The Washington Nationals announced their latest roster cut this afternoon. Pedro Severino, 22, was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse after he went 7 for 16 (.438/.500/.563) with two doubles, two walks and two RBIs in ten games this Spring.
Severino played at Double-A Harrisburg in 2015, putting up a .246/.288/.331 line with 13 doubles and five home runs in 91 games and 357 PAs and made his MLB debut after he was called up in September.
A highly-regarded defensive catcher, whose bat has not caught up with his glove according to a variety of scouting reports, will be playing at Triple-A for the first time when he begins the 2016 campaign.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 for $55,000, Severino is currently third on the Nationals' depth chart behind Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton and would likely be the first catcher to get the call should either of the two major league backstops suffer any injuries this season.
In ranking him as the 10th overall prospect in the Nationals' organization this winter, Baseball Prospectus' scouts wrote Severino was "...carried by compelling defensive tools," his "arm stands out," and though, "... he’ll never hit higher than seventh in a National League lineup... his defensive presence will make up for his offensive shortcomings."
ESPN.com's Keith Law had Severino ranked 10th in the Nationals' organization as well, writing that he, "... is at least a big-league backup behind the plate because he can really throw and pitchers love throwing to him," though, "... the bat still lags behind."
New Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker was impressed with what he saw from Severino this Spring, telling reporters, including Washington Post writer James Wagner, this week that he liked his game-calling and bat:
"He’s into the game. He calls a good game," Nationals Manager Dusty Baker said. "He can block, he can throw, and he’s really improved as a hitter. The ball jumps off his bat. So all he has to do is live and play."
The Nationals announced the decision to option Severino to Triple-A on Twitter:
The #Nats have optioned catcher Pedro Severino to Triple-A Syracuse.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 18, 2016