The 11 players from Washington’s system are outfielder Rafael Bautista, pitchers James Bourque, Austen Williams, and Angel Guillen, infielders Benjie Gonzalez and Jacob Wilson; and catchers Welington Castillo, Taylor Gushue, Jake Lowery, Matt Reistetter, and Adderling Ruiz.
“When I look at the organization, even before I got here, the emphasis they put on with the pitchers getting better with our catchers, it has made my job easier,” Michael Barrett, catching coordinator in player development, told Federal Baseball on Sunday before the list was announced.
He said he felt the Nationals had the deepest catching group in the minors heading into the 2020 season.
The Nats had seven catchers in Instructional League in Florida last month - none of them are on the list of minor league free agents.
“We have a lot of great catching guys in the organization starting at the top with Bob Boone and a number of guys with incredible experience,” Barrett said of Boone, a former All-Star catcher and an advisor to general manager Mike Rizzo.
Lowery was the top college catcher in the country in 2011 at James Madison in Virginia. He was drafted that year by the Cleveland Indians and then joined the Nationals’ system before the 2016 season.
He was to be a player/coach at Single-A Fredericksburg this year before the Carolina League season was cancelled due to the pandemic.
“I am a (minor league) free agent again. My contract expires after the World Series,” he told Federal Baseball last month.
“I may have some other opportunities in the works with baseball academies and events.
“The Nats may not have room (for me). They may not have room for a player-coach, which is wholly understandable.”
Williams made his MLB debut with the Nats in 2018 and the right-hander pitched in two games for Washington in 2019.
Bautista played in 26 games for the Nats in 2017-18.