The MLB offseason is fully underway. Shohei Ohtani and several other Los Angeles Angels players are free agents and can sign with any team. With the offseason underway, there are several key deadlines that are quickly approaching. One of those important deadlines is the roster protection deadline that occurs today, November 14th, at 3:00 PM PT.
This is the final day for clubs to add players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft to their 40-man roster. Doing so means they cannot be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Every prospect eligible that they do not protect can be selected by any team once the draft takes place on December 6.
In order for a player to be Rule 5 eligible, the player must have signed with the organization at age 18 or younger, and they need to be added to the team's 40-man roster within five seasons. One player in the Angels organization that happens to meet this criteria was Jack Kochanowicz who the team added to their 40-man roster ahead of the protection deadline.
Angels protect Jack Kochanowicz from being selected in Rule 5 Draft
It's no secret that this Angels farm system is in bad shape. It was considered to be one of, if not the worst minor league system in all of baseball prior to the trade deadline, and got even worse after the team traded several of its better prospevts in a failed attempt to win now.
Despite this farm system being subpar at best, the Angels still have some good prospects hidden in there. One of them is Jack Kochanowicz who the team decided to add to their 40-man roster.
Kochanowicz is the Angels' ninth-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Ninth in this system doesn't say much, but there are reasons to believe this right-hander can factor into the Angels MLB plans at some point.
The Angels selected Kochanowicz in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft, but due to the shortened 2020 season with no minor leagues, he didn't make his professional debut until 2021. His numbers in the minors are nothing special, but his stuff is quite good. Kochanowicz is armed with a fastball that consistently touches the upper 90's, and has solid command. Even amidst his struggles with AA Rocket City this past season, the right-hander walked just 2.8 batters per nine innings in his 16 appearances there.
Kochanowicz is being developed as a starter, but it's possible the Angels put him on the path they put Sam Bachman on and have him work in relief in the majors. He has the fastball velocity the Angels look for in relievers.
While his numbers weren't anything to write home about, Kochanowicz showed enough to warrant keeping him around at least through this deadline. The 22-year-old is one of the best pitching prospects in the Angels system and was worth protecting over risking losing him for nothing. The Angels 40-man roster now stands at 39 after that move.