Nothing surprising in the Washington Nationals’ first round of roster cuts, which were just announced this morning. Catcher Raudy Read (Triple-A Fresno) and reliever James Bourque (Double-A Harrisburg) were both optioned out to minor league affiliates, while right-handed reliever Ronald Peña, catcher Tres Barrera, starter Wil Crowe, infielder José Marmolejos, and outfielder Chuck Taylor were assigned to Minor League camp in advance of this afternoon’s Grapefruit League game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Read, 25, is the top-ranked catcher in the organization (on MLB Pipeline’s list). He is coming off a PED suspension last season that set his development back. He put up a .279/.319/.401 line, 11 doubles and three home runs in the Nationals’ system last season. Read was 3 for 8 with three RBIs this Spring before today’s announcement.
Bourque, 25, was added to the Nationals’ 40-Man roster this winter after a 2018 campaign in which he put up a 2.16 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 12 walks (3.24 BB/9), and 52 Ks (14.04 K/9) in 26 games and 33 1⁄3 innings at High-A Potomac before he was promoted to Double-A Harrisburg and put up a 0.92 ERA, a 3.02 FIP, 14 walks (6.41 BB/9), and 24 Ks (10.98 K/9) over 15 games and 19 2⁄3 IP for the Senators. Bourque gave up four hits, three walks, and six earned runs in three innings this Spring.
Peña, 27, is a 2012 16th Round pick by the Nationals, who pitched at High-A and Double-A in 2018, with a 1.98 ERA, a 1.67 FIP, nine walks (2.96 BB/9), and 38 Ks (12.51 K/9) in 27 1⁄3 IP for the Potomac Nationals, and a 4.68 ERA, 5.61 FIP, 15 walks (5.40 K/9), and 28 Ks (10.08 K/9) in 25 IP for Harrisburg. He gave up five hits, four walks, and five earned runs in 2 1⁄3 IP this Spring.
Barrera, 24, is a 2016 Nationals’ 6th Round pick, currently ranked 14th on MLB Pipeline’s list of the organization’s top prospects, who put up a .263/.334/.386 line with 14 doubles and six home runs in 68 games and 288 plate appearances at High-A Potomac last season and was 0 for 3 with three Ks in limited action this Spring.
Crowe, 24, is a 2017 2nd Round pick who is currently the second-highest ranked righty in the organization coming off a 2018 campaign which saw him go (11-0) with a 2.69 ERA, a 3.63 FIP, 30 walks (3.10 BB/9), and 78 Ks (8.07 K/9) in 16 appearances (15 starts) and 87 IP at High-A Potomac, before he was promoted to Double-A Harrisburg, where he struggled, going (0-5) in five starts and 26 1⁄3 IP with a 6.15 ERA, 6.10 FIP, 16 walks (5.47 BB/9), and 15 Ks (5.13 K/9). He gave up three hits and two earned runs in an inning of work this Spring.
Marmolejos, 26, and currently ranked 26th on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 prospects list, had a .266/.319/.369 line, 25 doubles, and eight home runs in 130 games and 539 PAs at Triple-A Syracuse last season. He was 0 for 17 with four walks and three Ks in Grapefruit League action this Spring.
Taylor, 25, was a Rule 5 pick in the minor league phase of the Draft this past December, out of the Seattle Mariners’ system. He put up a .297/.377/.376 line, 25 doubles, and three home runs in 126 games and 575 PAs at Triple-A in the Mariners’ system last season before going 6 for 18 with a double and a home run, a walk, and seven Ks in 10 games this Spring.