2:28pm: Tocci does not currently have a Spring Training invite, Sam Fortier of the Washington Post tweets. It’s possible that the Nats could add him to big league camp at some point, of course, but if not, it seems likely that he’d head straight to Triple-A Fresno.
2:09pm: The Nationals have agreed to a minor league pact with outfielder Carlos Tocci, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The fleet-footed 24-year-old will be in Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.
Tocci, once a relatively high-profile international signing by the Phillies, spent the 2018-19 seasons in the Rangers organization after Texas acquired him in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft. Selected more for his speed, defense and contact abilities than for his chances of becoming an impact player at the plate, Tocci was hidden on the Rangers’ roster in a limited role throughout the 2018 campaign. He appeared in only 66 games and took just 135 turns at the plate, posting a woeful .225/.271/.283 batting line in that time.
Struggles were somewhat foreseeable, as Tocci had played in just 17 Triple-A games through the 2017 campaign and had long faced questions about a lack of power. But Tocci’s difficulties at the plate continued into the 2019 season in Triple-A, where despite a leaguewide boom in offense, he mustered a paltry .244/.313/.308 batting line (55 wRC+). Scouting reports on Tocci have long touted his plus defensive tools, but he’ll need to make some strides with the bat if he has any hope of establishing himself as viable big league outfielder.
Tocci gives the Nats some additional depth in center field — not that the club is hurting in that regard. Victor Robles, Juan Soto and Adam Eaton are lined up to start once again in 2020, while Michael A. Taylor projects as the primary backup option. Andrew Stevenson gives the Nats another option on the 40-man roster as well, but the organization’s center-field depth in the upper minors is a bit lacking.