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December 10, 2015 at 11:33 AM

Sox nab righties Polanco, Leclerc in Triple-A phase of Rule 5 draft

The Red Sox were not active in the major league portion of the 2015 draft, but used the Triple-A phase to supplement their minor league pitching depth. Right-handed pitchers Jhonny Polanco (pictured) and Angelo Leclerc were taken from the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers organizations, respectively. The Chicago Cubs tabbed Red Sox outfielder Jesus Loya in the Triple-A portion of the draft. 

Boston was not eligible to make a selection in the major league portion because it did not have a free spot on its 40-man roster. For the first time since 2008, the Red Sox did not have one of their own players selected by another team. Players taken in the major league portion of the draft must remain on the 25-man roster of the drafting team all season or be offered back to their original team.

Polanco, 23, was the Red Sox first pick of the Triple-A phase. Originally signed out of Nicaragua, he played for seven years in the Cardinals system, reaching Double-A for a pair of games last season. The six-foot-three righty split his 2015 season between Low A, High A, and Double-A, posting a 4.16 ERA in 71 1/3 innings across 37 appearances. Polanco's best season was with Low A Peoria of the Midwest League in 2014 when he posted a 2.04 ERA and 1.134 WHIP in 57 1/3 innings, striking out 71 and walking 30.

Leclerc, 24, had posted strong numbers in the Texas system from 2011 to 2014 but struggled in the difficult environs of the California League last year. In 29 appearances for High Desert, Leclerc had a 5.52 ERA in 44 innings. He struck out 42 and walked 17 while surrendering six home runs. Leclerc excelled in the South Atlantic League in 2014, posting a 2.33 ERA in 65 2/3 innings across 24 appearances, striking out 71 and walking only 24. He is the older brother of Jose Leclerc, who entered 2015 as one of the Rangers Top 20 prospects. 

Loya now becomes property of the Chicago Cubs organization. He spent the 2015 season with the Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen of the Mexican League, where he posted a solid .276/.374/.342 line. Loya was on loan to his Mexican club after being placed on the retired list by the Red Sox in June 2014. The 23-year-old was originally signed in January 2010 and hit .276/.346/.350 in 185 games across five seasons. He peaked at Low A Greenville where he spent parts of the 2013 and 2014 seasons. 

Unlike those selected in the major league portion of the draft, Polanco and Leclerc will not need to remain with the Pawtucket Red Sox active roster all season. Instead they need to only remain on the team's reserve list, closer to the minor league equivalent of the 40-man roster. 

Photo Credit: Jhonny Polanco from milb.com