Apr 12, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Sandy Leon (41) hits an RBI single in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
The reason that Leon makes this list is because the 25-year old catcher is out of minor league options. Washington did bring in a couple of catchers this offseason. They signed Steven LeRud to a minor-league catcher from Philadelphia and acquired Dan Butler via a trade from the Boston Red Sox.
Washington already has two established catchers in the Major Leagues with Wilson Ramos and even Jose Lobaton. The former Rays’ catcher has been known to be an excellent pitch framer and someone that pitches like to throw to.
Last season, at triple-A Syracuse, Leon hit .229 with five home runs and 25 RBI’s in 51 games. While he did get 20 games with the big league club, he managed to hit a mere .156 in 20 games. As far as throwing out runners goes, Leon did throw out 57% of runners who tried to steal in Syracuse last season.
This is a Spring Training where Leon at least has to show other teams he can contribute if he can’t find a way to make it on the Nationals’ Opening Day roster. I don’t expect the team to carry three catchers up to Washington DC, especially if Werth’s status is a question mark.
Last spring, Leon hit .158 in 12 games. That has to improve if he wants to make the roster because Mike Rizzo has done a great job this winter of acquiring depth at the upper levels of the minor league system to make up for Leon’s disappointing 2014. Now, the catcher who has been in the organization since 2007 needs to show that he can be counted on by the team or make an impression for another club to pick him up.