Breaking Down the 40-Man Roster Deadline

Friday’s 40-man roster/Rule 5 Draft protection deadline featured the usual flurry of transactional activity. While christening a new wave of big leaguers, the day’s moves also illuminated a secondary effect of recent farm-building trends, and indicated some shifts in the way teams are thinking about the players they do or don’t decide to protect. As I fly through each team’s additions and subtractions from Friday, I’ll flesh out these concepts where they best apply. I’ve tried to give readers a little scouting note on every player, getting into greater detail for players who aren’t yet on The Board (which is where you’ll want to go for in-depth scouting reports) or whose reports I think have meaningfully changed since they were last updated on The Board. Readers should know that when it comes to examining the reasons teams chose not to protect players on Friday, I’m using informed speculation.

Here’s a quick rundown/refresher for folks who might be new to caring about this particular aspect of roster construction. Deeper teams tend to have more good players than they can roster, and tend to lose the ones toward the bottom of their depth chart to talent-hungry clubs that consider them upgrades to the players currently on their not-so-good roster. Sometimes a team with a good big league roster will also have a large wave of quality prospects approaching the majors, and the combination of the two creates motivation to trade some of those prospects away, or else loose them for nothing via waivers or the Rule 5 Draft. The way the 60-day injured list works also impacts a lot of fringe roster movement.

There are a couple ways teams try to deal with this if they think they have more desirable players than they do roster spots. They either package several of them as part of a trade for one significant big leaguer, or deal them for very young players who are several years from needing to be added to the 40-man. Teams keep 40-man dynamics in mind with every move they make, but the period just before the 40-man/Rule 5 deadline at the end of November is almost entirely driven by them. Teams weigh adding their own prospects to the 40-man against the chances that an unprotected player might be popped in the Rule 5 Draft (and stick on their new team’s roster), as well as who they might otherwise be able to use that roster spot for. It’s a part of the baseball calendar that forces teams to make moves that help us learn about their collective behavior and individual preferences.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles foundational piece D.L. Hall (three plus pitches, below-average control) was the big name added to the team’s 40-man, while several players acquired via trade during the long rebuild — contact-oriented utility man Terrin Vavra (acquired from Colorado in the Mychal Givens trade), starter/relief line slider monster Kyle Bradish (Angels, Dylan Bundy trade), low-slot lefty Kevin Smith (Mets, Miguel Castro) — were also added. Vavra and former high-profile amateur prospect Lucius Fox (claimed from Kansas City) both bring feel for contact, speed, and defensive versatility to the club, and Fox becomes the second-best shortstop defender on the 40-man after Richie Martin.

Also added in Baltimore were Felix Bautista (elite arm strength, fringe curveball, 20 control — take cover) and Fall Leaguer Logan Gillaspie, each likely up/down relievers in 2022. Gillaspie’s fastball sat 93 with Milwaukee in 2019; they released him and he signed a minor league deal with the Orioles. He had a two-tick bump in 2021, and is now sitting 92-96 with a bevy of other pitches, the best of which is an above-average changeup.

Baltimore currently has no catchers on their 40-man. At some point early in 2022, Adley Rutschman is likely to be added, but most teams carry three 40-man catchers, and the free agent pool isn’t exactly flush with good ones. With their current 40-man at 39, look for Baltimore to outright more members off the bottom of their roster at some point this offseason in pursuit of catching, and/or to take a Rule 5 shot or two (perhaps Blake Hunt?). Adam Hall is the highest-profile Oriole minor leaguer not to be added. In addition to being skill/role redundant with Vavra and Fox, he’s more raw than those two and far less likely to stick if indeed he’s taken in the Rule 5.

Pre-deadline chatter with my scout/front office contacts indicated that the Red Sox at least kicked the tires on trades for near-term contributors, but ultimately, they only made additions from within. 2021 breakout righty Kutter Crawford, who’s pitching in the Dominican Winter League right now, is the best bet among the added pitchers to take a turn in Boston’s rotation next season. The Red Sox also added 2021 Futures Game participants Brayan Bello (relief projection for me, 94-99, four-seam/two-seam mix, above-average slider) and Jeter Downs (drafted by the Reds, traded to Dodgers as part of the big Yasiel Puig deal, then to Boston as part of the Mookie Betts deal), who had a terrible regular season before rebounding in Arizona during the fall. Josh Winckowski (traded from the Blue Jays to the Mets for Steven Matz, then from the Mets to Boston as part of the three-team Andrew Benintendi deal) is the only one of several fringe up/down relief types (Andrew Politi, Frank German, Durbin Feltman) who was added. Winckowski has three average pitches.

The ultra-toolsy Gilberto Jimenez, the sixth-ranked prospect in the system, was left unprotected. At 21, his swing hasn’t made any real progress and he remains a slash-and-dash type of hitter with blazing speed that plays down on defense due to middling instincts. He’d be a bold Rule 5 choice for a rebuilding club, who’d be putting his long-term development at risk by rostering him. Stash this guy in the back of your head for later. Thaddeus Ward, who underwent Tommy John in June, would also be an interesting Rule 5 choice since he could be stashed on the 60-day IL during rehab.

The New York Yankees cleared five spots, some via trade with the Phillies, and some by outrighting Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade, and Rougned Odor off the roster. Added from within were high-probability utility man Oswaldo Cabrera, 20-year-old power-hitting prospect Everson Pereira, and three pitchers. I wrote about one of them, Stephen Ridings, in August. The others are Ron Marinaccio, a deceptive low-slot righty with a plus slider and changeup, and JP Sears, a low-slot lefty with plus command and a fastball that lives off its flat angle.

As for the trade, coming back from Philly for catcher Donny Sands and Nick Nelson (more on them in the Phils’ section) is T.J. Rumfield, a big-framed, power-hitting first base prospect whom the Phillies had only just drafted out of Virginia Tech, and 21-year-old lefty Joel Valdez, who spent 2021 in the DSL. Valdez sits 93-94 and his slider has plus movement despite little spin. Rumfield struggled to find playing time at Texas Tech, and the pandemic furthered disrupted his college career before he found consistency in Blacksburg. He really only got reps in 2021 and is a “tip of the iceberg” sleeper prospect wit no-doubt big league physicality. Moving Sands means the Yankees will likely look for an external candidate to be their third catcher.

The Tampa Bay Rays are often active ahead of this particular roster deadline since they’ve taken a depth-focused approach to farm system building for a long time and typically have more talent than they can roster. This year the Rays made a few moves in the days leading up to the deadline (like sending Dietrich Enns to Japan) amid several “kick the can down the road” trades. Louis Head went to Miami for a PTBNL (likely to be completed after the Rule 5), Mike Brosseau was sent to Milwaukee for sleeper relief prospect Evan Reifert (a $20,000 NDFA from 2020, he’s a 2024 40-man add who sits 94-95 with an above-average slider), Brent Honeywell Jr. was traded to Oakland for cash, and Tobias Myers was traded to Cleveland for DSL infielder Junior Caminero (a young, pull-power flier). The Rays added Jonathan Aranda (30-grade second baseman, plus hit tool, huge 2021 performance), Calvin Faucher (freaky curveball, acquired from the Twins in the Nelson Cruz trade), Tommy Romero (acquired from the Mariners for Denard Span and Alex Colomé, fringe velocity, plus-plus fastball carry) and C/INF Ford Proctor. The additions of Proctor and René Pinto, a breakout player who was added weeks ago to prevent him from becoming a minor league free agent, made it hard for Tampa Bay to roster Blake Hunt, a 50 FV prospect who came back from San Diego in the Blake Snell trade. Hunt didn’t perform in 2021 but catcher performance tends to be pretty volatile, and there seemed to be swing issues plaguing his season. He’s a high-profile Rule 5 candidate. Some scouts and analysts also like power-hitting 22-year-old outfielder Diego Infante and think he’s vulnerable.

The Toronto Blue Jays made an external addition by claiming Shaun Anderson off waivers from San Diego, then added pitchers Bowden Francis (from the Rowdy Tellez trade with Milwaukee, high-probability backend starter) and Zach Logue (velo up two ticks from 2019, plus changeup, funky delivery helps slider play), who will be 2022 rotation depth. Leo Jimenez (20-years old, elite feel for contact, versatile defender, no power) and Hagen Danner (two-way high-schooler drafted as a catcher, first real pro pitching experience came in 2021, above-average fastball and breaking ball) are interesting additions considering Toronto left off higher-profile infielder Miguel Hiraldo and several other relievers (Jackson Rees, Curtis Taylor, Graham Spraker) with more experience than Danner. Jimenez, whose 2021 line was amazing, doesn’t have Hiraldo’s bat speed or power potential but he is a more versatile and polished infield defender, and has better feel for contact, so even though he’s younger than the 21-year-old Hiraldo and arguably has a lower ceiling due to the gap in raw power, Jimenez is more likely to play a viable big league role in 2022 and actually stick on an active roster all summer.

AL Central

There wasn’t much action surrounding the Chicago White Sox, who added hard-throwing reliever Bennett Sousa (up to 98, deceptive, plus slider) and Jason Bilous (velo down from peak but still average, has four pitches) to the 40-man while leaving off release point freak Hunter Schryver, who struggled to throw strikes in 2021. The same is true of the Detroit Tigers, who added would-be minor league free agent strike-thrower Elvin Rodriguez (from the Angels, Justin Upton trade) a few weeks ago, then hard-throwing enigma Angel De Jesus and bat-first, shift-enabled second baseman Kody Clemens.

On the other side of the spectrum was the Cleveland Guardians, completing their first transactions under the new moniker by acquiring Tobias Myers from Tampa Bay, outrighting several players off the roster (Justin Garza, Daniel Johnson, J.C. Mejía, Scott Moss, Kyle Nelson, Harold Ramirez, Alex Young) and adding many others (Tyler Freeman, Steven Kwan, Bryan Lavastida, Cody Morris, Jhonkensy Noel, Richie Palacios, Konnor Pilkington, Brayan Rocchio, Jose Tena, George Valera). There are in-depth scouting reports on basically that entire group on the site, but here I’m going to spend time talking about how and why the Guardians came to outright almost 20% of their 40-man roster in one day.

This was the team with the most obvious 40-man crunch in baseball, and Cleveland had been making an effort to consolidate for many months to no avail. It was tough for the Guardians to flip present 40-man occupants for future ones, as they already have a big crunch to deal with in 2022 and a medium-sized one looming in 2023. Trading three or four players for one good one made sense for Cleveland from a roster standpoint, but most good big leaguers make more money than Cleveland’s ownership seems willing to spend. For instance, the A’s (who have 34 players on their 40-man right now, the lowest in baseball) seemed like an excellent fit to deal with the Guardians and acquire a whole mess of low-cost players and near-ready prospects in exchange for a big leaguer, but this would have required bumping Cleveland’s comically low payroll (just $49 million right now) by at least 10% on the low end (Frankie Montas‘ arbitration projection is for just over $5 million, the lowest of any purported A’s trade target) and 25% on the high end. Matt Olson, a meaningful upgrade to the current Cleveland first-base picture, has an estimated arb figure of $12.6 million. There are some really good, less-expensive big leaguers with more years of control who have been mentioned in trade rumors, like Bryan Reynolds of Pittsburgh, but the Pirates were dealing with a crunch of their own this year and weren’t in a position to make a 1-for-3 or -4 trade like this. With ownership seemingly unwilling to take on more payroll, the Guardian’s options were limited.

Their pool for potential trades was also limited by the growing popularity of farm-system building that prioritizes acquiring depth and mitigating risk through diversification. Rather than take back one prospect as the return for a trade (like the Padres did in the Francisco Mejía-for-Brad Hand deal), there’s a trend among analytically-inclined teams to make deals and have draft classes more like the Dylan Bundy trade return (a bunch of 35+ FV college arms) to help ensure that you get at least one big league piece back. As more teams share process-oriented DNA with other successful orgs and this style of farm-system building becomes more popular, teams like the Guardians lose potential trade partners with whom to make roster equilibrium trades since more teams are behaving like they are. This might weirdly end up being beneficial to teams like the Nationals and the Padres, clubs with thin systems that are suddenly in a position to make mutually beneficial deals with teams that think nothing like they do.

Finally, on Friday several people with various clubs proactively offered up that Cleveland can be tough to deal with, as they adhere strictly to their valuations and won’t make context-based adjustments to facilitate transactions with other teams. They can also start a great deal away from the middle point of any negotiation and have to be dragged there. Not everyone considers this to be true, but it is a pervasive belief, and came up almost totally unprompted several times as I poked around on what the Guardians would do with all these players on Friday.

So to recap, Cleveland turned over about 20% of their 40-man due to inactivity caused by a) tightfisted owners, b) the way their farm-building strategy has interacted with similar, league-wide strategies, which are more common in part because of Cleveland’s demonstrated success and c) their purportedly stubborn, grinding style of negotiating.

Elsewhere in the Central, the Kansas City Royals made a few high-profile additions in draft-and-dev success stories Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez, and short-term relief aid in Collin Snider (plus command of a plus slider) and Nathan Webb (sits 97-98, fringe changeup and slider). TJ rehabber Jonathan Bowlan likely would have been popped if left unprotected since he could be placed on the 60-day IL on someone else’s roster, which was common in the 2020 Rule 5. Young, skinny shortstop Maikel Garcia was also added. I like Garcia but don’t think he would have been taken in the Rule 5 as he’s not currently physical enough to compete at the big league level. With Garcia, the Royals are rebooting the sequence of events that led to an odd developmental path for Jeison Guzmán, a 45 FV prospect who recently elected minor league free agency. Strike-throwing lefty Josh Dye, conversion arm Jose Cuas, and frustrating relief prospects Austin Cox and Zach Haake are interesting Rule 5 candidates.

Royce Lewis is one of the more famous prospects added to a 40 on Friday. He took part in baseball activity during the Minnesota Twins intrasquad-heavy instructional league, which included live BP against Jhoan Duran. He’s tough to value on the prospect continuum because he’s missed two consecutive years (this is more common for pitchers with recurring injuries, but their collective track record is terrible) and he seems likely to enter the big league fray in a multi-positional reserve role. Josh Winder (plus velo, four distinct pitches, a back of the top 100 candidate), Chris Vallimont (plus-plus fastball carry), Cole Sands (plus-plus curveball), and Blayne Enlow (three average pitches) all figure to get at least some big league time in 2022. Slow-developing Puerto Rican infielder Jose Miranda, who was passed over in the 2020 Rule 5 and then exploded in 2021, emerged from a farm system full of relatively immobile infielders who rake, à la Ty France and Aledmys Díaz.

AL West

Top 50 prospect and potential everyday Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña looks great in the Dominican Republic coming off wrist surgery; he was a slam dunk addition for the Houston Astros. 1B/3B Joe Perez, a Kevin Goldstein favorite, is a former two-way prospect with a power-over-hit four corners profile, eerily similar to J.D. Davis. He had a healthy, breakout offensive season but is probably stuck behind Taylor Jones on the depth chart next year. The other of Houston’s additions were arms. Shawn Dubin (sits 96, plus-plus slider) should be a bullpen piece in 2022 while lefty Jonathan Bermudez (sits about 90 but has two good breaking balls), is rotation depth. I was surprised Houston didn’t add catcher Yainer Diaz, who came back from Cleveland in the Myles Straw trade, especially after trading Garrett Stubbs to Philly for the toolsy, small school 2021 10th rounder Logan Cerny, a center fielder from Troy with big bat speed. Philly also claimed sinker guy Kent Emanuel from Houston, and Houston outrighted formerly exciting teenager Freudis Nova, who is the cautionary tale version of some of the young, highly-ranked prospects who I’ve mentioned thus far.

The Seattle Mariners may have one of those on their hands in outfielder Alberto Rodriguez, who has just a week of experience above Low-A but is now on the Seattle 40-man. He also had a 22% barrel rate in the minors last year, which is impressive for a 21-year-old. Potential superstar Julio Rodríguez was an easy add, as was former athletic arm-strength flier Ray Kerr, who now has a good low-90s slider. Some pitchers with arm strength (Dayeison Arias, Yeury Tatiz) were left unprotected, but I think Devin Sweet and his incredible changeup are more likely to be taken in the Rule 5.

The Los Angeles Angels added Elvis Peguero, who came over in the Andrew Heaney trade.

The Oakland A’s roster is likely to look very different on Opening Day, but for now they’ve added Brent Honeywell Jr. via trade with Tampa Bay, shortstop Nick Allen, converted catcher Jonah Bride, 1B/3B Jordan Diaz, outfielder Cody Thomas, and right-handed pitcher Jorge Juan. Allen will probably have a decade-long career as a good utility man, the stocky Diaz has precocious feel to hit but not enough power to play first every day, and Thomas (acquired from the Dodgers for Sheldon Neuse) was a two-sport late-bloomer candidate who’s now 27 and needs to bloom. Juan had a velo spike as he reshaped his giant, 6-foot-8 frame. He throws quality strikes with a mid-90s fastball and flashes an above-average slider.

The Texas Rangers outrighted injured, hard-throwing righties Kyle Cody and Edwar Colina to make space to add Ricky Vanasco, who is coming off TJ and looked electric during instructional league. Top 100 prospect Ezequiel Duran, part of the Joey Gallo trade, was also added. He looked much better defensively in Arizona during Fall League. Tiny, ultra-athletic 21-year-old righty Ronny Henriquez, also added, and Duran are both unlikely to play significant 2022 roles. Texas left several interesting arms unprotected (Cole Uvila, Scott Engler, Nic Laio, Alex Speas, etc.), but none is so good that they’re a lock to get taken in the Rule 5. Outfielder Steele Walker (from the White Sox for Nomar Mazara) has a platoon-friendly profile and feels like a threat to be taken in the Rule 5.

NL East

One could argue to include 2020 fourth rounder Spencer Strider, who raced to the big leagues and debuted in ’21, among the Atlanta Braves‘ additions, since he’s occupying a roster spot several years before anyone else in his draft class has to. Swing-happy toolshed Drew Waters enters the mix for center field reps with Cristian Pache. Freddy Tarnok (plus fastball, above-average curve, shot to start eventually), William Woods (looked like an arm strength-only guy in the AFL) and Brooks Wilson (fastball up two ticks from 2019, elite splitter) are the new Braves pitchers on the 40. The bridge to Shea Langeliers got sturdier with the two-year addition of Manny Piña, so perhaps William Contreras emerges as a candidate for…

The Miami Marlins stood pat in terms of additions/subtractions, but working the phones on deadline day revealed they’re in the market for catchers and center fielders via trade, and potentially before any sort of work stoppage.

The New York Mets 40-man got an injection of young upside in Top 100 prospect Ronny Mauricio and power-hitting 3B/1B Mark Vientos. Likely backend starter Jose Butto and Indy ball signee Adam Oller (sits 93, top-of-zone utility due to angle, above-average curveball and changeup) were added and both factor into the starting pitcher group for next year’s slate. Unprotected relievers Colin Holderman (94-97 in AFL, huge K% jump from previous career to now) and Brian Metoyer (fringe visual look, but elite spin rates on curveball) are interesting Rule 5 candidates.

The Philadelphia Phillies had perhaps the most proactive, eclectic day of any team, claiming sinkerballing lefty Kent Emanuel from Houston and trading for two catchers (Garrett Stubbs from Houston and Donny Sands from New York) and hard-throwing reliever Nick Nelson (also from NYY), while also adding some players from within. Two of them were high-profile international amateurs in Luis García (compact, switch-hitting shortstop) and Jhailyn Ortiz (free-swinging thumper, played a bunch of center field in 2021 but that’s a pipe dream). The other internal addition was righty James McArthur, who sits in the mid-90s and has a plus curveball. The addition of Sands and Stubbs should at least prompt teams to kick the tires on young Rafael Marchan, an athletic catch-and-throw guy with contact skills and 20 power.

The Washington Nationals added Evan Lee (average fastball, plus curveball, a perfectly suitable bullpen lefty) and Donovan Casey (two-way college player acquired from the Dodgers in the Max Scherzer deal with power, K’s, bench outfield projection).

NL Central

The Chicago Cubs made just two additions. The first was Fall League MVP Nelson Velazquez, a power-hitting right-field prospect whose plate discipline improved in 2021. He, Alexander Canario, and Christopher Morel are all swing-happy young hitters on the Cubs 40-man. Ethan Roberts, who has one of the best fastball spin rates in pro baseball, was the other addition. Several interesting arm strength relief prospects were left unprotected, including Eury Ramos and oft-injured youngsters like Yovanny Cruz, Jeremiah Estrada, Benjamin Rodriguez and Kohl Franklin. Shortstop Andy Weber, who I liked during his Fall League stint, would be toward the top of my personal Rule 5 list as a lefty-hitting middle-infield utility man.

Also near Roberts on the list of pitchers with the spinniest heaters on Earth is 24-year-old Alexis Diaz, who the Cincinnati Reds added to their 40-man. He and 25-year-old Daniel Duarte, who barely threw in 2021 but was in the mid-90s with a plus slider when he did, figure to be relief pieces for the 2022 Reds. James Marinan (traded from the Dodgers to the Reds for Dylan Floro) has issues with fastball playability, but his slider and changeup are both average or better, which makes him a fine depth starter candidate. Top prospect Hunter Greene, one of the best on-mound athletes on the planet, should have an immediate impact in 2022. Whiff-prone right-field prospect Allan Cerda will probably need at least another full year in the minors.

The Milwaukee Brewers didn’t add anyone, but have some interesting unprotected prospects. Korry Howell ran into strikeout issues once he was promoted to Double-A, but still managed to produce at an above-average clip on offense all year, and has several late-blooming characteristics to his profile. Victor Castaneda (plus splitter), Max Lazar (huge fastball carry, coming off TJ), Carlos Rodriguez (bench outfielder profile with speed and contact), and Tristen Lutz (power-over-hit right fielder) are all vulnerable.

The Pittsburgh Pirates also left a lot of interesting players unprotected. Bat-first catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, thumping first baseman Mason Martin, sweet-swinging outfielder Cal Mitchell, strike-throwing lefty Omar Cruz (acquired in the Joe Musgrove deal), and a bevy of young, big-framed arms (Tahnaj Thomas, Eddy Yean, Santiago Florez) were left unprotected. Pittsburgh seems to be consciously avoiding adding raw, but very talented players to their roster after having seen lots of teams burn through two option years to retain the likes of Carlos Vargas, Francisco Morales, and other talented but unpolished players. Those option years are especially relevant for pitching prospects, though the Freudis Nova situation in Houston is a good example of how things can go awry for hitters in this fashion. Raw players are less likely to actually stick with their new team via the Rule 5, and when the draft is flooded with them, it becomes less likely that your young players are the ones who get picked. Pittsburgh did opt to add infielder Liover Peguero and outfielders Canaan Smith-Njigba, Jack Suwinski and Travis Swaggerty.

The St. Louis Cardinals added relief prospects Jake Walsh (mid-90s, average curveball) and Freddy Pacheco (plus fastball, average slider), and light-hitting contact maven Brendan Donovan to their 40-man. Donovan is the only non-pitcher who is on the 40-man but not on the projected active roster at this time, so St. Louis is definitely not done adding reserve bats.

NL West

The Arizona Diamondbacks had a full 40-man entering Friday and outrighted some players to add C/OF Cooper Hummel (acquired in the Eduardo Escobar trade with the Brewers), outfielder Kristian Robinson (whose future in baseball is murky), and right-handed pitcher Ryan Weiss (94-95, slider is the best of three secondary pitches). Some other additions came a few weeks ago, via former Dodger Edwin Uceta and switch-hitting catcher Jose Herrera, who was finally healthy and productive in 2021.

The Colorado Rockies made a few no-brainer additions in Ezequiel Tovar (low-variance 45, definite shortstop, feel for contact, not very physical), Ryan Rolison, and Noah Davis (acquired from the Reds, sits 93, plus curveball) but didn’t protect Willie MacIver (Futures Game rep, athletic and fast for a catcher, viable third catcher on a 40-man right now with upside beyond that), Mitchell Kilkenny (four-pitch fifth starter look), or Brayan Castillo (hard-throwing 21-year-old who had a hell of an instructional league and was widely seen).

The Los Angeles Dodgers also had some tough decisions to make, which included DFA’ing DH Zach Reks to clear enough space to add all of their talented young hitters to the 40-man. Reks will probably have a trade market. Added in his (and Billy McKinney’s) stead was James Outman, another lefty-hitting outfielder with better defensive ability than either McKinney or Reks. He projects as a good fourth outfielder. Among the others added, super-utility man Eddys Leonard, glove-first shortstop Jacob Amaya, and short-levered second baseman Jorbit Vivas are all likely to percolate entirely in the minors in 2022 (Amaya might come up at some point) but Michael Grove (above-average fastball and curveball) could play a small relief role.

I watched Efraín Contreras‘ velocity arrive in a big way last fall, and also watched him walk off a mound with a trainer after the San Diego Padres righty blew out and needed offseason TJ, which cost him all of 2021. Enough people saw him break out during 2020 instructs that he may have been taken in the Rule 5 and stashed as a rehabber. Of their other adds, MacKenzie Gore’s strike throwing issues persist, but he still has an impact fastball that could play out of a big league bullpen tomorrow if the Padres needed it to. Eguy Rosario is a solid bench infielder, while Steven Wilson has a traditional middle relief look.

The San Francisco Giants are another team that seems reticent to add unpolished young pitchers to their 40-man. Seth Corry (plus curveball, 30 control) and Prelander Berroa (60 fastball, 50 slider, acquired from the Twins in the Sam Dyson disaster trade) are the clearest examples of this, while no Ricardo Genovés add was also surprising given the club’s current catching inventory (Curt Casali, Joey Bart, and nothing else until Patrick Bailey after 2023) and their inferred doubts surrounding Bart. Puerto Rican outfielder Heliot Ramos was finally added, as was 6-foot-11 strike-thrower Sean Hjelle and reliever Randy Rodriguez, who has an incredible slider.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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vbjd1111
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vbjd1111

Super awesome content. Thanks very much!

Ivan_Grushenko
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Ivan_Grushenko

This is the most informative analysis I’ve seen on this topic