Interesting 40-man roster additions 2020


Teams had to finalize their 40-man rosters by Friday evening, and there weren’t any surprises involving Top 100 Prospects. Seven required protection from the Rule 5 Draft, most notably right-handers Forrest Whitley (Astros) and Matt Manning (Tigers), and none of them were left exposed.
All told, the 30 clubs added

Teams had to finalize their 40-man rosters by Friday evening, and there weren’t any surprises involving Top 100 Prospects. Seven required protection from the Rule 5 Draft, most notably right-handers Forrest Whitley (Astros) and Matt Manning (Tigers), and none of them were left exposed.

All told, the 30 clubs added 110 prospects to their 40-man rosters, including 86 players ranked on MLB Pipeline’s organization Top 30 lists. Of the two dozen unranked prospects, here are the most interesting:

Wandisson Charles, RHP, Athletics
Signed for $30,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Charles is a huge (6-foot-4, 263 pounds) reliever who can reach 100 mph and miss bats with his slider and splitter. He has 226 strikeouts in 170 1/3 pro innings, none above Double-A, but also 150 walks, which is why the A’s left him unprotected a year ago.

Sam Clay, LHP, Nationals
A fourth-round pick by the Twins out of Georgia Tech in 2014, Clay became a Minor-League free agent this season and received a big league contract from the Nationals. He’s a lefty reliever whose low-90s sinker enabled him to top the Minors with a 71 percent groundball rate in 2019, and he also can miss bats with a sharp slider but has yet to prove he can provide consistent strikes.

Ernie Clement, SS, Indians
Part of Virginia’s 2015 College World Series championship club, Clement was a fourth-round pick in 2017 and is the best contact hitter in the Minors. He led NCAA Division I with a 2.5 percent whiff rate in 2017, then ranked second in the Minors in 2018 (7.4 percent) and third in 2019 (7.6 percent). He also has plus speed and the versatility to play all over the diamond.

Lucas Gilbreath, LHP, Rockies
Gilbreath threw in the low 90s in college at Minnesota before the Rockies drafted him in seventh round in 2017. He posted a 5.35 ERA in his first three pro seasons but earned a roster spot after he touched 100 mph this summer and worked at 96-98 mph while also flashing a solid slider in instructional league.

Sam McWilliams, RHP, Mets
McWilliams was one of the hottest Minor-League free agents this offseason and signed a $750,000 big league contract with the Mets despite logging an 8.18 ERA in Triple-A a year ago. He can reach the upper 90s with his fastball and generates high spin rates on his slider, but he also has averaged just 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings as a starter in the Minors. He has bounced from the Phillies (eighth-round pick out of a Tennessee high school in 2014), to the D-backs (traded for Jeremy Hellickson in 2015), to the Rays (three-team trade in 2018), to the Royals (Rule 5 Draft in 2018), to the Rays (returned by Kansas City in 2019) and now the Mets.

Eli Morgan, RHP, Indians
Morgan has a below-average fastball and curveball, but he also features one of the best changeups in the Minors and can locate his pitches where he wants, giving him a chance to make it as a back-of-the-rotation starter. An eighth-round choice from Gonzaga in 2017, he has a 3.08 ERA and a 360/83 K/BB ratio in 319 pro innings.

Bailey Ober, RHP, Twins
Ober is a 6-foot-9, 260-pound hulk whose fastball sits in the neighborhood of 90 mph, but plays much better than its velocity thanks to its impressive carry and deception. He had Tommy John surgery at the College of Charleston, from where he was drafted in the 12th round in 2017, and he missed time with injuries in each of his two full pro seasons. When healthy in 2019, he posted a 0.69 ERA with a 100/9 K/BB ratio in 78 2/3 innings between three stops.

Zach Reks, OF, Dodgers
Reks walked on at Kentucky and signed as a senior for $1,500 as a 10th-rounder in 2017. The Dodgers helped him rebuild his swing and he hit .291/.385/.536 with 28 homers between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019. He’s 27 years old and isn’t much of a defender, but he offers an intriguing left-handed bat.

Drew Strotman, RHP, Rays
A fourth-round pick out of St. Mary’s in 2017, Strotman had Tommy John surgery in his first full pro season and has pitched just 45 innings since between the Minors and the Arizona Fall League. He looked good in instructional league, showing a mid-90s fastball and a solid slider.

Mason Thompson, RHP, Padres
Though Thompson had Tommy John surgery as a Texas high school junior and worked just one inning as a senior, the Padres bought into his upside and spent a 2017 third-round choice and a $1.75 million bonus to land him. He has recorded a 5.08 ERA in just 159 1/3 innings while battling more injuries since signing, but he’s 6-foot-7 and features a fastball that reaches the upper 90s and a curveball that can be nasty.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly MLB Pipeline Podcast.





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