Monday, October 03, 2005

40-Man Roster Moves

The Nationals made three roster moves today. They activated RHP Antonio Osuna from the 60-day DL and released him along with CA Keith Osik and LHP John Halama. They selected the contracts of 2B/3B Kory Casto, OF Frank Diaz and RHP Armando Galarraga. The addition of these three players is no surprise as all of them needed to either be selected or exposed to the Rule 5 draft. I imagine this is just the first step in cleaning up the 40-man roster, as the Nats have a bevy of players on the 60-day DL and they need to figure out who is worthy of a 40-man roster spot. Of the three added today, the one with the most immediate promise is the 23-year old Galarraga. The RHP showed that he was recovered from Tommy John surgery, pitching very well at Potomac with a 2.48 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 8.9K/9IP, and 2.6BB/9. He held his own at Double-A Harrisburg (5.19, 1.32, 6.8, & 2.5). I view Galarraga as a #3 or4 SP when he finally makes the Nationals. He's still a year away in my opinion, but it's nice to see the Nationals are starting to show sho signs of life with pitching prospects. The 23 year old Casto is an intriguing guy this offseason. He was drafted as an OF and shifted to 3B this year where he was widely viewed as the most improved player in the Carolina League. However, the drafting and quick promotion of 3B Ryan Zimmerman apparently made those plans wasted. Casto is going to the Nationals Instructional League in the Dominican Republic to work out at 2B. The plan is then to send him to one of the various winter leagues to get additional seasoning. I am skeptical about his transition to 2B. I don't believe he will necessarily have the quickness needed to man 2B, but I hope I'm wrong. As a 2B, he has a much quicker path to the majors, given Jose Vidro's rash of injuries. Not to mention, the lack of any 2B prospect at Double-A or Triple-A. In the end I still believe if he does make the majors, it will be as a corner OF. In the best case, Casto would make the majors early next year as an injury replacement. Most likely, he'll get a September call-up and compete for a bench spot in 2007. The 20-year old Diaz played CF for Potomac in 2005. He showed a marked improvement in his offense (2004 in the Florida State League: 242/303/380 versus 2005 in the Carolina League: 312/341/498). He has a nice mix of speed (14/23 SB) and power (16 HR) from the CF position. While he does not project to be a star in the majors, I see him best filling the role similar to a Marlon Byrd, i.e. a #4 OF, if everything continues down this path. He's still 2 or 3 years from contributing.

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