40-Man Additions Include Bogusevic

Brian Bogusevic’s decision to ditch pitching and instead take aim on the majors as a solid-hitting outfielder is beginning to pay off.

The former Tulane standout and 2005 first-round pick has been placed on the Astros’ 40-man roster, one of a number of minor leaguers now protected from next month’s Rule 5 draft. Major League Baseball released the list of players added to the Rule 5 late Wednesday.

Among the notable storylines was the Rangers trading John Mayberry Jr., a first-round pick from Stanford in 2005, to the Phillies for 2004 first-rounder  Greg Golson. The Padres also added Matt Bush, who was a first-round pick in 2004 as a shortstop but gave it up for a pitching career.

The list of other additions include Orioles righthander Brad Bergesen and Cardinals shortstop Tyler Greene, a 2005 first-round pick who has overcame massive struggles at the plate and this year finally moved out of Double-A.

Bogusevic, however, is arguably the most intriguing storyline of any player added this week as teams were required to protect college players drafted in 2005 and high school draft picks from 2004. The lefthanded hitter is currently in the Arizona Fall League, where scouts and managers see a player capable of hitting well the other way but also having some trouble pulling the ball.

Still, Bogusevic showed in a half a season at Double-A Corpus Christi that he might have staying power. He ditched pitching in late June, got a quick refresher course (he was a two-way talent at Tulane) and finished .371/.447/.556 with three home runs, 10 doubles and two triples in 124 at-bats. Down the stretch, he hit .411/.495/.556 with 10 extra-base hits in 90 at-bats in August.

Here are other known additions and/or 40-man chatter. We’ll keep updating them as teams announce their additions, and we’ll have more coverage of who was left off next week in our Rule 5 draft preview.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Added SS Pedro Ciriaco, RHPs Jose Marte, Kyler Newby and Cesar Valdez and LHPs Leyson Septimo and Clay Zavada. 
Ciriaco, 23, hit .310/.333/.408 with 85 runs scored, 26 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 61 RBIs and 40 stolen bases. Marte, 25, was acquired from the Rangers prior to the start of the 2008 season, and was 5-2, 3.84 with 10 saves and 52 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings. Newby, 23, went 4-3, 2.69 with 16 saves, 30 walks and 86 strikeouts in 46 appearances for Visalia. Septimo, 23, was converted from an outfielder to a pitcher last offseason, going 0-2, 5.49 with one save, 33 walks and 44 strikeouts in 27 appearances for Visalia. Valdez, 23, was 13-8, 3.14 with 140 strikeouts and 39 walks in 160 innings between Visalia and Double-A Mobile. Zavada, 24, may be the surprise pick. The No. 1 prospect among signed players on the Baseball America 2008 independent leagues top prospects list, Zavada was pitching for the Frontier League’s Southern Illinois Miners when the season began. He was 3-1, 0.51 with eight saves, five walks and 54 strikeouts in 24 appearances for low Class A South Bend after the Diamondbacks purchased his contract.  He earned the organization’s pitcher of the month award for August, going 1-0 and not allowing an earned run in 19 1/3 innings with six saves, two walks and 25 strikeouts. He earned the save in three straight appearances from Aug. 14-21.

Atlanta Braves

Added RHPs Stephen Marek, Todd Redmond and 3B Diory Hernandez. They added RHP Luis Valdez last month.

Marek was acquired in the Mark Teixeira trade from the Angels at the deadline. He had 68 strikeouts and 27 walks in 60 2/3 innings and helped Double-A Mississippi win the Southern League championship. He signed for $800,000 as a draft-and-follow in May 2005 and has a good, 11-to-5 curve. 

Baltimore Orioles

Added RHPs Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez and Chorye Spoone, LHP Wilfrido Perez and OF Nolan Reimold.

Bergesen won the Jim Palmer Award as the Orioles’ minor league pitcher of the year after he went 16-7, 3.10 combined at high Class A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. The 23-year-old was a fourth-round pick in 2004 and delivered this past season, holding righties to a .205 average and working 165 1/3 innings. Hernandez ranked third in the Eastern League in ERA (2.68) and first in strikeouts (166). Reimold, 25, was second in the Double-A Eastern League in home runs (25), extra-base hits (57) and runs scored (87).

Boston Red Sox

Added LHPs Felix Doubront and Hunter Jones and C Mark Wagner.
Doubront split last season between low Class A Greenville and high Class A Lancaster, combining to go 13-9, 3.69—the third-highest win total in the Red Sox minor league system. He also had 138 strikeouts. Doubront signed out of Venezuela in 2004 and was 4-10, 7.45 in 19 starts between short-season Lowell and Greenville in 2007. Jones worked in the back end of bullpens at Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. Wagner is considered one of Boston’s better catching prospects. He hit .219/.304/.363 with 10 home runs and 48 RBI in 94 games for Double-A Portland in 2008. The 24-year-old led all Eastern League catchers with a .997 fielding percentage and ranked second throwing out 42 percent of base stealers.

Chicago Cubs

Added RHPs Mitch Atkins, Justin Berg and Marcos Mateo.

Atkins was Chicago’s minor league pitcher of the year after he was 17-7, 4.00 with 132 strikeouts combined at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. His 17 wins were good for second in the minors. Mateo, 24, spent most of the year with Daytona, where he was 4-3, 3.57 in 25 appearances, 16 of them starts.

Chicago White Sox

Added 1B Brandon Allen and RHPs Jon Link, Jhonny Nunez and Clevelan Santeliz.

Allen, 22, hit a combined .278/.367/.555 with 29 home runs and 75 RBIs in 130 games last season with high Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. He led the system in runs scored (87), extra-base hits (67) and total bases (262). Link, acquired in the Rob Mackowiak trade in 2007, led the Southern League in saves (35) in 2008 and had 66 strikeouts over 56 2/3 innings. Nunez, acquired from the Yankees on Nov. 13 in the Nick Swisher trade, spent time with the Nationals and the Yankees this past year. The 22-year-old was converted to a reliever in July and owned a 1.65 ERA over his final 27 1/3 innings. Santeliz split the season between Birmingham and Winston-Salem, going  3-7, 4.80 over 84 1/3 innings.

Cincinnati Reds

Added 3B Juan Francisco, LHP Matt Maloney and RHPs Carlos Fisher, Sam LeCure and Robert Manuel.

Francisco hit .277/.303/.496 with 23 home runs, 34 doubles and 92 RBIs at high Class A Sarasota, and didn’t turn 21 in the Florida State League until June 24. Maloney, acquired for Kyle Lohse in 2007, could battle for the Reds fifth starter’s job during spring training. Manuel doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, but his plus command paid off in 2008, as he earned a spot on the 40-man roster by going 6-3, 1.25 in 87 innings between high Class A and Triple-A. With only 32 men on their 40-man before the additions, the Reds didn’t have to make many tough choices. Lefthander Philippe Valiquette, the club’s seventh-round pick in 2004, is probably the most notable omission, but it was understandable seeing as he has yet to pitch above Class A, and he had a very rough (8.53 ERA, 10 BB in 13 IP) Hawaii Winter Baseball season.

Cleveland Indians

Added Cs Chris Gimenez and Carlos Santana, OF Trevor Crowe and RHPs Jeff Stevens and Hector Rondon.

Santana, 22, was acquired in the Casey Blake trade with the Dodgers. He hit .326/.431/.568 with 21 home runs, 39 doubles and 117 RBIs combined at high Class A Inland Empire, high Class A Kinston and Double-A Akron. Even better, he drew more walks (89) than strikeouts (85). Better still, he ranked as the Indians’ top prospect.

Colorado Rockies

Added 2B Eric Young Jr., RHPs Ryan Mattheus, Sameul Deduno and Shane Lindsay and SSs Hector Gomez and Chris Nelson.

This is a pretty good haul. Young is among the batting leaders in the Arizona Fall League, where Lindsay is back to throwing heat (he was clocked at 97 mph in the AFL) after a bumpy season in which an off-the-field scuffle led to a reassignment from the California League to low Class A Asheville. The Australian was 3-5, 4.52 with 82 strikeouts and 46 walks in 71 2/3 innings and has the spike curveball to go with that fastball. Nelson, a first-round pick in 2004 out of Redon High in Georgia, hit .237/.324/.342 in only 283 at-bats at Double-A Tulsa. Nelson broke a hamate bone early in the season.

Detroit Tigers

Added OFs Wilkin Ramirez and Casper Wells and RHPs Alfredo Figaro, Guillermo Moscoso and Zach Simons.

Ramirez, 23, had a terrific year as he hit .286/.354/.490 with 19 home runs and 25 doubles and 73 RBIs while splitting time at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. Moscoso ranks as the Tigers No. 10 prospect.

Florida Marlins

Added C Brett Hayes and RHPs Chris Leroux, Dallas Trahern and Tim Wood.

Trahern, who was to play for the Oklahoma Sooners before they fired pitching coach Ray Hayward in 2004, signed for $160,000 as a 34th-round pick out of Owasso High School, the same program from which the Cardinals fished 2007 first-rounder Pete Kozma. Trahern was 5-11, 6.16 in 111 innings at Triple-A Albuquerque. He struck out 73 and issued 46 walks.

Houston Astros

Added 2B Drew Sutton, SS Tommy Manzella and OF Brian Bogusevic. They added LHP Polin Trinidad last month.

Sutton had a breakout year at Double-A Corpus Christi, hitting .317/.408/.523 with 20 home runs, 39 doubles, four triples and 69 RBIs in 520 at-bats. He was a 15th-round pick out of Baylor in 2005.

Kansas City Royals

Added RHP Henry Barrera. They added C Brayan Pena earlier in the offseason.

Barrera, 22, spent 2008 with high Class A Wilmington, going 0-3, 2.81 in 42 relief appearances.  The 6-foot, 205-pounder allowed 47 hits but struck out 78 in 57 2/3 innings, yielding only two home runs. Barrera has struck out 184 and walked just 65 in 159 innings in four minor league seasons since being a 2004 fifth-round pick. To make roster space, the Royals designated 25-year-old Tyler Lumsden, part of the 2006 Mike MacDougal trade. Lumsden was 3-13, 7.21 at Triple-A Omaha in 2008. The Royals faced several difficult 40-man roster decisions, so they decided to leave two intriguing names exposed to the Rule 5 draft: righthanders Chris Nicoll and Juan Abreu. Nicoll doesn’t throw particularly hard (89-91 mph), but he throws three pitches for strikes and he did go 6-2, 3.00 with 104 strikeouts in 87 innings between high Class A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Nicoll has had injury issues in the past, and a sore elbow kept him from pitching in the Arizona Fall League, which may have played a part in the Royals’ decision not to protect him. Abreu has one of the better arms in the Royals’ system, as he pumps a 93-94 mph fastball that has touched 97, but he missed all of 2007 with an elbow injury, has iffy command and has yet to pitch above low Class A.

Los Angeles Angels

Added RHP Anthony Ortega and 1B Mark Trumbo. They added RHP Rafael Rodriguez last month.

After spending two years in the Midwest League, Trumbo, a $1.425 million signing as an 18th-round pick in 2004, had a breakout season, hitting 32 home runs between high Class A and Double-A in 2008.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Added LHPs Brent Leach and Victor Garate, RHPs Travis Schlicting and Jesus Castillo and OF Jaime Hoffman.

Schlichting, who turned 24 in October, was the Rays’ 2003 fourth-round pick as a third baseman, but washed out as a hitter. He went to independent baseball to try his hand at pitching and put together a solid season with the Kansas City T-Bones. The Dodgers were impressed enough to sign him, and he impressed in his first full affiliated season as a pitcher. He was 6-4, 3.77 with 49 strikeouts and 18 walks in 59 2/3 relief innings at Double-A Jacksonville.

Milwaukee Brewers

Added RHPs Omar Aguilar, Alex Periard, Mark Rogers and Cody Scarpetta.

Rogers, whose fastball at one time was clocked at 100 mph, was added despite not having pitched since July 2006, for high Class A Brevard County. He injured his right shoulder and later had labrum surgery. He also had another surgery to remove scar tissue. He was only starting to throw about 45 pitches as part of his rehab in instructional league this year. The Brewers drafted him fifth overall in 2004 out of an Orr Island, Maine, high school.

Minnesota Twins

Added RHP Anthony Swarzak, LHP Brian Duensing, Cs Drew Butera and Wilson Ramos, 3Bs Luke Hughes and Deibinson Romero, SS Trevor Plouffe and 2B Steven Tolleson. They added RHP Armando Gabino earlier in the offseason.

Swarzak and Duensing are two of the Twins better pitching prospects, while Ramos is one of the better young catching prospects in the game. Hughes’ tapped into his raw power potential with an excellent season between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester, although there still are questions about his best position defensively. He’s playing primarily left field in Venezuela this winter. Tolleson, 25, hit .300/.382/.466 with 28 doubles and 50 RBIs at Double-A New Britain and helped cement his spot by hitting .385/.452/.538 in the AFL. Three righthanders the Twins took ahead of Swarzak in the ’04 draft—first-rounder Kyle Waldrop and supplemental picks Matt Fox and Jay Rainville—were not protected, and all have had significant medical issues.

New York Mets

Added 1B Mike Carp.

Carp hit .299/.403/.471 with 17 home runs, 20 doubles and 72 RBIs at Double-A Binghamton. He also drew almost as many walks (79) as strikeouts (88). He was a ninth-round pick in 2004 out of a Lakewood, Calif., high school.

New York Yankees
Added LHP Michael Dunn and RHPs Anthony Claggett, Christian Garcia and Steven Jackson. They added LHP Wilkins de la Rossa and RHP Eric Hacker last month.

Dunn gave up trying to make it as a hitter in 2006 and the lefthander out of Southern Nevada juco was 5-7, 4.49 with 120 strikeouts and 59 walks in 126 1/3 innings. He made 31 appearances, 22 starts, mostly at high Class A Tampa and finished with a dominating stretch with Trenton in the Double-A playoffs.

Oakland Athletics

Added RHP Ryan Webb.

Webb, a 22-year-old who was 9-8, 5.19 at Double-A Midland this past season was Oakland’s lone addition. He struck out 94, walked 44 and yielded 165 hits in 130 innings.

Philadelphia Phillies

Added C Joel Naughton, LHP Sergio Escalona, OF John Mayberry Jr. and RHPs Carlos Carrasco and Drew Naylor

The Phillies traded for Mayberry on Thursday, sending 2004 first-round pick Greg Golson to the Rangers. Mayberry, a 2005 first-rounder from Stanford, hit a combined .264/.317/.480 with 20 home runs, 38 doubles and 71 RBIs at Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Added 3B Neil Walker, C Steve Lerud, OF Jose Tabata and RHPs Roland Uviedo and Jeff Sues. They added RHP Evan Meek eralier in the offseason.

Walker, a first-round pick in 2004, hit .242/.280/.414 with 16 homers and 80 RBIs at Triple-A Indianapolis. Tabata, acquired in the Xavier Nady trade at the deadline, batted .277/.345/.388 with eight home runs, 16 doubles and 56 RBIs, mostly at Double-A Trenton and Double-A Altoona with a pit stop in the Gulf Coast League.

St. Louis Cardinals

Added SS Tyler Greene and RHP Matt Scherer.

Greene hit .254/.311/.414 with 16 home runs, 22 doubles, four triples and 48 RBIs combined at Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. He struck out 134 times in 485 at-bats, showing much improvement in June as he began to shake off cautiousness from his surgically repaired right knee. Scherer, a groundball specialist, was 2-3, 3.79 with 37 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings combined at Springfield and Memphis. He was a 16th-round pick from Le Moyne in 2005.

San Diego Padres

Added RHPs Matt Bush, Cesar Carrillo and Jackson Quezada, LHP Cesar Ramos, C Jose Lobaton and OF Luis Durango.

Bush, 22, made the 40-man roster despite missing all of 2008 after he had Tommy John surgery in August of 2007. He was the first overall pick in 2004 as a shortstop but hit a meager .219 in 722 at-bats with 22 doubles, three home runs and 70 RBIs before converting to the mound. His pitching career consists of 7 2/3 innings, in which he went 1-0, 1.17 with 16 strikeouts and two walks in seven relief appearances between Rookie-level Peoria and low Class A Fort Wayne.

Carrillo, a 2005 first-round pick, returned from Tommy John surgery and went 3-5, 5.97 in 57 1/3 Cal League innings. He is 9-12, 5.07 with 148 strikeouts in 183 career innings. Quezada, 22, was 2-4, 2.12 with 79 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings at Fort Wayne, converting a  Midwest League-best 27 saves in 30 chances. He limited opponents to a .180 average (42-for-233). Ramos, a 2005 first-round supplemental pick, was 9-11, 5.29 in 149 2/3 innings for Triple-A Portland, with 105 strikeouts and 57 walks. Lobaton is a switch-hitting catcher and played at Double-A San Antonio. Durango, 22, hit .328/.415/.392 with one home run, 15 doubles and 35 RBIs in 406 at-bats combined at Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore.

San Francisco Giants

Added LHP Jesse English and RHPs Waldis Joaquin, Joseph Martinez and Henry Sosa.

Sosa, signed out of the Dominican for the bargain-basement price of $15,000 in 2004, was 3-4, 4.21 with 58 strikeouts and 20 walks in 57 2/3 innings for high Class A San Jose. His fastball has gotten up to 97 mph and he also throws a hard curve as a strikeout pitch. English wins a perseverance award for making it this far. He was drafted along with Matt Cain in 2002, but injuries sidelined him for all of 2004 and 2005 and he didn’t pitch in full-season ball until late in 2007. But he still has impressive stuff, and the Giants protected him after he went 13-7, 3.19 at San Jose.

Seattle Mariners

Added OF Greg Halman and RHPs Steve Kahn, Gaby Hernandez and Marwin Vega. They added OF Michael Wilson earlier in the offseason.

Halman was sent to the Arizona Fall League but has tapered off. Still, he’s an athletic outfielder who hit .272/.326/.528 with 29 home runs, 29 doubles and 83 RBIs in 492 at-bats combined at high Class A High Desert and Double-A West Tenn. He was signed out of the Netherlands in 2004 after winning the MVP of the Dutch League as a 17-year-old.

Tampa Bay Rays

Added LHP Jake McGee and RHPs Dale Thayer and Wade Davis

Davis was 13-8, 3.37 with 136 strikeouts and 66 walks in 160 2/3 innings combined at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham. Thayer was a key cog in the Durham bullpen as he had 76 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings.

Texas Rangers

Added 2B Jose Vallejo and RHPs Omar Poveda, Willie Eyre and John Bannister

The Rangers traded Mayberry to the Phillies and acquired 2004 first-round pick Greg Golson. Golson, 23, batted .282/.333/.434 with 13 home runs, 18 doubles, and 60 RBIs in 106 games for Double-A Reading this season and also played six games for the Phillies, with no hits in six at-bats. At Reading, he stole 23 bases in 28 attempts.

Toronto Blue Jays

Added LHPs Ricky Romero and Luis Perez and RHP Robert Ray.

Romero, Toronto’s top pick in 2005, could contend for a rotation slot in camp. In 2008, he was 8-8, 4.55 between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Syracuse. He struck out 113 and issued 71 walks in 160 1/3 innings. Ray, 24, split the 2008 season between high Class A Dunedin and New Hampshire. In 29 starts, he went 13-9, 3.61 with 132 strikeouts and 45 walks in 167 innings. Perez, who is in the Dominican League, went 5-12, 3.60 in 28 games for low Class A Lansing.

In order to clear room, infielder Angel Sanchez was outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas and lefthander Les Walrond, 31, was removed from the roster. Walrond was claimed off waivers from the Phillies on Nov. 4 and is having his contract purchased by a Japanese club. The Blue Jays are still in the process of finalizing the details of that deal. He spent most of 2008 in Triple-A. Sanchez, a former Royals prospect who missed all of 2007 because of Tommy John surgery, was claimed on Nov. 3.

Washington Nationals

Added RHP Luis Atilano, SS Ian Desmond and OF Leonard Davis

Davis is the fun 40-man addition here. An eight-round pick from Fresno CC in 2004, he whacked a system-best 25 home runs this season in batting .310/.365/.567 on his way to Triple-A. The 24-year-old had spent the previous four seasons at A-ball and below. Slick-fielding Desmond (2004, HS, 3rd round) has batted just .247/.312/.373 in his five-year career, but no such concerns exist about his glove. Both Davis and Desmond were part of the Expos’ final draft class in 2004. Atilano (2003, HS, 1st round supplemental) came to the organization from the Braves in the August 2006 trade for Daryle Ward.