Nationals pitching coordinator Paul Menhart wrapped up his synopsis of instructional league pitchers with a quick item on a trio of pitchers who caught his eye.
“We got a couple of kids that are going to show promise, but not quite ready for prime time worth mentioning, three right-handers: Pedro Gonzalez, Carlos Romero and Niomar Gomez,” Menhart said.
“All three are right-handers, starter types. They are beyond puppies, but they’ve got quite an upside.”
Pedro Gonzalez, 18, has pitched 19 games the last two seasons with the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League Nats. He also pitched in five games this season for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals, starting two. He had 15 strikeouts in 15 innings with five walks allowed.
Carlos Romero, 19, also pitched for parts of two seasons with the DSL Nats. In 24 games, he started 11 times. He went 6-1 with a 1.19 ERA in 10 games in 2018, striking out 47 batters in 53 innings. He also played in two games for the GCL Nats.
Niomar Gomez, 20, pitched in 12 games for the DSL Nats in 2017, putting up a 1-3 record with a 4.07 ERA. Last season, he made six starts for the GCL Nats. He made four starts for the short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays, putting up an impressive 2-1 record with a 3.00 ERA, striking out 14 in 21 frames.
Catcher Raudy Read went from Triple-A Syracuse to Double-A Harrisburg at midseason after completing an 80-game suspension imposed when he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
But in his return to Double-A, he hit well, batting .286 with nine doubles, two triples, three homers and 24 RBIs in 40 games. It will be interesting to see if Read gets a shot at spring training to make the big league team in 2019.
Veteran Brian McCann is a free agent. Despite a .212 season and only 63 games, McCann has hit 18 or more homers in 12 seasons, and 20 or more in 10 of 12 seasons. He is 34 and would be 35 years old on opening day 2019, but he brings a wealth of experience and was a World Series champion in 2017 with the Astros, a seven-time All-Star and a six-time Silver Slugger.