Nationals: Carlos Tocci, the most interesting non-roster invite
Let me throw out a few names for you: Moises Sierra, Rafael Bautista, Alejandro De Aza and Ryan Raburn. At some point this year we may be able to add Carlos Tocci to this list. These are random outfielders who have appeared in multiple games for the Washington Nationals over the past few years.
While there seems to be a handful of names ahead of Tocci on the depth chart, injuries loom large and he could make an appearance with the Nationals at some point this season. Tocci has major league experience, though he earned it in the non-traditional sense.
Carlos Tocci is the most interesting name in Nationals camp this year, for his journey to the majors and his fit with the team.
Tocci was 16 years old when he signed his first professional contract with the Philedelphia Phillies, as an undrafted free agent out of Venezuela. He was regarded as the top international free agent available in the summer of 2011. Tocci spent six years in the minor leagues before making it above Single-A.
The Chicago White Sox selected Tocci in the Rule V draft and sold him to the Texas Rangers. In order for the Rangers to keep him, Tocci would have to remain on the big league roster the entire year. To that point he had only played 17 games above Double-A, and had an batting average of .189 during his time at Triple-A.
Standing 6-2 and weighing 160 pounds, Tocci looks as if a strong breeze would blow him over. A right handed Peter Bergeron, if you remember the name. Tocci started 36 games at the big league level, though mostly appeared as a late inning defensive replacement or pinch runner. He accumulated just 135 plate appearances and hit .225 with an OPS of .555. Tocci had six sacrifice bunts. For an American League team. He can handle the bat well, just not to get on base.
After spending the entire year with the Rangers he was now their property, and spent 2019 at Triple-A, Nashville. All that, to be released in August of 2019.
Early in 2020, the Nationals signed him to a minor league contract and after not playing all of last year, here he is. His journey from top prospect to the MLB was a curious one. Now after being out of the majors since 2018 it’s intriguing to see if he’ll appear again, in a Nationals uniform, nonetheless.
Tocci is Andrew Stevenson, who hits less, hits for less power and has less success stealing bases. I don’t see where he finds a spot on this team, even as an injury replacement. Never say never, Moises Sierra played in 27 games in 2018 for the Nationals, after not appearing in the majors the previous four years.