Kris Bryant will be added to the 40-man roster once he gets called up, probably a few weeks into April to save a season on his service time. ... Addison Russell reached Double-A last year, so don't be surprised if he also surfaces this season, especially if he plays well and Javier Baez struggles again. ... Daniel Bard has ties to Theo Epstein going back to their Red Sox days, but this is kind of a sad story. Bard pitched two-thirds of an inning in the minors last year and walked nine guys and hit seven (that's not a misprint). ... Reliever Gonzalez Germen was with the Mets the past two seasons. ... Pierce Johnson is another good prospect, lower on the radar than Bryant and Russell. The right-hander allowed just 60 hits in 91.2 innings in Double-A. He needs to improve his control to get a chance at a call-up. ... Outfielder Mike Baxter looks like Triple-A insurance.
Jason Marquis is still pitching? Yes he is. He had 72 strikeouts and 68 walks when he was last in the majors with the Padres in 2013. That ratio barely cut it in 1975, let alone 2015. ... Kevin Gregg is still pitching? Yes he is. He threw nine innings with the Marlins last year. He somehow has racked up 177 career saves despite never having an ERA below 3.40 in a full season. ... Neftali Soto was once a prospect of some note after hitting 30 homers at Double-A in 2011 at age 22, but now he's down to non-roster status. ... Outfielder Brennan Boesch raked at Salt Lake last season. ... Felix Perez is a Cuban outfielder you've never heard of. He hit .280/.325/.450 at Louisville. ... Hard-throwing Robert Stephenson is the club's top prospect and could surface in the rotation later in the season if he starts throwing more strikes.
It has been nine years since Dontrelle Willis was last an effective major league pitcher but he's still hanging around, playing the sport he loves. He was last seen in the majors in 2011. ... Chris Perez has gone from All-Star closer to non-roster status in just a couple of years. He had a 4.27 ERA with the Dodgers in 2014 and has been plagued with home run issues in recent seasons. The lack of depth in the Milwaukee pen gives him a chance to make the team. ... Hunter Morris is a first baseman who hit 28 home runs in Double-A in 2012 and 24 in Triple-A in 2013, but just 11 last year in 330 at-bats. He also doesn't walk much or hit for a high enough average. Where have all the first-base prospects gone? ... The Dodgers acquired outfielder/second baseman/third baseman Matt Long from the Angels and then traded him to the Brewers. He hit .249/.340/.384 between Double-A and Triple-A and he's 28, so I'm not quite sure what the attraction is other than the positional flexibility.
Remember when the Pirates signed Jose Tabata to that long-term extension? They're still on the hook for $4 million this year and $4.5 million next year. He's theoretically fighting Corey Hart for a job as a right-handed bat off the bench, but Hart is on the 40-man roster so he'll probably win the job out of spring training. ... Tyler Glasnow is one of the top pitching prospects in the minors. He's only 21, hasn't pitched yet above Class A and the Pirates don't like to rush their pitchers -- but the rotation depth isn't all that great so don't be shocked to see him reach the majors if he dominates Double-A. ... Clayton Richard twice won 14 games for the Padres. ... Steve Lombardozzi got a lot of playing time with the Nationals in 2012-13 but didn't hit much at Norfolk in 2014.
St. Louis Cardinals
Carlos Villanueva hasn't had an ERA under 4.00 since ... 2007. He's the only major leaguer who can claim that feat while pitching in each of the past seven seasons. ... Stephen Piscotty is regarded as a top-100 prospect, but he looks like a fourth outfielder to me. He does make good contact but doesn't do much with it, hitting .288 with nine home runs at Triple-A. ... Minor league vet Scott Moore is now 31 and didn't hit much at Memphis in 2014. I always thought he deserved a better chance, but he's too old now. ... Lefty Tim Cooney is a back-end rotation candidate but could stick in the bullpen as well.