The list of minor league free agents from 2015 has been revealed by Baseball America, and the most notable names on the Nationals list include former 2011 third-round selection left-hander Matt Purke, as well as southpaw Richard Bleier.
Purke was drafted with a lot of promise, but has been saddled with various injuries during his career. He returned to reach Double-A Harrisburg this year and finished the season allowing three runs in his final six appearances out of the bullpen.
Bleier had a very good season, going 6-1 in his final nine starts. He had a 2.27 ERA since July 16 for Triple-A Syracuse.
The other free agent pitchers listed included right-handers Tim Alderson, Bruce Billings, Rob Gilliam, Juan Gutierrez, Jeff Howell, Connor Overton, Kevin Perez and Sam Runion. Howell and Perez were in Single-A.
The catchers included veterans Dan Butler, Brian Jeroloman and Steve Lerud.
Other big names on the list include second baseman Cutter Dykstra and Tony Gwynn Jr., as well as shortstop Josh Johnson and outfielder Derrick Robinson. Third baseman Mario Lisson and Scott Sizemore are also free agents.
* Right-hander Abel Del Los Santos got off to a bit of a slow start in the Arizona Fall League. But he continues to build confidence with an appearance in the Rising Stars All-Star Game and a solid recent outing.
Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba reports from Arizona that “last week he had a very impressive outing when he came in with bases loaded and no outs. He attacked the strike zone with his fastball (in the mid 90s, up to 96 mph) and put away two hitters with a plus-curveball that had late, sharp, downer break.”
De Los Santos had struggled a bit with his fastball command at times. Scialabba said the young right-hander “has not been able to maintain the consistency with his delivery from outing to outing.”
But De Los Santos is competing well for the Salt River Rafters, and Scialabba believes he can finish up strong in the last two weeks of competition.