Minor League Imports With Upside, Eastern Divisions




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See also: Minor League Free Agent Tracker
See also: BA Player Finder feat. Career Stats & Transactions


Major league organizations collectively sign hundreds of players to minor league deals each offseason. Many of these players will play out their contracts in the minors, but occasionally teams unearth big league contributors.

Some minor league imports have past value to reclaim. Such was the case last year with the Yankees' Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia and the Rays' Casey Kotchman. Tampa Bay found Joaquin Benoit to be a worthwhile reclamation project in 2010, as did the Mets with R.A. Dickey.

Less frequently, teams identify talented minor leaguers who break through to become major league contributors after being stymied in previous attempts. The Pirates plucked Garrett Jones off the scrap heap in 2009, and he's given them above-average production, including 58 home runs and a .782 OPS, in three seasons as a regular in right field and at first base. The Padres signed corner infielder Jesus Guzman prior to last season and the 27-year-old proved to be the club's most productive player on a rate basis, batting .312/.369/.478 in 271 plate appearances.

Atlanta pro scouting director John Coppolella said the Braves and their scouting staff try to target minor league free agents with upside—athletic players under age 30 with some history of performance and consider it a bonus if they have major league experience. In fact, the Braves in recent years have mined the minor league free agent market for contributors as well as any organization. Outfielder Jose Constanza helped fill in for an injured Jason Heyward last August and September; Brooks Conrad served as a key pinch-hitter and provided depth at second and third base the year before; righty reliever Jairo Asencio struck out 11.5 batters per nine innings last season in Triple-A and has the stuff to succeed in the majors; and the Braves used another righty reliever, Juan Abreu, in their trade for Michael Bourn last July.

All four signed as minor league free agents.

To search for players who might have untapped upside—to find the next Guzman or Jones, perhaps—I applied a basic set of criteria to this offseason's minor league imports. To qualify for this search, a player must:

1) receive a non-roster invitation to big league spring training
2) have fewer than three years of major league service
3) be younger than 29 as of April 1

Those who fit this description tend to be players who have some growth potential remaining—most players peak between ages 26-28—but who are not household names. Even though these players do not appear on 40-man rosters now, some of them might make the jump during the season.

Let's dive right in, focusing on the 10 teams in baseball's Eastern Divisions in this installment. Spring scouting reports appear for select players, under the header Scout's View.

As always, an asterisk (*) signifies lefthanded batter/pitcher and a pound sign (#) denotes switch-hitter.


ATLANTA BRAVES
Just missed the cut: LHRP Dusty Hughes (age 29)

CF Luis Durango#
Age: 25. Acquired: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: A slashing hitter with at least a 70 speed on the scouting scale, Durango has swiped 107 bases in the minors the last three years. He plays center and left field but lacks the arm for right.
MLB Experience:
He's gone 19-for-65 (.292) with seven walks and zero extra-base hits in three cups of coffee with Padres and Astros from 2009-11.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Padres No. 25 in 2010.

Scout's View: "He's looked faster than the Braves' other two speed guys Bourn and Constanza this spring. He doesn't have the same upside offensively, but he's a good National League player because he can play all three outfield spots, hits from both sides of the plate, and has 80 speed."

RF Jordan Parraz
Age: 27. Acquired: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Parraz has a strong arm and good power on contact, particularly versus lefthanders, batting .294/.382/.468 (.175 ISO) with eight homers in 291 PA against Triple-A southpaws the past two seasons.
MLB Experience:
He spent 2010-11 on 40-man rosters for Royals, Red Sox (for an instant) and Yankees but received no callups.
Last Prospect Handbook: Royals No. 19 in 2010.

Scout's View: "His best tool is his arm, which is easily plus and maybe more. He doesn't really do anything badly, but outside of throwing he doesn't really excel in any one area either. He hits for average, shows you some pop, runs fine, and plays with a lot of energy. He misplayed a couple of balls this spring, but having seen him in the past he's a competent defender—and, for me, an underrated player."

RHRP Jason Rice
Age: 25. Acquired: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes:
He sits 94-95 mph with loose arm action and isn't afraid to challenge batters, but 5-foot-10 stature and inconsistent curveball has limited his upside to this point.
MLB Experience:
None, though he spent time on the Athletics' active roster last August, following his trade from the Red Sox for Conor Jackson.
Winter Bonus: Served as closer for Hermosillo of the Mexican Pacific League, notching nine saves and a 20-10 K-BB ratio in 19 innings.
Last Prospect Handbook:
No appearances.

Scout's View: "Rice reminds me a lot of Anthony Varvaro, who the Braves claimed off waivers last year. He's kind of a late-bloom type guy with a really good arm who can spin a breaking ball. We heard he was touching triple-digits in Mexico this winter and tried like hell to sign him."

RHRP Adam Russell
Age: 28. Acquired: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes:
Included in separate trades for Jake Peavy and then Jason Bartlett, Russell continues to intrigue organizations with his 6-foot-8 frame, mid-90s fastball and power slider. He handcuffed righthanded batters (.230/.307/.333 in 374 PA) while in Triple-A.
MLB Experience: He appeared in a career-high 36 games with Rays last year, but finished with 1.56 WHIP and 13-20 K-BB ratio while working as reliever. Also pitched for 2008 White Sox and 2009-10 Padres.
Last Prospect Handbook:
White Sox No. 27 in 2009.

Scout's View: "Russell remains an enigma to me as a guy with a huge body and a big arm who always underachieves. He creates great leverage with his fastball, which we have seen 94-97 (mph) all spring—but below-average control and command, particularly of offspeed stuff. It's all there for him to put it together, but it just hasn't happened yet."

2B Drew Sutton#
Age: 28. Acquired: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes:
A switch-hitter with extreme positional flexibility (second base, shortstop, third base and both corner outfield spots), Sutton swings with authority from the right side and possesses gap power. He's hit .310/.383/.500 in 232 PA versus lefties in his International League career.
MLB Experience:
He's a .258/.322/.403 hitter during three brief trips to the big leagues with the Reds, Indians and Red Sox, though he has put up a solid .805 OPS in 838 Triple-A PA.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Astros No. 8 in 2009.

Scout's View: "He's a better defender and hitter (than former Braves Brooks Conrad) but with less power. He doesn't run well, but he's good good instincts and hands and his positional versatility is a definite plus, although it might be a reach to play him too much at shortstop. I like his swing better from the left side, but he works counts from both sides of the plate and provides occasional pop."


BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Just missed the cut: OF Scott Beerer (age 29)

RHRP Jon Link
Age: 28. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Once traded for Rob Mackowiak and Juan Pierre, Link sits 90-92 mph and gets swings and misses with a sinking changeup. Inconsistent delivery and slider have held him back, and he has 3.9 BB/9 and 1.43 WHIP in 147 career Triple-A appearances.
MLB Experience:
Link worked around trouble in nine appearances for the 2010 Dodgers, allowing seven runs on 12 hits and four walks in 8 2/3 innings.
Winter Bonus: Link briefly served as closer for Guaira of the Venezuelan League and collected four saves. He struck out 11, walked seven and allowed 17 hits in 16 innings.
Last Prospect Handbook: White Sox No. 28 in 2010.

RHRP Miguel Socolovich
Age: 25. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Socolovich features easy arm strength, sitting 91-93 mph, but lacks feel for locating heat and also low-80s slider, which flashes average. He reached Triple-A with White Sox each of the last two seasons, where he paired 11.3 SO/9 with a 1.50 WHIP over 74 innings.
MLB Experience: Socolovich has not appeared on a 40-man roster.
Winter Bonus: Appeared in 33 games for Caracas of the Venezuelan League and struck out 27 in 21 innings.
Last Prospect Handbook:
No appearances.

SS/2B Steven Tolleson
Age: 28. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Tolleson plays all the infield skill positions capably, but his arm is probably best suited to second base. He has bounced from Triple-A affiliates for the Twins, Athletics and Padres during the past three years, batting .288/.366/.416 in 1,290 PA. Versatility and below-average offensive potential give him utility profile.
MLB Experience: Tolleson enjoyed a successful cup of coffee with Oakland in 2010, going 14-for-49 (.286) with a homer and four walks.
Last Prospect Handbook: Twins No. 23 in 2009.


BOSTON RED SOX
Just missed the cut: RHP Justin Germano and OF/1B Josh Kroeger (age 29), and RHP Ross Ohlendorf (3.139 years of service)

SS Pedro Ciriaco
Age: 26. 2011 Status: Major league non-tender.
Best Attributes: Scouts think highly of Ciriaco's plus range, running speed and throwing arm, but poor pitch selection has been his undoing. He's batted just .252/.267/.355 with 17 walks in 753 PAs at Triple-A the past two seasons. 
MLB Experience:
Ciriaco went 10-for-33 (.333) in two cups of coffee with the 2010-11 Pirates, and he's now out of options.
Last Prospect Handbook: Pirates No. 27 in 2011.

Scout's View: "He's shown versatility playing plus defense at shortstop, second base and third base, and he's also playing some in the outfield this spring. His baserunning has been aggressive and excellent and he's shown the ability to bunt, hit-and-run—all the little things. He looks like he has a chance to be a major league utility player at some point in the future."

1B Mauro Gomez
Age: 27. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: An aggressive hitter with notable bat speed who looks fastball and looks to pull for power, Gomez led the International League with 264 total bases last season and finished runner-up with 60 extra-base hits. He batted .304/.356/.522 with 24 homers and 90 RBIs in 506 at-bats for Triple-A Gwinnett (Braves). He missed time in big league camp as he sorted out visa issues.
MLB Experience:
Gomez has not appeared on a 40-man roster.
Last Prospect Handbook:
No appearances.

Scout's View: "We see him as an undervalued bat with plus power to all fields when his approach is going well. He had a huge Dominican League playoffs, carrying his club (Escogido) to the Caribbean Series. [Note: Gomez hit .317 in 27 DL playoff games, ranking second in the postseason with six homers, 23 RBIs, 10 extra-base hits and 19 runs scored.] We really liked his ability to hit, specifically lefthanders."

RHP Will Inman
Age: 25. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Inman dissected low (5.6 K-BB ratio) and high (4.3) Class A batters with a long, deceptive arm action and solid control of fringy stuff. But his walk rate climbed as he rose through the ranks, finally settling at an even 4.0 in Triple-A, where he's spent the last three seasons.
MLB Experience:
Inman has not appeared on a 40-man roster.
Last Prospect Handbook: Padres No. 18 in 2009.

RHP Doug Mathis
Age: 28. 2011 Status: Samsung (Korea).
Best Attributes: Mathis throws four pitches and tops out near 93 mph, but he has lacked a put-away pitch or the control needed to make his repertoire play up during a brief big league career. He's a groundball-oriented starter who put up a shiny 2.52 ERA in Korea last season but also sported a 32-34 K-BB ratio.
MLB Experience: Mathis received 45 appearances (six starts) from the 2008-10 Rangers, and sandwiched a fine 2009 campaign (3.16 ERA in 43 innings) around two not-so-fine ones (43 innings, 35 runs allowed, 67 hits and another 25 walks).
Last Prospect Handbook:
Rangers No. 27 in 2007.

Scout's View: "Mathis has been very solid all spring. He pitches mostly at 90-93 (mph), showing deceptive/short arm action and solid groundball-inducing sink. He's shown the ability to command his fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. He looks like a guy who can help a major league club because he has very good makeup, he's tough on the mound and he trusts his stuff."

RHP Chorye Spoone
Age: 26. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: The Orioles once harbored high hopes for the Maryland native, but Spoone lost fastball velocity after a series of arm injuries cut short his 2008-09 seasons. He sits 88-92 mph now, but if he ever recovers the few ticks he lost to injury, he could emerge as a relief prospect because his curveball still features its signature break. His changeup isn't bad either.
MLB Experience:
Spoone spent all of 2009, 2010 and half of 2011 on the Orioles' 40-man roster, but he never pitched for Baltimore.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Orioles No. 24 in 2011.

LHRP Justin Thomas*
Age: 28. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Thomas used his slider to good effect in four years in Triple-A, smothering lefty batters and limiting them to a .179/.258/.220 batting line over 327 PA. Big league lefties haven't been so easily fooled, going 14-for-46 (.304), but Thomas' minor league track record suggests a possible career as a situational reliever.
MLB Experience:
Thomas made 20 total appearances for the 2008 Mariners and 2010 Pirates, but the results aren't pretty—1-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 2.18 WHIP over 17 innings.
Last Prospect Handbook: Mariners No. 23 in 2009.

Scout's View: "He's dominated lefthanded hitters in Triple-A the last two years, and we think he can be a solid matchup guy, at the least. He's pitched at 90-94 (mph) and shown surprisingly good feel for his changeup. He has worked his slider in well versus lefties, but it can be tough to get left-on-left matchups early in camp."


MIAMI MARLINS
Just missed the cut: RHP J.D. Martin (age 29)

RHRP Rob Delaney
Age: 27. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Signed as a nondrafted free agent by the Twins in 2006, Delaney boasts a 3.4 K-BB ratio in 148 career appearances in Triple-A. He's a classic sinker/slider reliever who sits 89-91 mph.
MLB Experience:
Limited. Delaney made one appearance for the Twins in 2010 and four more for the Rays last year, but his fine control deserted him in the majors (eight walks in six innings).
Last Prospect Handbook:
Twins No. 24 in 2009.

Scout's View: "He's attractive as three-pitch guy with some major league experience and terrific Triple-A numbers."

LHRP Beau Jones*
Age: 25. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: The 41st pick in 2005 draft, Jones headed from the Braves to Rangers (along with Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison) in the July 2007 Mark Teixeira trade. Lefty batters hammered Jones in 2009-10, but he slashed his walk rate versus them last year with Triple-A Round Rock (down to eight percent of PA) and allowed a batting line of .236/.293/.427 in 100 PA. Jones' best assets are his 88-91 mph two-seamer and low-80s slurve.
MLB Experience:
Jones has not appeared on a 40-man roster.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Braves No. 14 in 2007.

RHP Robert Ray
Age: 28. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: A sinker/slider pitcher, much like Rob Delaney and Beau Jones above, Ray sinks the ball at 87-92 mph, cuts it in the mid-80s and mixes in a fringe slider. He hasn't made it through an entire season unscathed since 2008, and pitching for Toronto's Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate for the last three years did him no favors (5.76 ERA, 1.61 WHIP in 25 starts).
MLB Experience:
Ray pitched respectably for 2009-10 Blue Jays, logging 4.18 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 28 innings.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Blue Jays No. 15 in 2009.

2B/SS Donovan Solano
Age: 24. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Signed by the Cardinals out of Colombia in 2005, Solano has been consistently young for his level of competition, reaching Triple-A at age 21 in 2009 and putting up a composite .678 OPS for Memphis in three years and 780 PA. Scouts like Solano's line-drive stroke, solid build and arm strength.
MLB Experience:
Solano has not appeared on a 40-man roster.
Winter Bonus:
As noted by Ben Badler, Solano won MVP honors of the Colombian League this winter after leading the circuit in slugging and home runs.
Last Prospect Handbook:
No appearances.


NEW YORK METS
Just missed the cut: C Rob Johnson (3.007 years of service)

RF Adam Loewen*
Age: 27. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: A converted lefty starter, Loewen mashed a career-high 17 homers last season for Triple-A Las Vegas (Blue Jays) while ranking second in the Pacific Coast League (to Bryan LaHair) with 67 extra-base hits. His bat speed is modest and his approach needs further refinement, but Loewen has at least solid-average power to his pull side.
MLB Experience: As a pitcher, he tossed 164 innings for 2006-08 Orioles. As a position player, he went 6-for-32 (.188) with a homer during September callup with Jays last year.
Last Prospect Handbook: Orioles No. 2 in 2006 (as a lefthanded pitcher).

Scout's View: "Loewen's athelticism, ability to play all three outfield positions and his power potential intrigued us."

C Lucas May
Age: 27. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Athletic backstop with arm strength and solid pop times started out in pro ball at shortstop before shifting to center fielder and, finally, catcher. Blocking occasionally has been problematic. He sports a line-drive bat with gap power, and he posted .849 OPS versus Triple-A lefties.
MLB Experience: A 12-game pop-in with 2010 Royals produced seven hits in 37 at-bats (.189); he started nine games behind the plate and committed four passed balls (with five wild pitches on his watch).
Last Prospect Handbook: Dodgers No. 17 in 2010.

Scout's View: "We liked his athleticism, (defensive) ability and his plus makeup."

LHP Garrett Olson*
Age: 28. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: The 48th pick in 2005 draft by the Orioles joins his fifth organization this season. The three-pitch lefty relies on 89-91 mph running fastball, but neither breaking ball nor changeup grade as plus. Olson spent part of last five seasons in Triple-A, allowing .620 OPS to lefties and .653 to righties.
MLB Experience: He has compiled 6.14 ERA and 1.65 WHIP for Orioles, Mariners and Pirates in parts of five seasons, logging 251 innings from 2008-10 but failing to make an impression (72 ERA+).
Last Prospect Handbook:
Orioles No. 12 in 2008.

Scout's View: "He has significant major league experience, and he could be a part of organizational pitching depth that helps bridge the gap between prospects and current major league pitching talent. He has solid makeup, and being lefthanded never hurts."


NEW YORK YANKEES
Just missed the cut: RHRP Matt Daley and 2B/3B Jayson Nix (age 29)

LHRP Juan Cedeno*
Age: 28. 2011 Status: independent Rio Grande Valley (North American).
Best Attributes: A minor league Rule 5 pick in December 2007, Cedeno topped out in Double-A in 2008, spent 2009 in Korea and then didn't pitch in 2010. He got back on the map by striking out 65 in 43 innings in indy ball last season—and by being a lefthander who tops out near 94 mph.
MLB Experience:
None, though he spent time on the 40-man rosters of the Red Sox (2005) and Royals (2006).
Winter Bonus:
Cedeno struck out five of the 16 lefty batters he faced for Licey of the Dominican League. They went 3-for-15 (.200) with a walk.
Last Prospect Handbook: Red Sox No. 17 in 2005.

Scout's View: "He's a fastball/slider guy, but there's a changeup there as well. We've seen him up to 94 (mph), and he sits 91-92. He was experimenting with dropping down to give lefties a tougher look."

LF/RF Cole Garner
Age: 27. 2011 Status: Major league non-tender.
Best Attributes: He's an aggressive fastball hitter who batted .312/.371/.532 with 21 homers in 672 Triple-A PAs in two years at hitter's paradise Colorado Springs. Garner is better on the corners than in center, and the righty hitter also is better versus lefthanders (.967 OPS, .220 ISO in 185 PA at Triple-A).
MLB Experience:
Garner went 2-for-9 (.222) during a September callup with the Rockies last year.
Last Prospect Handbook: Rockies No. 22 in 2011.

Scout's View: "He reminds me a bit of Greg Golson (from last year's Yankees team). He doesn't throw quite as well as Golson, but he's conservatively a 55-60 arm. He's probably a 60 runner who has some impact ability with the bat. He's a physical kid with some tools who's still on the right side of 30."

RHRP Adam Miller
Age: 27. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Miller lost 2009 and 2010 to injuries, but he recovered his mid-90s velocity and made 31 relief appearances in the minors last year. His performance dropped off steeply after moving up to Double-A Akron (6.27 ERA, 1.79 WHIP in 33 innings), and he didn't show much more than two- and four-seam fastballs.
MLB Experience:
None, though he spent 2008-09 on the Indians' 40-man roster and ranked as Cleveland's No. 1 prospect every year from 2005-08.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Indians No. 4 in 2009.

Scout's View: "He still has a good amount of arm strength. We've seen him up to 95 (mph), and he pitches around 91. He now has more of a low three-quarters arm slot, which can be a really tough angle on righthanded hitters. The slider shows flashes of being plus, but it's really more of a repeatability thing right now as he learns his new slot and how to grip the baseball (after multiple surgeries on his middle finger). The biggest thing for him will be the accumulation of innings because of all the lost development time."


PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Just missed the cut: LHP David Purcey (age 29)

C Steve Lerud*
Age: 27. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: The Pittsburgh third-round pick in 2003 still shows off solid catch-and-throw skills, soft hands and plus flexibility. He's spent bulk of last four seasons in Double-A, gunning down 34 percent of basestealers but batting just .219/.309/.339 with an uppercut swing.
MLB Experience: None, though he spent a year on the Pirates' 40-man roster beginning in November 2008.
Last Prospect Handbook: Pirates No. 21 in 2009.


TAMPA BAY RAYS
Just missed the cut: OF Brad Coon, C Chris Gimenez and 2B Will Rhymes (age 29)

RHP Bryan Augenstein
Age: 25. 2011 Status: Released by Cardinals, Nov. 2.
Best Attributes: He's a supreme strike-thrower (2.5 BB/9 in 192 Triple-A innings) whose sinker parks in the high 80s. A flat breaking ball and substandard changeup have not bothered lefty batters—they've batted .353/.405/.548 in 380 PA versus Augenstein at the Triple-A level.
MLB Experience: Augenstein has gotten lit up in brief tours with the 2009 Diamondbacks and 2011 Cardinals, allowing 23 runs on 43 walks-plus-hits in 23 innings.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Diamondbacks No. 11 in 2010.

3B Matt Mangini*
Age: 26. 2011 Status: Released by Mariners, Aug. 23.
Best Attributes: Drafted 52nd overall by the Mariners in 2007, Mangini never showed prototype corner power outside of a 18-homer season in 2010, but he appeared to develop a feel to hit as he matured. He batted .321/.369/.483 in 736 PA for Triple-A Tacoma (including a lofty .979 OPS at home) in 2010-11.
MLB Experience: The Mariners gave Mangini a September 2010 trial, during which he batted 8-for-38 (.211) without an extra-base hit.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Mariners No. 18 in 2011.

1B Juan Miranda*
Age: 28. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Miranda hits for power to his pull side with an uppercutting lefty swing. He slugged .477 and hit 51 homers in 335 games at the Triple-A level, though his other tools are middling.
MLB Experience: The Diamondbacks tried out Miranda at first base prior to Paul Goldschmidt's arrival last season, but he responded with an unimpressive .213/.315/.402 batting line in 202 PA. He fared marginally better (.788 OPS) in 94 PA with the Yankees from 2008-10.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Yankees No. 20 in 2009.

RHRP Jhonny Nunez
Age: 26. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Traded three times in little more than two years, Nunez appeared to settle in as a reliever with the White Sox after coming over in the Nick Swisher trade in November 2008. He checked in at Triple-A Charlotte in each of the last three seasons, typically using a 90-94 mph fastball and power slider to good effect (9.1 SO/9, 1.29 WHIP in 116 innings). Lefty batters have hit him hard in that span, however, with an .864 OPS in 219 PA.
MLB Experience:
Touched for six runs in seven relief appearances for the 2009 White Sox, Nunez hasn't returned to the majors since.
Winter Bonus: Nunez posted a pristine 20-3 K-BB ratio over 25 relief innings for Cibao of the Dominican League. He pulled a similar trick in 2010 with a 17-4 K-BB ratio in 17 innings for Licey.
Last Prospect Handbook:
White Sox No. 22 in 2011.

RHRP Romulo Sanchez
Age: 27. 2011 Status: Rakuten (Japan).
Best Attributes: A burly, 6-foot-5 presence, Sanchez dials his fastball up to 95-97 mph with sink and throws a decent changeup and slider. Control can be a problem, though, as he walked 4.5 batters per nine innings in Triple-A for the Pirates and Yankees, a rate that held (3.9 BB/9) when he pitched in Japan last season.
MLB Experience: Sanchez made a combined 28 relief appearances for the 2007-08 Pirates and 2010 Yankees, though his strikeout rate plummeted from 7.2 per nine innings in the minors to 4.8 in the majors.
Winter Bonus: Back from Japan, Sanchez struck out 13 and walked five in 15 innings for Lara of the Venezuelan League.
Last Prospect Handbook: Pirates No. 25 in 2009.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Just missed the cut: RHRP  Jerry Gil (age 29) and LHP Aaron Laffey (3.115 years of service)

SS Brian Bocock
Age: 28. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Bocock makes shortstop look easy with plus range and arm strength for the position, though he's a below-average runner and far below-average hitter. He's batted .216/.295/.282 in 915 PA at the Triple-A level, though it should be noted that the Giants rushed him from high Class A in 2007 (where he had a .621 OPS in the Cal League) to the majors a year later.
MLB Experience: Playing for the 2008 Giants and 2010 Phillies, Bocock has went 11-for-82 (.134) with one extra-base hit.
Last Prospect Handbook: Giants No. 11 in 2008.

RHRP Robert Coello
Age: 27. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: The Red Sox signed Coello out of the independent Golden League in 2008, and he briefly made it to Boston in September 2010. He's ridden a low-90s heater and solid slider to strong Triple-A peripherals, including 174 strikeouts in 160 innings and a 1.25 WHIP.
MLB Experience:
He appeared in six games for the 2010 Red Sox and collected five strikeouts while allowing nine baserunners in 5 2/3 innings.
Winter Bonus:
Coello notched 25 whiffs in 24 innings for Magallanes of the Venezuelan League.
Last Prospect Handbook:
No appearances.


WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Just missed the cut: OF Brett Carroll (age 29) and SS Andres Blanco (3.087 years of service)

RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx
Age: 26. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: He throws three quality pitches, topping out near 91 mph with tailing action, and reached Triple-A with Cubs each of past two seasons. Some scouts see plus potential in his slider and changeup.
MLB Experience:
Bibens-Dirkx has not appeared on a 40-man roster.
Winter Bonus:
Bibens-Dirkx enjoyed big winter in Venezuelan League, going 7-3, 2.19 in 13 starts for Zulia (plus three more in playoffs) and striking out 51 in 78 innings. He led VL in wins, ranked second in WHIP (1.00) and opponent average (.201) and third in strikeouts.
Last Prospect Handbook:
No appearances.

2B Jarrett Hoffpauir
Age: 28. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Stocky 5-foot-9 second baseman has spent last five years in Pacific Coast League, batting .287/.365/.445 in 1,958 PA, and with more walks (206) than strikeouts (164). Has a fair amount of experience at third base, but bat profiles best at keystone.
MLB Experience:
Cups of coffee with 2009 Cardinals and 2010 Blue Jays yielded .590 OPS in 53 PA.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Cardinals No. 21 in 2008.

RHRP Waldis Joaquin
Age: 25. 2011 Status: Minor league free agent.
Best Attributes: Pure heat. Joaquin touches 98 mph and sits comfortably at 94-95, though he lacks command of the strike zone—witness his 1.58 WHIP in 94 Triple-A innings. His mid-80s slider can be equally devastating when located.
MLB Experience: Joaquin tossed 22 innings for Giants from 2009-11, recording 17 strikeouts . . . and 17 walks.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Giants No. 14 in 2010.

RF Xavier Paul*
Age: 27. 2011 Status: Released by Pirates, Nov. 28.
Best Attributes: Paul possesses the reserve outfielder's tool kit—lefty bat with contact skills, plus arm, good speed, average fielder at all three spots. With better discipline at the plate and on the bases he might be a fringe starter.
MLB Experience:
The Pirates gave Paul a long look last year after claiming him on waivers from the Dodgers, but he batted just .254/.293/.349 in 251 PA.
Last Prospect Handbook:
Dodgers No. 23 in 2010.