As a blunt force rule, it is easier for a team to make a Rule 5 claim of a pitcher who can be half-hidden in the bullpen for a year. It's harder to do that with position players, because the claiming team ultimately needs to play them. The Sox, who did it with INF Arauz, were much aided by the 60-game length of the 2020 season.
The First Six: These players must be protected from the Rule 5 draft: Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, Jeter Downs (only because of recent signs of life), Durbin Feltman (he's ready, maybe!), Victor Santos, and Josh Winckowski.
Very Close (Three More): Kole Cottam (really looking good lately, although it's not likely a team tries to make a minor league catcher stick in the majors all season), Ceddanne Rafaela (the hype alone is big enough to move him--could stick as a backup infielder on a number of teams), and Gilberto Jimenez (could a team try to snatch him just as a bench speedster, a near-waste of a 26-man position during the reg season? Because he is otherwise far from ready).
Special Case #1: Thaddeus Ward. Is his TJS recent enough to ward off predation?
Special Case #2: Frank German. It's hard to tell his value as a prospect, but is Cashman angry enough about Whit- lock to nick German just on principle? That would mean the Sox got Ottavino for $9MM w/o the intended prospect.
11 Good Organizational Arms: Look at these pitchers, mostly relievers. Two could easily be lost. Rio Gomez, Z. Kelly, LoBrutto, Joan Martinez, Mosqueda, Nail, Ort, Padron-Artiles, AJ Politi, Yasel Santana, Chase Shugart.
One Total 1B Wildcard: Want to trade Dalbec? Don't want to acquire anyone to gum up the spot for Casas' arrival? How about taking a flyer on Pedro Castellanos? Yes, weird. This one is like my own private Idaho.
Other Good Org Bats, Maybe More in the Future: At least a nod to Devlin Granberg, Tyler Esplin, Ryan Fitzgerald, Elih Marrero, and Tyreque Reed.
Happy Off-Season to All. Many thanks to OTM and to the SoxProspects site for their great minors coverage.