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Top prospects Carter Kieboom, Luis Garcia lead Nationals’ spring training nonroster invitees

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Washington Nationals announced their nonroster spring training invitees on Tuesday, and headlining the group of 18 players is a pair of top prospects.

Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia, two shortstops also learning to play second base, will be in big league camp when position players officially report Monday. Kieboom, 21, finished last season with the Class AA Harrisburg Senators and is ranked as the league’s 16th-best prospect by Baseball Prospectus. Garcia, 18, is a left-handed-hitting infielder and currently ranked 81st in Baseball Prospectus’s Top 101 prospects for 2019. With Trea Turner penciled in as the Nationals’ shortstop of the future, both Kieboom and Garcia are expected to work at second base during spring training so they could potentially pair with Turner in the future. Kieboom could debut at some point this coming season, possibly as a September call-up, while Garcia figures to be farther away from the majors given his age.

Wil Crowe is the most enticing young pitcher of the group, as the 24-year-old is ranked as the Nationals’ fifth-best prospect by Baseball America. Crowe made 21 starts in 2018, across three levels of the Nationals’ system, and finished 11-5 with a 3.40 ERA. That earned him Washington’s co-minor league pitcher of the year honors, and now a chance to throw in spring training alongside Joe Ross, Erick Fedde, Austin Voth and Kyle McGowin, all pitchers would could be depth options for the Nationals in 2019. Pitchers and catchers report to West Palm Beach on Wednesday and have their first workout here Thursday.

Among the other 15 players are veteran pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Vidal Nuno, Scott Copeland, J.J. Hoover and Aaron Barrett. Barrett made 90 relief appearances for the Nationals across 2014 and 2015, but has battled arm injuries for the last two seasons and has not pitched in a major league game for two years. He has a 3.47 ERA in his time with the Nationals, the 31-year-old’s only big league experience, and could have an outside shot to make a bullpen that should have one or two opening spots.

Nuno, a 31-year-old lefty, will be looking to do the same. He signed a minor league deal with the Nationals in January after throwing 30 relief innings for the Tampa Bay Rays last season. His 1.33 ERA and decent splits against lefties, though in a very limited sample size, could give him a shot to make the 25-man roster. If he does not, he can opt out of his deal on March 27 or June 15. Alvarez, 28, last pitched a full major league season in 2014 and has since been racked by repeated injuries. But he was an all-star for the Miami Marlins that year, and the Nationals signed him to a low-risk, high-reward minor league deal that could pay dividends if he rediscovers any of his early-career form.

The list of nonroster invitees also includes right-handed pitcher Ronald Pena, catchers Tres Barrera and Taylor Gushue, infielders Jose Marmolejos, Jake Noll, Matt Reynolds, Brandon Snyder and Jacob Wilson, and outfielders Hunter Jones and Chuck Taylor, who the Nationals selected in the Rule 5 draft this past December.

Read more on the Nationals:

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Three roster battles to watch during Nationals spring training

Kyle Barraclough loses arbitration case with Nationals

Phillies landed J.T. Realmuto and could still sign a superstar. Think the NL East is scary yet?

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