The Milwaukee Brewers added Hylton High School graduate Alec Bettinger to its 40-man roster Friday.
The move means Bettinger is off-limits for the Rule 5 draft Dec. 10. MLB teams had until Friday at 6 p.m. to add players to its 40-man roster and protect them from selection in the Rule 5 draft.
The Rule 5 draft allows MLB teams to choose non 40-man roster players from other teams. If a team selects a player in the draft they must pay the other club $100,000. The selected player must remain on the team's active roster or be offered back to his original team for $50,000.
The 25-year-old Bettinger was eligible for the Rule 5 draft because he had both signed a pro contract after the age of 19 and played four seasons of pro baseball.
Bettinger was one of two pitching prospects the Brewers placed on the 40-man roster Friday. The other is fellow right-hander Dylan File.
“These are two pitchers who are ready to pitch in the big leagues,” said Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said. “They both have poise. They both can command the baseball. They can change speeds. To varying degrees they can change eye level. As we look forward to 2021, we see both of these pitchers as at least having the potential to help us at the big-league level.
"Ultimately, we see them as starting pitchers. They've been built up at that level of pitching over their careers. But it's important for us, especially for pitchers, when we put you on the 40-man roster, you have to be able to pitch at the major-league level."
Milwaukee drafted Bettinger as a senior in the 10th round of the 2017 MLB amateur draft out of the University of Virginia.
Bettinger has developed into one of the top 30 prospects in the Brewers’ organization with a fastball that can hit between 94 and 95 miles per hour.
In 2019, Bettinger led Double-A Biloxi in innings pitched (146.1) and strikeouts (157), increased his strikeout rate to 9.68 per nine innings and lowered his walk rate to 2.16. He was 5-7 overall with a 3.44 ERA in a Southern League-leading 26 starts. He finished second in the Southern League in innings pitched and strikeouts as well.
He was in line to start the season at Triple-A San Antonio before the pandemic cancelled the minor-league season.
The Brewers added Bettinger to their 60-man player pool in August.