Breaking Down The Minor-Leaguers In Viera This Spring

2014 NRIs
With the announcement today of the full list of 2014 non-roster invitees (NRIs), we now have a good sense of the minor-leaguers who will begin spring training next month with the big boys.

Suffice it to write, the vast majority of these guys won’t make the Opening Day roster. But with a new field manager*, camp is going to be a bit bigger than under his predecessor, so it’s possible that a couple more minor-leaguers will be brought up.
* [rant] Can we please not call him Matty? The man is 48, not 15. It’s only three extra characters on Twitter and can shortened to Wms. [/rant]

For us, the X factor is how many of the first two groups will wait in Syracuse… or be offered the opportunity. Folks are already drawing up the full-season affiliates’ rosters in their heads, if not on paper (don’t worry, I’ll do the same next month when I review last year’s roster/staff predictions) but absent that information, we’re all just guessing.

Without further ado, here’s how it breaks down…

IFs Jamey Carroll, Mike Fontenot, RHPs Chris Young, Clay Hensley, Manny Delcarmen

IFs Josh Johnson, Will Rhymes, RHPs Daniel Stange, 1B-OF Brock Peterson

OFs Steven Souza, Michael Taylor, Eury Perez, LHPs Sammy Solis, Matt Purke, RHPs Nathan Karns, Aaron Barrett, SS-3B Zach Walters, UT Jeff Kobernus

RHP A.J. Cole, OF Brian Goodwin, 1B-3B Matt Skole

Chris Snyder, Brian Jeroloman, Sandy Leon, Jhonatan Solano

Tyler Robertson, Danny Rosenbaum

Blake Treinen

RHP Gabriel Alfaro

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

19 thoughts on “Breaking Down The Minor-Leaguers In Viera This Spring”

  1. IF Will Rhymes played with the Detroit Tigers &, TB Rays. He played AAA with Durham Bulls and Toleda Mud Hens. He has lots of experience. Nats should use him

    1. Not officially. The Nats have a long history of shielding high-profile prospects. Goodwin, for example, just got invited this year despite two tours in the AFL the past two falls.

  2. Interesting competition with the AAA shuffle:
    Does Goodwin join Taylor in AA or AAA with Perez, Komatsu
    And the 40 man downfall- Kobernus, JJ
    Or Joe Dunigan??
    Does Bluxom bump up to AAA to assist on the corners?

    1. That begs the question to Luke. To help get through this miserable cold weather we’re having I’m wondering when the roster assignments come out.

      1. Sorry, boys – last week of March for the affiliates to announce their rosters. I think we’ll see Goodwin in AAA this year, but Bloxom’s path may be blocked with all the veterans they’ve been stockpiling.

  3. Yes vets stockpiled bump Bluxom back interesting
    Sens roster !
    Ty like as always for entertaining site.
    Livian as instructor is great move

  4. Luke and others, what can you tell us about Josh Johnson? On paper, his batting stats are very promising for a middle infielder, more promising than those of the MLB vets who have been signed to compete for the Lombo spot. (Curiously, Burriss didn’t get an MLB camp invite.) Just reading the tea leaves, I see that Johnson was drafted as a 3B (a 3d rounder, so well thought of), but he didn’t hit with enough power to play at the corner. He has been a couple of years too old for age and level since coming to the Nats so hasn’t shown up on prospect lists. Still, he went 293/398/458 across AA/AAA last year, which is pretty darn impressive. He also had a positive non-PED drug test in 2012. He has played a fair amount at SS, which would seem to make him a more well-rounded utility option than many of the others in the mix without much time at short. I love the look of the consistently high OBP numbers, something that has been lacking from the Nats’ bench.

    Anyway, what more can you add? Is he someone who might get more than a cursory look?

    1. Johnson’s a solid UI who gets on base, plays decent defense, can run and has gap (doubles) power. He and Lombardozzi had a nice run as the 1-2 batters during the second half of the 2010 season in Potomac, enough for me to make him a watchlist player going into his age-25 season in 2011. He had a good, but not great season that year and as you remarked, lost time due to a “drug of abuse” suspension in 2012. He did, however, finish very strong at AAA last season (.341/.458/.466 in 35G) which is why I think they gave him an invite so that the powers that be could take a closer look. Whether or not it’ll be “more than cursory” is doubtful — I think we all know that if Danny Espinosa shows anything resembling his pre-injury form, then most of these MI/UI-type NRIs are SOL, given the options of either Kobernus or Walters as bench players.

      1. Although Kobernus played more outfield last season. Rhymes might be interesting to them due to the left-handed bat? Looking at the depth after these guys in the lower minors: Just Johnson and Martinson I guess? Is Martinson still a viable candidate in your mind? Soriano and Sanchez? Renda? I guess none would end up on any top prospect listing at Fangraphs, BA, or Sickels?

      2. Luke – Thanks for the feedback. I like to pull for these kinds of guys, who’ve been riding buses for ten years without even a cup of coffee.

        Peric – The big plus with Johnson is that he can play SS, plus he’s well ahead of Kobernus and Rhymes in SLG. The Kobe-Rhymes stats are pretty close if they are looking for a LH bat, but all things equal, I would take Kobe because of the speed. As for Walters, I think he’d have to show much better defense and plate discipline (OBP) in camp to have a chance of making the big club out of the spring. We’ll see. Espinoza is the elephant in the room, but considering the comments that are flying, he may be cashing his ticket out of town.

        For utility purposes, I’m intrigued by the fact that Souza played 56 games at short for Hagerstown when he was 20. I wonder if he was any good there.

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