Blue Jays protect four 2022 Fisher Cats from Rule 5 Draft eligibility

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The four players added to the 40-man roster. Courtesy photo/New Hampshire Fisher Cats

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Toronto Blue Jays added four members of the 2022 New Hampshire Fisher Cats to their 40-man roster Tuesday: Orelvis Martinez, Yosver Zulueta, Spencer Horwitz, and Addison Barger.

All four had their contracts selected ahead of the deadline to protect eligible players from the Rule 5 Draft.

Held each December, the Major League Baseball Rule 5 Draft allows teams without a full 40-man roster to select non-40-man roster players from other teams, with players 18 years old and under upon signing their first professional contract not eligible for the draft for five years upon signing and players 19 years old and older not eligible for four years after signing their contract.

Martinez is the No. 2 prospect and top-rated infielder in the organization, according to MLB Pipeline. The 20-year-old Dominican spent the entire season with New Hampshire, setting a new Fisher Cats record with 30 home runs. Martinez is ranked the No. 70 prospect in all of baseball.

Zulueta pitched in nine games for the Fisher Cats in the second half of the season and appeared in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium. The 24-year-old Cuban started 2022 with Single-A Dunedin and finished the year with Triple-A Buffalo. He is the No. 5 overall prospect and the No. 3 pitching prospect in Toronto’s farm system.

Horwitz played four games with New Hampshire in 2021 and returned to the club for 70 games in 2022. He was named the Eastern League Player of the Week on June 13 after going 9-for-20 with two home runs in a road series at Binghamton. Horwitz slashed .297/.413/.517 with 10 home runs, 39 RBIs, and 30 extra-base hits before earning a promotion to Buffalo in early July. The Timonium, Md., native is the No. 12 prospect in the organization.

Barger is the No. 13 prospect and posted a .313 batting average in 47 second-half games with the Fisher Cats. He hit nine home runs, drove in 29 runs, and had a .912 OPS. The Bellevue, Wash., native earned a September promotion to Buffalo and slashed .355/.444/.677 with three home runs in eight games. Barger finished the season with a .308 average, .933 OPS, 26 home runs, and 91 RBIs across three levels.

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