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March 21, 2012

Transaction Analysis

Notable NRI: NL East

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

National League

ATLANTA BRAVES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Total NRIs: 20
Almost famous: Formerly part of the Jake Peavy and Jason Bartlett trades, Adam Russell is a giant righty with big velocity. Drew Sutton earned a cult following thanks to his work with the same swing mechanic that Ben Zobrist used. “Disco” is Dusty Hughes’s nickname.
The next big thing: The Braves grabbed Sean Gilmartin with their first-round pick last June, and the polished left-hander could reach the majors by late next season according to Kevin Goldstein. Zeke Spruill is the other pitcher to watch in camp, while catcher Christian Bethancourt, shortstop Andrelton Simmons, and first-baseman-masquerading-as-third-baseman Joey Terdoslavich are the hitters worth examining.
Too old for this: J.C. Boscan is a reserve catcher, yes, but he is also a reserve catcher who observed during the offseason that football is the only sport that zombies could play. Therefore, Boscan is a funny reserve catcher.
Sticker potential: With Jack Wilson being injured, the Braves could use Josh Wilson or Sutton off the bench.

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Total NRIs: 24
Almost famous: Chad Gaudin continues a weird career. He reached the majors as a 20-year-old, was traded straight-up for Kevin Cash shortly thereafter, and has since pitched for the A’s, Cubs, Padres, Yankees, and Nationals—yet he won’t turn 30 until next March. Meanwhile, an eight-player blockbuster might define Austin Kearns’s legacy. Said trade saw players like Kearns, Felipe Lopez, Brendan Harris, and Ryan Wagner fail to materialize into stars.  Aaron Rowand once ran into a wall face-first.
The next big thing: Chad James leads the Marlins’ non-roster invitee prospects as a power-armed lefty with middle-of-the-rotation aspirations. Notables Rob Rasmussen, Kyle Skipworth, Kyle Jensen, and Alejandro Ramos will get work in major-league exhibition games too.
Too old for this: Since debuting in 1999 as a live-armed 22-year-old, Gary Glover has appeared in games with six teams, most recently in 2008 with the Tigers.
Sticker potential: The Marlins seem likely to carry Rowand or Kearns on their Opening Day roster.

NEW YORK METS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Total NRIs: 14
Almost famous: The Mets could almost field an entire lineup based off busted prospects. Chuck James starts, Fernando Cabrera closes, Adam Loewen bats cleanup, and Omar Quintanilla plays short.
The next big thing: Matt Harvey is a well-built right-hander with a fastball that can get into the upper-90s, a good slider, and the ability to throw strikes. Kevin Goldstein ranked Harvey as the organization’s best prospect.
Too old for this: Miguel Batista debuted April 11, 1992. The Mets’ first-round pick, Brandon Nimmo, was born March 27, 1993.
Sticker potential: Loewen might make the team, which prompts the question: would he pitch during a blowout?

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Total NRIs: 20 (including the since-released Joel Pineiro)
Almost famous: If you need proof that the universe is awesome, consider that 1) Tuffy Gosewich is a real name, 2) Tuffy Gosewich is a catcher, and 3) Tuffy Gosewich has flowing locks of hair. Former major-league starter Dave Bush is here, as are former major-league relievers David Purcey and Brian Sanches, major-league outfielders Juan Pierre and Scott Podsednik, and major-league utility men Hector Luna, Pete Orr, and Lou Montanez.
The next big thing: The Phillies are the only team in baseball without a listed prospect in camp as a non-roster invitee. In unsurprising news, the Phillies’ youngest non-roster invitee is Austin Hyatt, who turns 26 in May.
Too old for this: Scott Elarton is still pitching. Scott Elarton is still pitching. Elarton is trying to make the Phillies as a reliever, having last appeared in the majors back in 2008.
Sticker potential: Pierre seems likely to make the roster.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Total NRIs: 17 (including the still-listed Mike Cameron)
Almost famous: Potentially useful relievers Chad Durbin and Jeff Fulchino, Moneyball draftee Mark Teahen, and outfielders that you may have heard of like Rick Ankiel,  Brett Carroll, Jason Michaels, and Xavier Paul comprise the notables at Nationals camp.
The next big thing: Kevin Goldstein praised Sandy Leon’s defensive chops and ranked him as the 19th best prospect in the organization, making him the best prospect in camp on a non-roster deal by default.
Too old for this: Last year marked the 10th-straight season in which Michaels recorded 100-plus plate appearances in the majors. Michaels inherited the crown of oldest non-roster invitee when Mike Cameron decided he really was too old for this.
Sticker potential: One would guess that Ankiel could break camp with the team, along with perhaps Andres Blanco and one of the relievers.


R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Non-roster Invitee,  Kevin Goldstein

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