Nashville, Tenn. – Three weeks after being named the MVP of the Arizona Fall League, former Citadel star Chris McGuiness has been chosen by the Cleveland Indians in the Rule 5 draft, held Thursday at the MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville.
McGuiness was selected out of the Texas Ranger organization and by rule will be part of Cleveland's 25-man roster when the major league season opens in April. He spent the past two-and-a-half years with the Rangers after being traded from Boston on July 31, 2010 in a deal that sent Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Red Sox.
The first baseman was chosen by Boston in the 13th round of the June 2009 Major League Draft after batting .367 with 15 home runs and 59 RBI in his senior season at The Citadel. He also led the nation with 65 walks, was named first team All-Southern Conference and selected to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America team.
McGuiness batted .268 with 25 doubles, 23 home runs and 77 RBI for Double A Frisco last season and then posted an average of .283 with four homers and 27 RBI in 25 games for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League en route to MVP honors.
In commenting on his selection in Thursday's draft, the Bleacher Report stated that "McGuiness is an intriguing bat for the Indians. He has a good eye and discipline at the plate, his power started to show up in games this season and he can handle himself at first base."
Although not considered ready to be an everyday starter, the Indians would seem to be looking for an upgrade at first base. Veteran Casey Kotchman played in 142 games last season but struggled to a .229 batting average with 12 homers and 55 RBI.
Although designed primarily for teams to take prospects on other teams who may not be ready for the major leagues, the Rule 5 draft has nonetheless produced current all-stars Johan Santana, Jose Bautista, Dan Uggla, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth among others.
The most prominent player ever selected in the Rule 5 draft was Pittsburgh Pirate Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, who was taken out of the Brooklyn Dodger organization in 1954.