFriars since 2005, has published articles in Baseball America, written a monthly column for FoxSports San Diego and appeared on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He may be best known on the island of Guam for his photos of Trae Santos that appeared in the Pacific Daily News.

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