From our sourced report this morning, newly signed first round pick, Cade Cavalli, was added to the 60-man player pool. All of the Nats top-10 prospects are in camp except for Mason Denaburg (№ 7) and teenage prospects like Andry Lara (№ 5) and Eddy (№ 6) .
While Cavalli’s addition to the pool isn’t official yet by the Nationals, he would be the 59th player in the pool which was at sixty before Joe Ross and Ryan Zimmerman were officially moved to the restricted list on June 29. Teams are not required to fill the 60-man roster to 60 players, however if they want to add a player for instance via a trade or free agent signing, they must have a spot available. There is no change to the 40-man rules where the Nats opened up four spots with the DFA of Hunter Strickland in March plus moving Adrian Sanchez to the new 45-day IL (torn achilles), and Ross and Zimmerman opened spots when they were moved to the restricted list.
Will Cavalli bring his scissors, shears, and clippers to cut hair for teammates as he is an accomplished barber with his own Instagram account dedicated to his coiffing hair.
The Nats officially agreed to terms with nine undrafted amateur free agents. All of these signings took place after the five round amateur draft concluded. Here are the nine players signed:
- Zach Brzykcy — RHP — R/R — Virginia Tech
- Zach Cornell — OF — L/L —Southeastern University (FL)
- Jackson Coutts — 1B — L/R — University of Rhode Island
- Gio Diaz — SS — R/R — St. Mary’s College (CA)
- Landon Dieterich — OF — R/R — University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (TX)
- Brian Klein — INF — L/R — Texas Tech University
- Quade Tomlin — SS — L/R — Liberty Christian Academy (VA)
- Ray Torres — C — S/R — San Jacinto College North (TX)
- Edward Ureña — RHP — R/R — Western Oklahoma State College
While some of those signings were unofficially discussed before, Dieterich, Urena and Coutts were all signed officially from June 15 – June 22 to minor league contracts. The Nats this morning sent out the press release that the other six players were official.
Ray Torres, who was a San Jac catcher, has caught Jackson Rutledge and also caught Mason Denaburg back in travel ball. Torres, 20, hit .444 (20-for-45) with six doubles, two triples, six walks, 12 RBI and 15 runs scored in 13 games during his freshman season in 2020. He was originally committed to play baseball at LSU, but chose to attend San Jacinto College. Torres also was the catcher for this year’s 5th round pick, Mitchell Parker, who pitched at San Jac.
Cornell, 22, was Baseball America’s Preseason NAIA Player of the Year entering the 2020 season. In 27 games, he hit .519 (56-for-108) with 12 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 12 walks, 44 RBI and 43 runs scored.
Coutts, 21, hit .451 (23-for-51) with seven doubles, four homers, 12 RBI, eight walks and 15 runs scored in 13 games during his junior season in 2020. His .824 slugging percentage ranked ninth in the nation, while his .451 batting average ranked 14th prior to the cancellation of the season.
Klein was named Second-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and prior to the season, he was named to the 2020 Golden Spikes Award (top amateur player) preseason watch list.
Diaz, 21, ranked sixth in the West Coast Conference with a .396 batting average (19-for-48) in 13 games. He struck out just two times in 53 plate appearances while recording one double, two RBI, eight runs scored and four walks during his junior season in 2020.
One name that will be familiar to Nats fans is former Nats minor league pitching coach Randy Tomlin‘s son Quade who signed out of High school. He was committed to Liberty University and was rated by Perfect Game as a preseason First-Team All-Region and the № 8 prep prospect (№2 shortstop) in the state of Virginia entering the 2020 First-Year Player Draft. Tomlin who is 18, hit .420 (29-for-69) with five doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 47 RBI and 40 runs scored in 26 games during his junior season in 2019 in high school. He was named Virginia High School League State Player of the Year.
Zach Brzykcy is the kid who might be the closest to being a Nats fan of all of the signings because he attended nearby Virginia Tech with many Nats fans. There were 26 teams after him to sign as an amateur free agent and he chose the Nats. He grew up in Braves country in a rural county in western North Carolina according to his mother’s law partner, Joel Harbinson. In fact, he signed his Nats contract in their law offices even thought his agent is Steve Cantor. He lives about ten miles from where Madison Bumgarner lives and grew up. They are very similar in their backgrounds, and their velocity throwing a baseball according to Harbinson who nicknamed him “Polish Thunder” when he started throwing lightning bolts as a teenager. Where Brzykcy caught scouts eyes was in the Cape Cod League last year with the Falmouth Commodores. As a reliever, he hit 100 on the radar gun. The Nats might start him off as a starting pitcher with that repertoire of fastball, slider and changeup. By the way, his name is pronounced as Brick-see.
You never know in this draft class and amateur free agents as to who will step up. Every year there is a surprise. In Adam Eaton’s draft class, he was a 19th rounder who was undersized. Some players excel at different times. Gio Diaz, Coutts, Torres and Urena were all expected to have been drafted in the Top-10 rounds this year before the draft was shortened to five rounds. All undrafted players can only receive a maximum signing bonus of $20,000. Some players like Klein were tied to the Nats when their college Twitter pages tweeted out their signings.
We received sourced news on why Mason Denaburg was not in the 60-player pool. As it turned out, he was not even a participant in Spring Training this year as he had off-season surgery and will recover the rest of the season and is in a rehab, strengthening and throwing program. He will not return this year, and all anticipation is that he will return healthy for participation in the 2021 minor league season.
A good reason Mason Denaburg isn’t in Washington with the rest of the (non-teenage) top prospects. We were told by a source that he had an off-season surgery and while he is better, we won’t see him until Spring Training in 2021. #Healthy https://t.co/frlQhSa9pe
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) July 2, 2020