Jays select pitcher Elvis Luciano in Rule 5 draft
18 year-old went 9-6 with 3.37 earned-run average in 2 seasons with rookie league
The Toronto Blue Jays picked up right-handed pitcher Elvis Luciano from the Kansas City Royals on Thursday in the Rule 5 draft while losing Canadian right-hander Jordan Romano in the selection process.
He signed with the Diamondbacks as a 16-year-old international free agent on Oct. 1, 2016.
Toronto will need to keep Luciano on its 25-man major-league roster for the entire 2019 season or offer him back to the Royals for half the price the Blue Jays paid to draft him (US$50,000).
The Rule 5 draft is a means of preventing teams from hoarding major-league ready talent in the minor leagues.
The Blue Jays lost Romano, a 25-year-old from Markham, Ont., to the Chicago White Sox with the third overall selection Thursday. Lefty Travis Bergen went to San Francisco with the ninth pick.
Romano was 11-8 with a 4.13 ERA over 25 starts at double-A New Hampshire last season. He also made one start at triple-A Buffalo, allowing two runs over five innings to pick up the win.
Romano won nine straight decisions from April 4 to May 27 before struggling with consistency over the remainder of the season.
One of Toronto's most recent Rule 5 success stories was right-hander Joe Biagini, who they plucked from the Giants in 2015.
Biagini went on to pitch to a 3.06 ERA in 2016, striking out 62 batters and walking 19 over 67 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.
Toronto also selected right-hander David Garner from the Chicago Cubs Thursday in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft.
Garner was suspended for 100 games last season following a third "drug of abuse" violation of baseball's minor league drug program.
The Rule 5 draft concludes the annual winter meetings.