Every year, as spring training winds down, organizations begin to shape their five full-season affiliates, resulting in a considerable amount of promising talent becoming available on the market. While many of the cuts go on to become nothing more than minor league depth, there have been a few shining reminders that gold can sometimes be found where you least expect it. Some of the most prominent recent examples of such players include J.D. Martinez, Brad Hand, Scooter Gennett, Anibal Sanchez, and Dan Straily. The list will be updated as more changes occur.
- Left-handed pitcher Donnie Hart (Lost on waivers to the Los Angeles Dodgers)
- Hart is a taxi-squad lefty who has one minor league option remaining. Despite his struggles in 2018, Hart has seen some legitimate success, evidenced by his 81.1 career innings of 3.43 ERA ball. I expect him to be a regular taxi-squader in the Dodgers’ bullpen as the season progresses, as Scott Alexander and Adam McCreery are the only other left-handed relief options on the 40-man roster (although Julio Urias and Caleb Ferguson are both lefties who are likely to be used at least partly in relief). Moving out of Camden Yards should work in his favor, as he posted a 0.93 HR/9 last season and a 1.03 HR/9 in 2017.
- Left-handed pitcher Josh Osich (Lost on waivers to the Chicago White Sox)
- Osich is a four-year veteran lefty with a career 5.01 ERA. He currently looks to be fourth on the left-handed relief depth chart in Chicago (behind Jace Fry, Manny Banuelos, and Aaron Bummer), and should see at least a cameo assuming he sticks around.
- Outfielder Markel Jones (Released)
- Jones signed an over-slot, $80k bonus after being drafted in the 33rd round back in 2016, but struggled to find his footing in affiliated ball. While the switch-hitting outfielder brought rather solid plate discipline, decent speed, and a very nice glove, his contact abilities were lacking and he never showed any power. If Jones was able to improve his contact ability, I would be willing to bet that he would rise through the minors and become a fourth outfielder in short order, but obviously, that’s a major “if.”
- Right-handed pitcher Bo Schultz (Released)
- This one was a surprise to me. After missing 2017 to Tommy John surgery, Schultz latched on with the Pirates organization and was excellent, posting a 2.00 ERA with a 2.81 FIP and a 52.4% ground ball rate. While I would expect some level of regression, as he didn’t allow a single home run, Schultz has always been a ground ball pitcher, which could limit the impact of the regression to some extent. He struggled in camp, posting a 16.20 ERA over 3.1 innings, but I would be willing to wager that somebody takes a shot on him.
- Shortstop Alcides Escobar (Released and signed with the White Sox)
- Escobar was cut loose by the Orioles after hitting just .219/.316/.281 over 38 plate appearances. His bat has never been very good, but he has remained relevant due to his glove. Last season, however, he turned in a below average range factor at shortstop, resulting in a -0.6 bdWAR. Hanser Alberto seems likely to take his spot along with the two Rule 5 picks Drew Jackson and Richie Martin.
- UPDATE: The Chicago White Sox signed Escobar to a minor league contract. He is expected to begin the season as the starting shortstop in Triple-A. As it currently stands, he seems likely to be the first guy called up after an injury to an infielder, therefore, it makes sense that he chose to sign in Chicago.
- Outfielder Eric Young Jr. (Released)
- Eric Young was brought into camp on a minor league deal to compete for an outfield job, and while he did everything that he possibly could have, slashing .323/.462/.452 with seven walks to nine strikeouts, a home run and two stolen bases, he winds up back on the open market. I fully expect to see him sign within the next week. He is a noted base stealer and a solid defender at all three outfield spots and second base.
Boston Red Sox
- First baseman Zach Sterry (Released)
- Here is an interesting move. Sterry was a day-two selection in 2017 and had actually hit very well in 2018, with a .291/.370/.424 slash line over 56 games in Class A. As a 24-year-old lefty hitter, he could probably be assigned to High-A where he can look to unlock some additional power.
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
- Outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. (Traded to Baltimore for $500k in Int’l Pool Space)
- I’m a huge fan of this pick-up for the Orioles. Smith is a former first-round pick with a solid glove in the corners, decent power and speed, and excellent contact ability and plate discipline. Over 104 plate appearances in the majors, the 26-year-old has slashed .293/.365/.467, and he is coming off of a Triple-A campaign where he slashed .268/.358/.413 with six home runs, nine stolen bases, and a 44:53 BB:K ratio. He’ll probably begin the season in Norfolk, but he seems likely to be up as a fourth outfielder in short order and could compete for more regular playing time.
Chicago White Sox
- Right-handed pitcher Jhoan Quijada (Released)
- Quijada is a control oriented reliever with very limited velocity, and too much service time to be signed below Double-A, without counting against the two player maximum. Last season he posted a 4.72 ERA over 68.2 innings in Class A, while walking 18 to just 39 strikeouts. He’s probably headed to independent ball.
- Right-handed pitcher Randall Delgado (Released)
- Randall Delgado is a tricky situation. He missed most of 2018 to injury, and when he did pitch, he saw a two mph drop in his average fastball velocity as well as the continuation of a trend that has seen him allowing more fly balls than grounders. His showing in camp wasn’t necessarily encouraging wither. That said, he’s still just 29 years old and has time to straighten things out, but he’s going to need to spend some time in the minors or in independent ball first.
- Right-handed pitcher Devan Watts (Released)
- The Braves have recently been liberal releasing minor leaguers in recent years regardless of potential, draft status and time in the organization. Last season, the two most notable examples were Devan Watts and Drew Harrington, both of whom signed with the White Sox. Watts was actually excellent for the Sox posting a 2.75 ERA with a 3.81 FIP, a 7.32 K/9 and a 1.83 BB/9 over 19.2 innings at Class A Advanced. He should be picked up in no time, as he can be assigned throughout the organization and has seen recent success.
- Left-handed pitcher Joe Mockbee (Released)
- The 24-year-old lefty was drafted in the 29th round of the 2017 draft and has posted a very reasonable 3.24 ERA over 41.2 career innings reaching as high as Class A Advanced. Unfortunately, his peripherals aren’t quite as high on him, as his FIPs are typically much higher than ERAs, and he walks almost as many batters as he strikes out. He’s older for the lower levels too, therefore there’s plenty of reason to believe that he would struggle against better competition.
- Right-handed pitcher Spencer Moran (Released)
- Moran is another example of strong bottom line numbers with poor peripherals. The nearly 23-year-old righty starter has always kept a rather low ERA, but has done so without much in terms of stuff or control, and higher FIPs. Based on his service time, he may be a difficult sell for affiliated teams, but the independent leagues will be all over him.
- Outfielder Brandon Guyer (Released)
- The veteran fourth outfielder latched on with the White Sox on a minor league deal over the offseason, but struggled to a .217/.357/.348 batting line over 28 plate appearances. He seems likely to land a job at some point in the near future based on his very solid glove, but he may have to spend some time in Triple-A initially.
- Outfielder Matt Joyce (Released)
- Joyce was a disappointment in camp. While struggled last season with the A’s, slashing .208/.322/.353 with seven home runs, he did so riding a .242 BABIP, which seems likely to level out, assuming he gets another shot. Joyce’s calling card has always been his plate discipline, but he also offers power, and a solid glove in the corners. He’s worth a flyer for teams with a deficiency of outfield depth.
- UPDATE: Matt Joyce signed a new minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants and will join them for the remainder of Spring Training. The expectation is that he will begin the season in Triple-A and fight for a call-up early in the season, based on a lack of outfield depth.
- Infielder Ryan Flaherty (Released)
- The 32-year-old utility player played reasonably well in camp, slashing .243/.333/.459, with five walks and two home runs in 42 plate appearances. Flaherty is coming off of an underwhelming season in which he slashed .217/.298/.292 coming off of the bench for the Braves logging 182 plate appearances. He has also played every position with the exception of catcher and center fielder, with above average marks at first base, second base and left field and average marks at shortstop. He seems likely to find a new home by Opening Day.
- Right-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard (Released and Re-Signed)
- Clippard never really had much of a chance to break camp with the Indians, as he signed on February 23rd, starting slightly behind schedule. Throughout camp, he posted 2.2 scoreless innings while striking out three of the ten batters that he faced compared to just one walk allowed. It makes sense that he would re-sign with the Indians, as there are certainly a rather significant amount of guys who carry a lot of risk going into the 2019 season. Dan Otero and Tyler Olson were both rough last season, Oliver Perez is now 36 years old and rode a low HR/FB ratio, Adam Cimber struggled after being traded to the Indians, posting a 4.05 ERA with a 6.06 FIP and a 1.65 WHIP, Jon Edwards threw 8.2 innings last season posting a 3.12 ERA with a 5.24 FIP and Neil Ramirez hasn’t found any success at the major league level since 2015. Needless to say, I think Clippard will be up soon.
- Right-handed pitcher Alex Wilson (Released)
- I don’t quite understand how Wilson didn’t make the Indians roster after posting a 2.16 ERA over 8.1 innings pitched in Spring Training with a 7:2 K:BB ratio. I would imagine that he’s signed and on a team’s Opening Day roster by the end of next week. He could be this year’s version of Dan Jennings (3.22 ERA over 64.1 innings pitched for the Brewers after signing right before Opening Day). The Indians will instead role with the same guys who made up a bullpen that ranked 25th in ERA last season, minus Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. While they’re lucky that the remainder of their division is, underwhelming to say the least, they need to start making moves to improve either the team or the farm system.
- UPDATE: As expected, Wilson wasn’t on the market for very long, as the Brewers inked him on a $750k contract that includes an unspecified amount in incentives. This move is strikingly similar to the aforementioned Jennings deal from this time last season. He should function in middle relief.
- Right-handed pitcher Chris Smith (Released)
- Smith was signed as a minor league free agent in December and never pitched for the Tigers in spring training. The 30-year-old spent 2018 in Triple-A Syracuse, where he posted a 3.93 ERA over 55 innings pitched, and holds a 5.40 ERA over 5.0 major league innings.
- Outfielder Garrett McCain (Released)
- A day-two selection from 2017, McCain didn’t show much over 138 games, slashing .251/.354/.316. While the plate discipline was present, he had no other tools to keep him in the Tigers organization. He’s probably headed for the independent circuit.
- Infielder Anthony Pereira (Released)
- Pereira is likely a depth piece at this point, as he was never able to hit minor league pitching, slashing .234/.305/.348 over 403 career games. He spent the last two seasons between Class A and High-A. I would imagine he goes independent at this point.
- Right-handed pitcher Johan Belisario (Released)
- There is absolutely no reason that the 25-year-old righty should not have been promoted to Double-A after the season that he had. Over 51.2 innings pitched, he posted a 1.39 ERA with a 10.63 K/9 next to a 1.74 BB/9. Even his peripheral statistics were just as strong. I would be shocked if he’s still a free agent at the end of the week, as he looks like he could be a major league set-up man in a year’s time.
- Utility player Dominic Ficociello (Released)
- After being drafted by the Tigers in the 12th round in 2013, Ficociello displayed a very nice contact ability as well as some level of speed and defensive versatility. While he has played most of his innings at first base, his offensive profile doesn’t necessarily fit that of a typical first baseman. He has also been above average defensively at second and third. Still just 26, he could very well latch on with a team and start off in Triple-A, based on his versatility.
- Catcher Andres Sthormes (Released)
- Sthormes is a 22-year-old righty catcher who finally made his way full season ball after spending 2013 through 2017 in the Rookie Leagues. Unfortunately, his time in Class A Advanced didn’t go very well, as he hit just .176/.227/.209. He’s not a great framer, but he has a very nice arm behind the plate, catching 36.5% of base stealers over his career.
Kansas City Royals
- Right-handed pitcher Jason Adam (Traded to Toronto for cash considerations)
- Adam made his major league debut in 2018, posting a 6.12 ERA and a 6.16 FIP over 32.1 innings pitched, but he looked considerably better over 12.2 innings in the Pacific Coast League where he posted a 1.42 ERA with a 3.27 FIP. In Adam, the Blue Jays are getting a high-octane taxi-squad reliever who struggles a bit with control but could become a solid enough major leaguer.
- Outfielder Zack Granite (Traded to Texas for $750k in Int’l Pool Space)
- Granite was traded to the Rangers in exchange for relief prospect Xavier Moore, who was immediately flipped to Baltimore for $750k in International Bonus Pool Space. The 26-year-old center fielder seems likely to serve as the everyday center fielder in a Triple-A outfield also consisting of Willie Calhoun and Carlos Tocci. I would consider him to be the second outfielder called up in case of injury, and he should serve as a decent defensive replacement who could become a solid overall fourth outfielder if he could rediscover some of the 2017 magic that saw him slash .340/.394/.479. I wouldn’t expect him to do much in terms of power or plate discipline, potentially limiting his ceiling, but the speed is undeniable as is the defensive ability.
- First baseman Lucas Duda (Released)
- Duda was put in something of a difficult situation. At the time that he signed, the expectation was that he would serve as a veteran bat in the line-up to replace the injured Miguel Sano, but when the Twins signed Marwin Gonzalez, he was left without a spot. Duda is a very similar case as Joyce, as he’s a serviceable major league veteran who is at least worth a flyer. While he was underwhelming in camp, slashing .258/.395/.355 (.750 OPS), he’s always been known to be an excellent glove at first base with the ability to play the outfield corners in a pinch. Offensively, he’s never been a guy who was going to hit for a very high average, but always showed solid plate discipline and the potential for 30 home run power. He should find a gig elsewhere.
- UPDATE: Lucas Duda signed with the Royals on a minor league deal. While the details of the deal have yet to be made available, we do know it’s a minor league deal. Last season, he slashed .242/.310/.413 and hit 13 homers for the Royals over 345 plate appearances. He was the sold to the Braves at the now-defunct August trade deadline. It is unknown whether he will report to Triple-A or Extended Spring Training.
Los Angeles Angels
- Infielder Bernabe Camargo (Released)
- Camargo red-shirted the 2017 season after being drafted in the 28th round out of Galveston JUCO. He split the season evenly between Rookie ball and Class A Advanced, showing a decent contact ability and some plate discipline. He slashed a very solid .289/.378/.342 over 90 plate appearances in Class A Advanced, but it should be noted that he was riding a high BABIP. I think the jump directly to Class A Advanced was a bit too aggressive. I could see him landing a minor league deal and starting his assignment in Class A. He could be a solid fourth outfielder.
- Outfielder DJ Jenkins (Released)
- Jenkins was a 26th round pick out of Seton Hall in 2016, and was seen as a fourth outfielder type. He has always shown excellent speed while also displaying flashes of nice contact ability and an average to slightly below average glove at all three outfield positions. Seeing as how he’s already 25 years old, and has continued to struggle against Class A Advanced pitching, the ceiling is certainly limited, but the tools are there, which could result in him receiving at least a few offers.
- Right-handed pitcher Sam Pastrone (Released)
- The 21-year-old righty starter has posted a career 6.02 ERA over 148 innings pitched. He did so with a 93:114 walk to strikeout ratio, and poor FIP rates. While his age offers some hope, there’s no guarantee that he’s picked up.
- Right-handed pitcher Mitchell Traver (Released)
- The 24-year-old righty was drafted back in the 20th round of the 2017 draft. While he was never necessarily very good, he was a serviceable innings eater for the Class A affiliate. He’s an intimidating 6’7″ tall while exhibiting average control. I can certainly see him latching on elsewhere as an organizational innings eater.
- Right-handed pitcher Daniel Hudson (Released)
- Hudson finds himself in the same situation that he was in a year ago, as he really struggled in camp, posting a 6.75 ERA over 6.2 innings pitched. After being cut by the Rays last season, he latched on with the Dodgers and was able to put forth a solid, albeit unspectacular, season pitching 46 innings of 4.11 ERA ball. As a veteran reliever, he’ll get picked up in the near future.
- Left-handed pitcher Kyle Crockett (Released)
- Crockett was an offseason signing for the A’s, but looked terrible over three appearances in Spring Training, allowing six runs over 2.1 innings pitched (23.14 ERA) while walking two to one strikeout. He spent the 2018 season with the Cincinnati Reds organization and made a brief major league cameo posting a 5.79 ERA over 15 appearances (9.1 innings pitched). While it’s not a pretty statistic, his FIP suggested that he pitched closer to a 2.84 mark. The biggest issue was a very high BABIP against, .469. He fared better in Triple-A, posting a 3.00 ERA with a 3.08 FIP, while walking just 1.62 batters per nine innings next to 8.77 strikeouts. I would imagine there will be some offers out there for him, despite the underwhelming Spring showing.
- Right-handed pitcher Sam Bragg (Released)
- Bragg was an 18th round selection out of Georgia Perimeter College back in 2013. He has posted reasonably solid, albeit unspectacular, numbers throughout his career. He has typically served in a swing capacity, as he did last season in Double-A posting a 3.62 ERA, a 4.00 FIP, a 5.68 K/9 and a 3.36 BB/9. Another discouraging statistic is the fact that his HR/FB rate was an unsustainable 3.4%. The 25-year-old could very well make it to the majors at some point, but he could be ticketed for independent ball for now.
- Right-handed pitcher Brendan Butler (Released)
- The 25-year-old righty was drafted in the 30th round of the 2015 draft out of Dowling College. Throughout his career, he has pretty much fit the bill of a control-oriented swing. He struggled in Rookie Ball in 2015, but found success in 2016 into 2017, mainly between Class A Short Season and Class A. Once he reached Class A Advanced, however, he hit a wall. After being promoted in 2017, he posted a 6.21 ERA over 58 innings pitched walking 30 over 58 innings compared to just 51 strikeouts and hitters hit .308 against him. The numbers last season weren’t much better, as he posted a 5.71 ERA over 69.1 innings with 28 walks, 60 strikeouts and a .271 BAA. I would consider him a candidate to join independent ball.
- Right-handed pitcher Heath Bowers (Released)
- The A’s selected Bower in the 24th round of the 2015 draft out of Campbell. While he has been solid as a whole, posting a career 3.52 ERA, the peripherals haven’t been quite as high on him. Last season, he posted a 5.40 ERA and a 5.44 FIP over 51.2 innings pitched in Class A, walking 5.92 batters per nine innings next to just 8.71 strikeouts per nine. His 2017 numbers are deceiving as well, as he posted a 2.22 ERA over 81 innings pitched, but with a 4.28 FIP, a 4.67 BB/9, a 5.89 K/9 and a 1.5% HR/FB ratio all suggesting regression. He’s reasonably durable, therefore could be another candidate for independent ball.
- Left-handed pitcher Evan Manarino (Released)
- Manarino was drafted by the A’s in the 25th round of the 2015 draft out of UC Irvine. Known as a finesse lefty, he was used as both a starter and a reliever in his time with the A’s. Unfortunately, outside of an excellent 2016 season in which he posted a 1.98 ERA over 150 innings between Class A and Class A Advanced, he has struggled throughout his career, including a 5.40 ERA over 85 innings pitched. His control is excellent, but like many control artists, he has a severe lack of stuff, making him exceptionally hittable, and at 25 years old, he may be headed to independent ball.
- Right-handed pitcher Brendan Butler (Released)
- Another day three selection from 2015 (Round 30), Butler is right swing who lacks strikeout stuff while displaying only middling control. While he found success in the lower levels of the minors, hitters in Class A Advanced have taken advantage of his lack of strikeout stuff resulting in a 5.99 ERA over 130.2 Class A Advanced innings. He’s now nearly 26, and independent ball looks to be his best bet if he wants to continue his career.
- Utility player Dustin Ackley (Released)
- A former top prospect for the Mariners, Ackley was brought back to Seattle on a minor league deal and slashed .250/.526/.250 over 19 plate appearances. He was released as a courtesy, as he wasn’t going to make the Mariners’ roster, and can now go search for other opportunities.
- Left-handed pitcher Jack Leathersich (Released)
- Leathersich is a Triple-A lefty who was signed in December but never threw a pitch in camp. The 28-year-old has logged 16.2 innings of 2.70 ERA ball in the major leagues, but I wouldn’t consider this level of production to be sustainable based on his 7.02 BB/9 in that same sample size and significantly less success over a much larger sample size in the minor leagues. He’ll look to latch on as a depth lefty.
- Right-handed pitcher Cole Wiper (Released)
- Wiper is a 26-year-old minor league reliever who has struggled in High-A and Double-A. As a 2013 draftee, he is above the service requirement limit for the lower minor leagues, so he will have to stick on a Double-A or Triple-A roster or head to Indy ball.
- Right-handed pitcher Austin Pettibone (Released)
- Another 26-year-old righty reliever, Pettibone has some very legitimate potential. After missing most of 2017 and 2018 to injury, he was able to return late last year and looked very good over 15 innings between Rookie, Class A, and High-A, showing that his calling cards of control and ground ball induction are still present following the surgery. I expect him to latch on with an organization and head to High-A.
- Left-handed pitcher Christian Torres (Released)
- Possibly a diamond in the rough, Torres has posted a career 2.93 ERA over 184.1 innings over three minor league seasons. While his stuff is nothing special, he’s a finesse lefty who carries a 2.59 BB/9 over his minor league career and could begin the season in the High-A bullpen. I don’t expect him to be out of a job for long.
- Outfielder Austin O’Banion (Released)
- A 37th-round selection by the Rangers back in 2016, O’Banion struggled upon reaching full-season ball for the first time in 2018, posting a .191/.274/.277 line over 31 games in Low-A and a .188/.235/.188 batting line over a very brief four game sample in Double-A. He doesn’t bring much in terms of tools to the table and I would imagine the next move for him would be independent ball.
- Left-handed pitcher Adam Choplick (Released)
- I have been a big Choplick fan since he was drafted out of Oklahoma in 2015. His first three seasons in professional baseball went well. He went from posting a 2.18 ERA/4.06 FIP in Class A Short Season in 2015, to a 3.32 ERA/3.20 FIP over 59.2 innings in Class A and a 2.93 ERA/2.85 FIP over 55.1 innings pitched in Class A Advanced. Double-A wasn’t quite as kind to the 6’9″ reliever, as he posted a 6.08 ERA with a 4.26 FIP. His strikeout numbers have always been high, but so have his walk numbers. While he gets his K/9 in double digits with regularity, his BB/9 have all been above five. He looks like a solid, high-octane lefty taxi guy if he’s given another shot.
- Outfielder/right-handed pitcher Brett Eibner (Released)
- The 30-year-old converted to a reliever last season, and was only given limited opportunities including three innings in Rookie Ball, 7.2 innings in Class A and 4.1 innings in Class A Advanced. He was actually very solid posting a combined 1.80 ERA with 16 strikeouts and four walks over 15 innings. If a team is looking for an interesting two-way player, they should look no further than Eibner. He’s a case that I’m planning on following closely.
- Right-handed pitcher Tyler Ferguson (Released)
- A sixth round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2015, Ferguson struggled mightily with his control throughout his career, walking 75 guys over 113 innings (5.97 BB/9). His bottom line numbers weren’t much better, as he posted a 5.58 ERA. Somebody will surely take a shot on him based on his huge arm and former draft pedigree, but I think his ceiling is that of a high-octane taxi guy, with a more likely outcome of Double-A depth.
- Outfielder Brandon Downes (Released)
- The 26-year-old center fielder had been acquired by the Braves from the Royals in a minor deal last season and was immediately assigned to Double-A. Unfortunately, he struggled mightily slashing .201/.279/.338 over 140 plate appearances. Downes had shown flashes of being able to hit double digits in both homers and stolen bases, but unfortunately, his contact ability never really developed. Based on his minor league service time, I would imagine he’s slated for the independent leagues.
- Left-handed pitcher Connor Simmons (Released)
- Simmons is a fireballing lefty reliever who was taken out of Georgia Southern in the 13th round of the 2017 draft. He started his career off in Rookie ball, where he posted a 2.95 ERA over 18.1 innings pitched, but struggled a bit last season after repeating the level. He posted a 4.08 ERA with a 3.96 FIP over 28.2 innings, but managed to induce grounders at a 53.6% rate while posting an 11.30 K/9 next to a proportional 4.40 BB/9. He’s a name to watch.
- Catcher Alan Crowley (Released)
- Crowley is a career .220/.281/.333 hitter with limited extra offensive tools. He was drafted in the 26th round of the 2016 draft and has also struggled defensively behind the plate. Catchers are always in demand, but his numbers don’t necessarily guarantee him an offer.
- Left-handed pitcher Sam Freeman (Released)
- Freeman spent the last two seasons in Atlanta posting a 3.34 ERA and a 3.49 FIP over 110.1 innings. While his bottom line numbers weren’t exactly where he was hoping for last season, as he posted a 4.29 ERA, his peripherals suggest that he pitched closer to a 3.66. Freeman has a big arm, but has always struggled with control. The Braves will only be responsible for $230k in termination pay.
- Right-handed pitcher Merandy Gonzalez (Lost on waivers to the San Francisco Giants)
- Gonzalez has his flaws, but to discard him to waivers while he’s still 23 years old was a risky move for Miami. He was claimed by the Giants and optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. Personally, I think starting him in the Pacific Coast League is the worst thing that you could do, seeing as how he hasn’t mastered Double-A yet and has struggled in terms of allowing fly balls. That said, if utilized correctly, he could develop into a weapon, but he’s going to need patience. In an ideal situation, he would begin 2019 in Double-A (albeit briefly), work up through Triple-A, and probably be looking at a legitimate call-up in mid-2020 as a set-up man or potentially even as a back-end starter if he was able to work out some issues with further development. He’s a name to keep an eye on.
New York Mets
- Right-handed pitcher Matt Pobereyko (Released)
- The 27-year-old righty had reached Double-A after earning a midseason All-Star nod in 2018. His ceiling is limited based on his age, but he still stands a chance to reach the majors as a taxi guy and could stick as a middle reliever if he can further refine his control. Seeing as how he’s only entering his fourth year of minor league service and can be assigned to High-A initially, I would consider him likely to be signed in the near future.
- Infielder T.J. Rivera (Released)
- Rivera was very solid for the Mets in 2016 and 2017, slashing .304/.335/.445 with eight home runs over 106 games, but he missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery and was simply passed on the depth chart. Now 30, Rivera will look to latch on as a utility infielder. I can’t imagine that he’s without a job for very long, and that he will begin the 2019 season rehabbing in extended spring training. He should be good to make his debut in the minors within a month of the season starting and could be up as a midseason injury call-up for somebody.
- Right-handed pitcher Gabriel Llanes (Released)
- We’re looking at a control-oriented 23-year-old who has posted middling results as a starter up through High-A. He really doesn’t have much in terms of stuff and could struggle in the upper minors. Someone could take a chance on him based on the control, though.
- Second baseman Oliver Pascual (Released)
- Pascual is a contact oriented middle infielder with an above average glove. While he had previously found some success in terms of batting average, 2018 was a different story as he slashed a cumulative .195/.208/.229 across three levels with no stolen bases or home runs. He has also had frequent injury issues limiting him to less than 50 games in each of the past two seasons. The glove is good enough to get him an independent league offer, but his service time will hurt his marketability for affiliated teams, and his health will be a concern to any signing team.
- Infielder Emmanuel Marrero (Released)
- After being selected in the seventh round in 2014, Marrero was never able to hit minor league pitching, slashing .228/.288/.309 over 396 games. His glove should give him an opportunity elsewhere, likely as a defensive replacement in Double-A.
- Update: Marrero signed with the Lake Erie Crushers of the Frontier League. Based on their current roster, I would imagine that Marrero lines up next to Aaron Hill in the middle infield.
- First baseman Quincy Nieporte (Released)
- The 24-year-old first baseman simply didn’t hit enough once he was advanced to full season ball, slashing .258/.314/.381. He’s probably depth at this point.
- Right-handed pitcher Victor Sobil (Released)
- The 22-year-old reliever could struggle to find work, as he posted an 18.69 ERA over a small sample size in Rookie ball in 2018.
- Right-handed pitcher Blake Quinn (Released)
- Quinn was a ninth round selection back in 2016. He has a big arm, but like so many others like him, he lacks control. He found legitimate success in Short Season ball upon being drafted, but upon his promotion to Class A, he began to have more difficulty. He spent the 2018 season repeating Class A Advanced, posting a 6.33 ERA with a 4.53 FIP. While he managed to strike out 9.31 batters per nine innings, the walk rate was a very rough 5.21 per nine. He’s probably ticketed for independent ball.
- Catcher Drew Butera (Released)
- Butera was up against Andrew Knapp for the back-up for J.T. Relamuto. While he hit .259/.394/.519 with two home runs, Knapp slashed .323/.382/.516 with one home run. Furthermore, Knapp was already on the 40-man roster, which was an added benefit. Based on his reputation, I could certainly see him landing another deal, despite his age, and could serve as a decent enough back-up.
- Left-handed pitcher Eduardo Paredes (Released)
- Paredes was another guy who really didn’t have a realistic shot of making the Opening Day roster because of the surplus of relievers in the Phillies system. He was excellent in camp, allowing no runs in 6.1 innings while striking out 11 to just two walks. He has some previous major league experience with the Dodgers, and should be able to land another offer. I would imagine he would have to settle for a minor league deal out of the gate, but could be a mid-season call-up.
- Utility player Gregorio Petit (Released)
- Petit is a veteran journeyman who has made himself a nice career as a versatile injury replacement. He didn’t have much of a shot to break camp for the Phillies in the first place, but the fact that he struggled in camp, slashing .182/.240/.182, was the nail in the coffin. Chances are, he lands a minor league deal and plays in Triple-A until about June when he is recalled to serve as a stop-gap.
- Utility player Andrew Romine (Released)
- Romine is similar to Petit in that he’s a veteran utility infielder known for his versatility and defensive chops more than his bat. He was another guy who was a long shot to break camp with the club, but had his fate sealed by a weak .235/.297/.353 line. Regardless, however, he seems likely to land on his feet elsewhere on a minor league deal.
- Left-handed pitcher Jeremy Bleich (Released)
- Belich was another long shot to break camp with the Phillies. He made his major league debut last season pitching a third of an inning allowing two runs, good for a 54.00 ERA. His bottom line results were solid, as he posted a 3.00 ERA over nine innings, but walked seven to eleven strikeouts. In all likelihood, he latches on with a team with a deficiency of left-handed relief depth and starts the year off in Triple-A.
- Third baseman Trevor Plouffe (Released)
- The Phillies cut ties with Plouffe after he posted a .217/.345/.565 line over 29 plate appearances. The veteran third baseman was a regular for the Minnesota Twins from 2011 until 2016 posting a .247/.308/.420 batting line over 2909 plate appearances for them. After he was cut loose, he became something of a journeyman, playing for the Rays, A’s and Phillies. While the Phillies brought him back, his chances of breaking camp in Philly were slim. He should get another deal in short order based on his power potential.
- Left-handed pitcher Sammy Solis (Released and signed by San Diego)
- Solis was released by the Nationals in advance of their signing of Tony Sipp and quickly latched on with the Padres on a minor league deal. He currently seems to slot fourth out of the left-handed options in the organization behind Aaron Loup, Robbie Erlin, and Brad Wieck. The 30-year-old struggled to a 6.20 ERA and a 4.75 FIP over the past two seasons (65.1 innings pitched), but he had previously been one of Washington’s best relievers, posting a 2.74 ERA and 3.01 FIP over his first 62.1 innings from 2015 to 2016. I would consider him a reasonable candidate to see some major league action for the Padres this season. He could be controlled via arbitration through 2021 if he finds success.
- First baseman Jake Scudder (Released)
- Scudder was a day-three draft pick in 2017 out of Kansas State. He had reached Class A, but he didn’t hit enough for a defensively limited first base prospect, slashing .242/.302/.349 with eight home runs over 138 games. He may go independent.
- Right-handed pitcher Rob Scahill (Released)
- The 32-year-old righty is a Quad-A veteran, having seen MLB innings in every season since 2012, with 149.2 IP total. Scahill allowed three runs over 2.1 innings in the Cubs’ spring training before he got the boot. Despite the struggles, I would imagine he’ll attract interest elsewhere and will be used as relief depth.
- Outfielder Chris Carrier (Released)
- Carrier was a day two selection in 2017, and has not had much, if any success since hearing his name called in the ninth round out of Memphis. For his career, he has slashed .175/.315/.291 with no power or speed to speak of. Nearly 24-years old, he’s going to need to Advance himself to Class A Advanced ASAP.
- Left-handed pitcher Jesse Adams (Released)
- Adams was an early day three pick in the 2016 draft and had been developing into a very strong relief prospect, but then he got hurt and struggled for 16.2 innings in 2018. He’s the type of guy who a team should go for on a minor league deal, let him rehab at the team’s extended spring training facility. At his ceiling, Adams could be a nice set-up man.
- Outfielder Logan Taylor (Released)
- I’m not particularly thrilled about this one. On one hand, yes, he’ll be 25 in June and he missed all but three games in 2018. In his debut season in 2017, he slashed .307/.399/.381 over 44 games in Rookie Ball. He has an excellent glove in the outfield and could eventually turn into a fourth outfielder if he finds a team that will promote him and groom his particular skill set.
- Center fielder Mason Williams (Released)
- Williams was once a top prospect for the Yankees, but had his career hindered by injuries. He got his first legitimate shot in the majors last season, and actually posted strong numbers, slashing .293/.331/.398 over 132 plate appearances. While those numbers were the product of a .370 BABIP, his Triple-A slash line of .280/.341/.418 was much more legitimate, as he rode a .324 BABIP. I will admit that I am a bit surprised that they decided to keep Kyle Wren over him in the Louisville outfield. Now 27 years old, there should be no shortage of interest in him as he enters the free agent market.
- Third baseman John Sansone (Released)
- The 25-year-old third baseman was an eighth round selection out of Florida State in 2016. He did a very nice job in his first year, but once he hit full season ball, his bat couldn’t keep up. Last season, he slashed .213/.281/.315 across Class A and Class A Advanced, with a very small sample size in Triple-A. He brings with him some power and some level of versatility, but while he can play throughout the infield, he doesn’t handle any position particularly well. He seems likely to head to the independent leagues.
- Utility player Connor Joe (Traded to San Francisco for Jordan Johnson and cash)
- The Reds decided to take advantage of a nice spring from their Rule 5 pick and get a guaranteed return for him. Over 45 plate appearances, he slashed .275/.356/.450 and should factor into the Giants plans as a utility guy. As for the return, Jordan Johnson is a 25-year-old righty starter who reached Triple-A last season. His numbers weren’t great out of the gate, as he posted a 4.66 ERA with a 4.85 FIP, it should be noted that he posted them in the Pacific Coast League. Furthermore, while he struggled with his control in Triple-A, I wouldn’t expect that to be an issue as he’s never had much of a problem with it before. He has a plus change and a nice fastball. I think a move to the bullpen is in his future, but he definitely looks like a major leaguer.
- Right-handed pitcher Josh Tomlin (Released)
- Tomlin had an opt-out provision on his deal, and decided to use it after being informed that he would not make the Brewers’ Opening Day roster. Tomlin had been a serviceable back-end starter until 2018 when he imploded to a 6.14 ERA and a 7.16 FIP over 70.1 innings pitched. Tomlin is a legitimate control artist, but lacks “stuff”. There have been rumors that a return to the Brewers is still possible, although, he would undoubtedly be sent to Triple-A out of the gate.
- UPDATE: The Atlanta Braves signed Josh Tomlin to a minor league contract. He will join the Braves for the remainder of camp and has a shot to make it as the long reliever. If he doesn’t, though, it appears as though he will report to Triple-A Gwinnett.
- Right-handed pitcher Jenri Montas (Released)
- Montas is a Class A reliever who has a career 5.73 ERA. He may attract interest elsewhere as depth, but that’s no guarantee.
- Right-handed pitcher Jorge Ortega (Released)
- I don’t know what happened here. Back in 2015, he posted a 2.38 ERA as a starter over 147.2 innings pitched, mainly in Class A Advanced. In that time he walked just 12 guys compared to 75 strikeouts. Since then, however, it was nothing but down hill. He followed 2016 up with a 4.99 ERA over 97.1 innings pitched in Double-A and then got hurt and didn’t pitch in 2017. When he returned in 2018, he struggled even more, posting a 7.02 ERA over 42.1 innings pitched between Rookie Ball and Class A Advanced. His service time will make it difficult for affiliated teams to take a shot on him, as he’s not ready for Double-A, but his control and history are intriguing enough where an independent league team will surely give him a shot. He’s currently 25 years old.
- Outfielder Jay Feliciano (Released)
- Feliciano was an undrafted free agent out of Southeastern CC in Iowa back in 2015. While he had shown flashes of power and average in Rookie Ball, he struggled upon receiving a promotion to Class A slashing just .187/.267/.291 with decent defense in the outfield corners.
- Outfielder Nic Pierre (Released)
- Pierre is an all-glove center fielder who has never been much of an offensive piece. He has a career .242/.286/.334 batting line over 215 minor league games, all but 30 of which coming in Rookie Ball. After receiving a promotion to Class A, he slashed .174/.198/.217. He could continue his career in independent ball based on his glove, but based on service time, he may struggle to find affiliated offers.
- Right-handed pitcher Bret Helton (Released)
- Helton was a ninth round pick in 2015. While he spent the first two seasons as a starter, the Pirates converted him to a long relief role in 2017, upon reaching Class A Advanced. He pitched well enough to earn a promotion to Double-A, but that didn’t go quite as well, as he posted a 6.12 ERA, struggling mightily with his control for the first time in a while. I would consider him a likely independent league candidate.
- Right-handed pitcher Logan Sendelbach (Released)
- Selected the pick after Helton, Sendelbach also reached Double-A for the first time in 2018. Sendelbach has always been a finesse pitcher, who relies on control as opposed to “stuff”, but his control fell off last season, not unlike Helton. Luckily for him, however, his ground ball rate remained high at 55%, which could lead to him getting a shot elsewhere.
- Right-handed pitcher Evan Piechota (Released)
- Piechota was an undrafted free agent signing in 2016. He started off pitching mainly in relief and eventually began starting games as he advanced through the system. He had actually been excellent until he reached Class A Advanced, where he posted a 5.28 ERA over 58 innings. He’s another control first swing, who doesn’t have the greatest stuff, but his career 3.69 ERA over 188 innings on top of the fact that he can still be assigned to any full season level should put him in a position to get an offer or two.
- Right-handed pitcher Sergio Cubilete (Released)
- The 24-year-old righty swing man has posted a career 4.68 ERA over 211.2 innings pitched with a mediocre 7.06 K/9 and 4.12 BB/9. Based on his age and difficulty with the level, I can’t imagine there’s going to be a considerable amount of demand here.
- Right-handed pitcher Will Reed (Released)
- Reed was a day three selection in 2017 and has only thrown 5.2 professional innings based on injuries. It wouldn’t necessarily be fair to judge his performance based on that fact, but I don’t know if he will be able to continue his career.
St. Louis Cardinals
- Left-handed pitcher Matt Marksberry (Released)
- Marksberry didn’t get much of a shot, pitching two-thirds of a scoreless inning while walking one and allowing one hit. It has been a long road back for Marksberry, who had some scary off-the-field health issues in 2017. He had been pitching in the independent circuit and could return waiting for his next opportunity. He has a big fastball but has always struggled with control.
- Right-handed pitcher Shane Watson (Released)
- Formerly a first rounder by the Phillies, the 25-year-old latched on with the Diamondbacks after sitting out 2018. Unfortunately, he didn’t throw a single pitch for the organization. It remains to be seen if he’ll get an offer in affiliated ball at this point.
- Shortstop Ryan Dobson (Released)
- Dobson could be a decent utility guy in the future. He’s almost 24 years old, which limits his ceiling, but it’s conceivable to imagine a team signing him to serve as middle infield depth in Class A, based on his excellent glove, decent contact ability and plate discipline, and excellent speed. He was a day-three selection from 2017.
- Right-handed pitcher Brad Goldberg (Released)
- Goldberg is a classic example of a fire-baller with no control. The towering reliever made it to the majors quickly with the White Sox off of his triple-digit fastball, but he struggled mightily. After being shipped to Arizona, he pitched to an excellent 1.98 ERA over 36.1 innings in Double-A, but that came with 25 walks in 36.1 innings pitched. He struggled in two Cactus League appearances, only recording a single out while allowing two runs. He could theoretically latch on as Double-A relief depth, but has a limited ceiling at age 29.
- Left-handed pitcher Steve Hathaway (Released)
- Hathaway has missed the majority of the past two seasons in recovery from Tommy John surgery. He was a decent relief prospect, and had found success at every level of the minors. While he struggles with control, I would imagine he’ll be picked up by an independent league team, and sign back into affiliated ball by the end of the season, if he’s healthy. That’s a gigantic “if” in his case.
- Third baseman Eudy Ramos (Released)
- Ramos is simply just another corner infield prospect who didn’t hit enough to keep his spot in the organization. At 23 years old in Class A, it doesn’t appear likely that he’s picked up by an affiliated team. He slashed .235/.283/.384 over 99 games in Class A last season, which is in line with a career .254/.309/.408 line over 284 games, most of which came in Rookie ball.
- Outfielder William Gorman (Released)
- Gorman was a 32nd round selection out of R.I.T during the 2017 draft. Honestly, he wasn’t that bad in his time with the D-Backs as a whole, slashing .251/.316/.450 (.766 OPS) over 87 games. The left-handed outfielder reached full-season ball briefly in 2018, struggling to the tune of a .184/.287/.289 batting line over 24 games. His biggest issue is the strikeout. He’s struck out 111 times over 87 games, while walking just 22. He has the talent to make a career for himself, but that needs to be worked out.
- Right-handed pitcher/infielder Carlos Penalver (Released)
- The 24-year-old had always struggled offensively, leading to his conversion to a pitcher. There really wasn’t enough of a sample size to legitimately judge his ability on the mound, so I’m sure at least an independent team will take a flyer on him. If the pitching doesn’t work out, however, his glove is excellent and with any improvement offensively, he could make sense as a late-inning defensive replacement.
- Left-handed pitcher Robby Sexton (Released)
- Sexton was in the same position last season, as the Red Sox cut him loose despite reasonably solid results in Class A Greenville. The former 14th rounder signed on with the Diamondbacks early in the 2018 season and posted a 4.37 ERA over 55.2 innings of relief in High-A. His peripheral statistics reflected more favorably on his performance, as he posted a 3.83 FIP, a 9.22 K/9, a 3.07 BB/9 and a 0.65 HR/9 while dealing with his opponents riding a .414 BABIP against him. I would imagine he is picked up in short order and assigned to Double-A as some left-handed relief depth. He has a reasonably solid chance of eventually reaching the majors.
- UPDATE: Sexton latched on with the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association. It seems as though he will serve as the first lefty out of a bullpen that also includes former major leaguers Alex Boshers and Ryan Schlosser.
- Right-handed pitcher Carlos Bustamante (Released)
- The Diamondbacks signed the righty reliever out of the Mexican League back in 2017, and he impressed in his first season pitching to the tune of a 0.31 ERA with a 9.83 K/9 and a 1.84 BB/9. Unfrountately, he was unable to quite follow that up posting a 4.66 ERA over 29 innings in Class A and a 5.01 ERA over 32.1 innings in Class A Advanced. That being said, Bustamante will find a home in short order. His peripheral suggesting suggest that he was simply the victim of bad luck, including his 3.00 FIP in Class A and his 3.42 FIP in Class A Advanced, not to mention K/9 rates over 11 at both levels and BB/9 rates under four. I would consider Bustamante a legitimate candidate to reach the majors at some point in his career.
- Outfielder Stephen Smith (Released)
- In Smith, we’re looking at a corner outfielder who was drafted in the tenth round of the 2016 draft and has struggled mightily. Smith’s best tool is his plate discipline, and there’s some level of intrigue in his power, but at the end of the day, Smith is a liability on the field, and his right-handed bat doesn’t inspire confidence in terms of average. Furthermore, he’s already 24 years old, and still in Class A Advanced. He seems like more of a depth guy than anything, but if he can unlock some power, he could become a solid DH.
- Right-handed pitcher Jaron Long (Released)
- Long was a non-roster signing over the offseason after he spent the 2018 season in the Nationals’ organization between Double and Triple-A. The 27-year-old righty is the definition of a solid upper minor league depth swing man who can effectively eat innings based on his control despite a lack of stuff. I think he’s going to make it to the majors at some point in his career, even if it’s just for a cameo, but there should be no shortage of minor league offers for him.
- Left-handed pitcher Sebastian Kessay (Released)
- Kessay signed on with the Diamondbacks in August of last season, throwing 5.1 innings of 13.50 ERA ball. He has a career 4.65 ERA with 79 walks over 149 innings, having reached Class A Advanced. Based on his big arm, he could get offers out of the independent league, but I don’t believe he will be signed by an affiliated team right out of the gate.
- Second baseman Adam Walton (Released)
- Walton is a 25-year-old second baseman who spent last season at Class A Advanced, slashing .267/.337/.391 with five home runs. Walton brings with him intriguing versatility which could land him an offer despite the fact that he’s slightly below average across the diamond. He was drafted in 2015, therefore can once again be assigned to Class A Advanced, which could be beneficial for teams dealing with injuries.
- Right-handed pitcher Jesus Balaguer (Released)
- The 25-year-old reliever was signed out of Cuba by the Astros before the 2017 season and was actually rather excellent, pitching 33 innings of 2.73 ERA ball with an incredible 14.45 K/9 next to a 4.09 BB/9 and supporting peripherals. Unfortunately, he was released by Houston soon after the season and quickly scooped up by the Diamondbacks. He was promoted to Class A Advanced for the first time and it did not go well. Over 33.1 innings, the big arm was still present (11.61 K/9), but his struggles with control were far more evident (8.64 BB/9) and it resulted in a 5.13 ERA and a 5.49 FIP. While he’s older for the level, the stuff is undeniable and he can be assigned throughout the system. Somebody will take a shot on him as a depth guy.
- Outfielder Michael Saunders (Released)
- Saunders has had a rough few years. After making it to the All-Star game in 2016, he struggled in the second half of that season, causing his free agent value to suffer enough where he was only able to secure a one-year contract with the Phillies. Over 214 plate appearances, his struggles continued, as he slashed .205/.257/.360 before being released by Philadelphia and latching on with Toronto. Unfortunately, his second stint in Toronto didn’t go very well either, as he slashed just .167/.250/.167 over 20 plate appearances. He spent the 2018 season between the Orioles and White Sox Triple-A affiliates, slashing a combined .158/.273/.248. He should get another minor league deal based on his pedigree, and he has the potential to bounce back, but I wouldn’t expect anything.
- Right-handed pitcher Alec Asher (Released)
- Asher is a rotation depth guy who eats innings at Triple-A and comes up in emergencies and pitches a few games here and there. His big issue is his propensity to allow homers, which would have posed an obvious issue in Colorado. He didn’t pitch a single inning in camp but should find a new home.
- Right-handed pitcher Kenny Oakley (Released)
- He looks like depth at this point and may be forced to go Independent after posting a 7.46 ERA over 50.2 innings, mainly in High-A.
- Left-handed pitcher Alec Byrd (Released)
- I don’t typically include guys released from Low-A, as the vast majority of them are just depth guys who surpassed the level of service time limit for the lower minors, but this kid is promising. Over 96 innings, he has posted a 3.00 ERA as a swing. As a 2017 draft pick, he can be assigned anywhere in the system, so I expect him to draw interest.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Right-handed pitcher Josh Fields (Released)
- Fields won’t be on the market for long. Quite frankly, I’m shocked nobody traded for him. Fields has been an excellent middle reliever over the past few seasons for the Dodgers and just became part of a numbers crunch. He could, yet, be on an Opening Day roster on a guaranteed deal.
- Update: Josh Fields signed with the Brewers on a minor league deal worth $1 million in the major leagues with opt-out provisions on April 30th and June 25th. He will begin the season in Triple-A, and should be up in short order. My projections have him posting a 3.27 ERA over 45 innings for the Brewers with a 9.52 K/9, a 2.65 BB/9 and a 0.97 HR/9.
- Second baseman Brad Miller (Released)
- Miller absolutely killed it in camp, slashing .385/.429/.615 with two homers over 28 plate appearances. He actually wasn’t even that bad last season, and just fell victim to the Rays’ purge of veterans. As a whole, he slashed .248/.311/.413 with seven homers while playing well above average defense at first and second base. He should get a job in short order.
San Diego Padres
- First baseman Allen Craig (Released)
- From 2011 until 2014, Craig was a core player for a St. Louis Cardinals’ team that won a World Series. Unfortunately for him, his numbers fell off of a cliff during the 2014 season. Half way through 2014, he was shipped to Boston with Allen Craig in exchange for John Lackey and Corey Littrell, seen as a change of scenery candidate and salary balance. His stint in Boston didn’t go very well, as he was removed from the roster early in the 2015 season and hasn’t sniffed the majors since. He did perform well in Triple-A last season, slashing .293/.375/.479 with 13 home runs, but it should be noted that he posted those numbers in the Pacific Coast League. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was signed on as a veteran mentor for a Triple-A organization.
- Outfielder Hunter Jarmon (Released)
- Jarmon was signed as an undrafted free agent during the 2017 season. Unfortunately, his bat has never really been able to handle minor league pitching. While he brings excellent plate discipline to the table, his utter lack of other tools will hinder his ability to become successful, especially after turning 24 a few weeks ago. I would consider him a candidate for independent ball.
- Third baseman Luis Guzman (Released)
- Guzman has been in the league for four seasons now, three spent in the foreign rookie leagues, and he has a career .228/.365/.289 batting line with 109 walks to 123 strikeouts. He’s gifted defensively at both shortstop and third base, and has the arm to stick. Based on his lack of contact ability, I think independent ball is his best bet now, but the tools for a serviceable utility infielder are present.
- Catcher Marcus Greene Jr. (Released)
- Green was a 16th round pick back in 2013, which essentially means that he can’t play below Double-A. He wasn’t released for a lack of talent, he was released as the Padres felt they had sufficient depth. That being said, Greene slashed .256/.328/.333 last season in Class A Advanced to follow-up an excellent .270/.366/.460 line in Class A back in 2017. Green is an excellent back stop with a 9.36 RF. He has also seen time at both infield corners as well as both outfield corners. He should be picked up as soon as possible.
- Left-handed pitcher Danny Sexton (Released)
- Sexton’s numbers have been all over the place. Here are his numbers by level since signing as an undrafted free agent (hat tip to fangraphs.com)
- Rookie Ball (2017): 30.2 innings pitched, 6.75 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 10.27 K/9, 3.23 BB/9, 53.9% GB% and a 0.59 HR/9
- Rookie Ball (2018): 18 innings pitched, 1.00 ERA, 3.29 FIP, 6.50 K/9, 1.50 BB/9, 74.5% GB% and a 0.00 HR/9.
- Class A (2018): 11.1 innings pitched, 3.97 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 6.35 K/9, 4.76 BB/9, 38.7% GB% and a 0.00 HR/9
- He also had a 1 inning sample at Double-A, which didn’t go well, but isn’t enough data to actually use.
- Seeing as how he’s something of a wild card, I don’t have any idea how teams are going to perceive him. I would guess that he will at least get a shot in independent ball.
- Sexton’s numbers have been all over the place. Here are his numbers by level since signing as an undrafted free agent (hat tip to fangraphs.com)
San Francisco Giants
- Infielder Hanser Alberto (Lost on waivers to the Orioles)
- Alberto’s stay in San Francisco didn’t last long, as he returned to the Orioles organization on a waiver claim just a few weeks later. Alberto is known for a solid glove and while he lacks plate discipline and power, his contact ability is good enough where he’s not being ruled out as a major league regular down the line. Baltimore represents a nice landing spot. He is out of options, and therefore will need to make the Orioles roster or be exposed to waivers, where he will likely be moving once again. He has struggled early on in camp, hitting .200/.250/.240 and striking out seven times. His main competition for a bench job is Alcides Escobar. It remains to be seen how this one shakes out. I’m a fan of Alberto’s though.
- Right-handed pitcher Jake Barrett (Lost on waivers to the Pirates)
- Barrett had been claimed by San Francisco from Arizona earlier in the offseason, but he was cut from the 40-man roster after the Giants added Alberto, who has since been shown the door. The 27-year-old has an option remaining and will likely serve as a taxi-squader. He mainly pitched in Triple-A last season, but he struggled to an ERA of 5.14 in a seven-game sample. He has only pitched one inning in camp, but it was a good one. He probably starts in Triple-A, and serves as a shuttle arm.
- Right-handed pitcher Dan Slania (Released)
- Slania was a 5th round pick out of Notre Dame back in 2013. He simply was in a poor position within the organization, as he came up through the system, made a very brief cameo in the major leagues (one inning of scoreless ball), and struggled upon returning to Triple-A. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t even reach Triple-A again in 2018 despite a very solid 2.43 ERA over 70.1 innings in Double-A, coming out of the bullpen. He didn’t perform very well in high leverage situations, as he went 1-for-6 in save opportunities, but he was a very serviceable middle to long reliever. I see no reason that he can’t latch on with another organization and head to Triple-A for 2019. He’s still just 26 years old and could be a solid middle reliever.
- Right-handed pitcher Jake McCasland (Released)
- McCasland was a day three selection (round 26) by the Giants in 2013. He reached Double-A for the first time in 2018, struggling to the tune of a 4.66 ERA pitching as a swing, throwing 106.1 innings over 14 games started and 18 in relief. His peripherals weren’t much better as he posted a 1.50 WHIP and a mediocre 6.35 K/9 coupled with a 3.64 BB/9. Seeing as how he’s now 27, I would consider him more likely to head to the independent leagues.
- Left-handed pitcher Domenic Mazza (Released)
- Mazza was a day three selection out of UC Santa Barbara in 2015, and he cruised through the lower levels of the minor leagues. In 2018, he received his first promotion to Class A Advanced, and struggled a bit posting a 4.52 ERA over 67.2 innings pitched while walking 3.06 per nine next to just 7.45 K/9. He’s a 24-year-old lefty who hasn’t reached a restrictive amount of service time yet, therefore, I don’t think he’s unemployed for long, but long-term, he looks like a lefty swing if he makes it to the bigs.
- Third baseman Wander Franco (Released)
- At first, upon reading this, I thought I was crazy, as Wander Franco is the name of the Rays’ uber-prospect, but it turns out that this is his older brother. Franco has a bit of an odd profile. Offensively, he strikes me as a utility infield guy based on his high contact and average rates, decent enough speed, and a lack of power. Unfortunately for him, however, while he can play short in a pinch, he’s a corner infielder by trade, which limits his appeal, especially without the power. Seeing as how he’s been in the league since 2012, and cannot be sent below Double-A without counting against the limit of veterans on a low-level roster, he strikes me as an independent ball guy who could return in a few seasons. Regardless of his limitations, however, he was elected to the California League All-Star Game in 2018.
- Left-handed pitcher Orleny Quiroz (Released)
- The 25-year-old did a nice job handling Class A through Class A Advanced in 2018, but was the beneficiary of a considerable amount of luck, as he posted a 3.91 ERA over 25.1 innings in Class A with a 5.13 FIP. As a young lefty, he’ll get something, but I think that something is more likely to be an independent contract.
- Right-handed pitcher Ryan Koziol (Released)
- Koziol is the type of guys who you see gets cut, and have the first initial reaction of, “What are they doing?”, but when you look at his skill set, it’s a pretty safe bet that he struggles as he rises through the system. His stuff isn’t quite good enough to overpower anybody and while the control is solid, he’s essentially a meat baller.
- Outfielder Drew Ferguson (Returned to Houston)
- Ferguson was picked up in the Rule 5 draft over the offseason, and didn’t look very good in camp slashing .111/.294/.111 over 34 plate appearances. He has an elite glove in all three spots in the outfield while offering a nice power and speed mix with solid plate discipline. I have no doubts that he will be a major league outfielder, with the likeliest outcome as a platoon bat based on his age. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually became a regular.
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