The Washington Nationals announced their non-roster invitees to 2019 Spring Training on Tuesday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Invited to camp were right-handers Henderson Álvarez, Aaron Barrett, Scott Copeland, Wil Crowe, J.J. Hoover and Ronald Peña; left-hander Vidal Nuño; catchers Tres Barrera and Taylor Gushue; infielders Luis Garcia, Carter Kieboom, José Marmolejos, Jake Noll, Matt Reynolds, Brandon Snyder and Jacob Wilson; and outfielders Hunter Jones and Chuck Taylor.
Álvarez, 28, signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. He joins the Nationals after going 9-5 with a 3.58 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) for Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican League in 2018. In six Major League seasons (2011-17), Álvarez pitched to a 3.82 ERA while going 27-35 in 95 starts for Toronto (2011-12), Miami (2013-15) and Philadelphia (2017). He was named a National League All-Star in 2014 as a member of the Miami Marlins.
Barrett, 31, looks to return to the Major Leagues after battling arm injuries during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He appeared in 90 games for the Nationals across two seasons (2014-15), going 6-3 with a 3.47 ERA and 10.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. He returned to the mound in 2018, going 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in 20 games for short-season Single-A Auburn. Barrett was selected by Washington in the ninth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Copeland, 31, signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. A veteran of nine professional seasons, Copeland has appeared in 199 Minor League games (189 starts), going 70-70 with a 4.07 ERA. He appeared in five games (three starts) for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015 and made one appearance with the New York Mets in 2018. He went 9-7 with a 3.43 ERA in 22 starts between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2018.
Crowe, 24, enters the 2019 season rated as the No. 5 prospect in Washington’s system, per Baseball America. In 2018, he was named Washington’s co-Minor League Pitcher of the Year and Carolina League Pitcher of the Year after going 11-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) between three levels of Washington’s system. His 11 wins were tied for the most among Nationals farmhands, while his 3.40 ERA ranked fourth among full-season Nationals Minor Leaguers. Crowe was originally selected by Washington in the second round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft.
Hoover, 31, signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. He has appeared in 290 games across seven Major League seasons with Cincinnati (2012-16), Arizona (2017) and Milwaukee (2018). He has posted 9.3 strikeouts per 9.0 innings, including a career-best mark of 11.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings with Arizona in 2017. Hoover appeared in two games with Milwaukee in 2018 (0-1, 20.25 ERA), and in one game with their Triple-A affiliate, Colorado Springs.
Peña, 27, enters his eighth professional season with the Nationals. The hard-throwing right-hander went 2-3 with six saves and a 3.27 ERA in a career-high 38 games between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in 2018. He posted double-digit strikeout per 9.0 inning numbers (11.4) for the first time in his career and his 2.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio was a career best. Peña was originally selected by Washington in the 16th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Nuño, 31, posted a 1.64 ERA in 17 games for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018. He allowed just five earned runs in 33.0 innings pitched while striking out 29 batters and issuing 10 walks. He tossed more than one inning of relief in eight of the 17 games and pitched to a 1.04 ERA (3 ER/26.0 IP) with a .200 opponent’s average and 23 strikeouts in those eight outings. A native of National City, Calif., Nuño was originally selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 48th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Barrera, 24, enters 2019 rated as the “Best Defensive Catcher” in Washington’s Minor League system, according to Baseball America. A sixth-round selection in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Texas, Barrera enters his fourth professional season and first Major League Spring Training. He hit .263 with 14 doubles, six homers, 24 RBI, 22 walks and 36 runs scored in 68 games with Single-A Potomac in 2018.
Gushue, 25, enters his second season in Washington’s system after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 26, 2016. A power-hitting catcher, Gushue will take part in his second Major League Spring Training after being named an Eastern League All-Star in 2018. He recorded a career-high 20 doubles while clubbing 10 home runs for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.
Garcia, 18, is rated as the No. 3 prospect and the “Best Hitter for Average” in Washington’s system, according to Baseball America. Garcia ranked fifth among Nationals farmhands, hitting .298 in 127 games between Single-A Hagerstown and Single-A Potomac. He added 21 doubles, six triples, seven home runs, 54 RBI, 31 walks, 12 stolen bases and 82 runs scored. Garcia was the youngest player in both the South Atlantic League (17 years old) and Carolina League (18 years old). Garcia signed with the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2016.
Kieboom, 21, is Washington’s No. 2 prospect and is the “Best Power Hitter” in Washington’s system, according to Baseball America. A first-round pick in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft, Kieboom was Washington’s Minor League Player of the year in 2018 after hitting .280 with 31 doubles, one triple, 16 homers, 69 RBI, 58 walks, nine stolen bases and 84 runs scored in 123 games between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. He ranked in Washington’s system in runs scored (1st, 84), doubles (2nd, 31), RBI (2nd, 69), hits (3rd, 138), home runs (3rd, 16), walks (3rd, 58), slugging percentage (4th, .444) and OPS (4th, 801).
Marmolejos, 26, enters his ninth season in Washington’s system. He was the Nationals’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016. In 2018, he appeared in a career-high 130 games for Triple-A Syracuse. He led the Chiefs with 57 RBI and ranked second on the club with 25 doubles. Marmolejos went undrafted in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and signed with the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent on June 9, 2011.
Noll, 24, was the recipient of the “Bob Boone” Award following the 2018 season. He hit .291 with 20 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs, 72 RBI, 33 walks, seven stolen bases and 82 runs scored in 132 games between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. His 72 RBI were the most in Washington’s Minor League system, while his .291 batting average was good for eighth. He was named a Carolina League mid-season All-Star after ranking among league leaders in batting average (5th, .302), RBI (5th, 46) and hits (2nd, 80) during the season’s first half. Noll was selected in the seventh round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University.
Reynolds, 28, enjoyed two stints with Washington in 2018. He hit .270 with 31 doubles, three triples, four homers, 30 RBI, 42 walks and 56 runs scored in 88 games between Syracuse and short-season Single-A Auburn. He led the Chiefs and ranked tied for third in the International League with 31 doubles. Additionally, he led the club with a .424 slugging percentage.
Snyder, 32, is a Northern Virginia native (Centerville, Va.) and graduate of Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va. He returns to the Nationals organization after spending the 2017 season with Triple-A Syracuse. Snyder spent the 2018 season in Tampa Bay’s system, hitting .253 with 24 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 60 RBI, 42 walks and 56 runs scored for Triple-A Durham. He had his contract selected by Tampa Bay on April 17, appeared in two games with the Rays before returning to Durham on April 21.
Wilson, 28, returns to the Nationals organization for his second season after he was selected by Washington in the Minor League phase of the 2017 Rule 5 Draft. Wilson hit .278 with 28 doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 55 RBI, 41 walks and 48 runs scored in 108 games between three levels of Washington’s system in 2018. Wilson is a versatile defender who has appeared at third base (327 G), second base (241 G), first base (35 G), shortstop (17 G) and outfield (20 G) across his seven professional seasons.
Jones, 27, enters his second season in Washington’s system after spending his first seven professional seasons with the Cleveland Indians (2010-12) and Chicago White Sox (2014-17) organizations. He hit .301 with 14 doubles, six triples, five homers, 44 RBI, 41 walks, 13 stolen bases and 49 runs scored in 107 games between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse in 2018. His .301 average ranked second among Nationals farmhands.
Taylor, 25, was selected by the Nationals in the Minor League phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft. He hit .297 with 25 doubles, three triples, three homers, 60 RBI, 61 walks and 70 runs scored in 126 games for Double-A Arkansas in Seattle’s Minor League system. After his strong season, he was named an Organization All-Star by MiLB.com. Taylor was originally selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.