Nationals pick RHP Ward first in Rule 5 Draft, Blue Jays select C Rios in Triple-A phase

Los Angeles Dodgers' Jake Lamb (18) celebrates with Ryan Noda (93) after hitting a solo home run during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Monday, March 21, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

Former Boston Red Sox farmhand Thad Ward headlined the picks at the 2022 MLB Rule 5 Draft on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old reliever went first overall to the Washington Nationals. He had a 2.43 ERA in 33.1 innings with Boston’s AA affiliate — the Portland Sea Dogs.

The Draft returned to the Winter Meetings after the 2021 edition was cancelled due to the lockout.

With 39 players on their 40-man roster, the Toronto Blue Jays passed with their selection — the 24th pick — in the major league portion of the draft.

However, they did pick former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Kekai Rios in the triple-A phase of the draft.

Rios, 25, spent 2022 with Los Angeles’ High-A and Double-A teams, batting .219 in 71 total games with four home runs and 13 total extra-base hits.

The Seattle Mariners took the only Blue Jays prospect, selecting shortstop/outfielder Logan Warmoth in the Triple-A portion of the draft.

Warmoth was Toronto’s 22nd overall pick in 2017 and hit .229 with seven home runs, 45 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 90 games with the Buffalo Bisons in 2022.

Fifteen players in total were chosen in the MLB portion. Former Dodgers first baseman, Ryan Noda, was chosen second overall by the Oakland Athletics and another former Dodger, left-handed pitcher Jose Hernandez was picked third by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

To be eligible for the draft, players that were signed at 18 or younger must have made the 40-man roster within five seasons and players that signed at 19 or older within four.

All players selected must remain on their new MLB team’s 26-man roster for the entire season or they will be offered back to their original team for $50,000.

Some of the best Rule 5 picks in major league history include Johan Santana, Roberto Clemente, George Bell and Shane Victorino.

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