Washington Nationals Add Five Players To 40-Man Roster

This afternoon, the Washington Nationals added five more players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule Five Draft

Today was the deadline for the Washington Nationals to add players to their 40-man roster that they wanted to protect from the Rule V Draft that will take place during the Winter Meetings on December 8. They chose to protect one outfielder (Rafael Bautista), two infielders (Matt Skole and Jose Marmolejos-Diaz), one catcher (Raudy Read), and one pitcher (Austin Voth).

Voth is the headliner of these additions. After a slow start in the Arizona Fall League, the 23-year-old right-hander threw 15 consecutive shutout innings and won all three of those starts. He went 7-9 at triple-A Syracuse with a 3.51 ERA this past season. If he can fix his command, he has a chance to make the Major League roster next season.

Marmolejos has won the Washington Nationals Minor League Player of the Year award each of the last two seasons. At high-A Potomac, he hit .286 with 11 home runs, 59 RBI’s, and had a .381 on-base percentage before being promoted to doule-A Harrisburg for the final 33 games of the season (.299, two home runs, 15 RBI’s).

Bautista was the winner of the Bob Boone Award this season and is well known for his speed. The 23-year-old had 56 stolen bases in 66 attempts at Harrisburg in 2016. His .344 on-base percentage was second on the team amongst players who played in 100+ games (Stephen Perez – .351). Bautista has five stolen bases and six RBI’s this winter in the Dominican League.

Out of these five players, the one with the best power is Skole. At Syracuse this season, the 27-year-old left-handed hitter hit .244 with 24 home runs and 78 RBI’s. He was third in the International League in home runs . A problem he did have this season is the high strikeout total (119 K’s in 140 games). In the Mexican League this winter, he has three home runs and eight RBI’s in 32 games, but he is hitting .342 in his last ten games.

Finally, Read caught for the whole year at Potomac. He hit .262 with nine home runs and 51 RBI’s to go with a .324 on-base percentage in 101 games. Out of his 51 RBI’s, 30 of them came in the second half of the season. As for his defense, he threw out 31% of baserunners trying to steal (according to Baseball Reference).

Adding Read makes sense because the Washington Nationals need catching depth on the 40-man roster in the minor leagues behind Spencer Kieboom. All in all, these are some good decisions by the Nats to protect these players from going to other organizations.

Plus, they still currently have four open roster spots to use and could maybe add a player in the Rule V draft because of the roster flexibility. Voth, Bautista, and Read are the only players on this list who are on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Nats Prospect list.

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