If you’re reading this site, than you surely know that two Spring Trainings ago, Ivan Nova was property of the Padres. The Yankees left him off the 40-man roster after the 2008 season, and San Diego took a flier on the right-hander in the Rule 5 Draft. Nova was straight out of Single-A ball at the time and definitely not ready for the big leagues, so the Padres offered him back to the Yankees at the end of camp. Two years later, he was New York’s number two starter in the postseason.
Today at FanGraphs, Josh Goldman looked at other players who were returned to their original team after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and found that only one (Randy Wells of the Cubs) had the kind of success Nova had in 2011. We know all about the players who were taken in the Rule 5 Draft and went on to play well for their new club, but it’s not often a player is returned then goes on to have an impact. Remember, every team in baseball had a chance to claim Nova on waivers before he officially back with the Yankees, so it was quite a chain of events that led to him even being in the organization this year.