Four Taken in Rule 5 Draft--Continuing to show their value to major league organizations, four players with Independent Baseball experience were selected by new teams in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft during the Winter Meetings in Orlando. The first person to go was catcher Yermin Mercedes, who came out of the Pecos League (Douglas and White Sands) and who chosen away from Baltimore by the Chicago White Sox. He was the No. 2 pick in the entire Triple-A portion. Eight spots later the outfielder converted to pitching, Andrew Muren (Fargo, Sioux Falls and Gary, all in the American Association) went from San Francisco to Toronto. Lefty Chris Nunn (Evansville, Frontier League) was chosen by Houston from the Chicago Cubs. Another southpaw, Carlos Diaz (Gary) was a Round 2 choice from Miami to Oakland.
Major League Spring Training Invitations--Somewhere around 25 former Independent players will become non-roster invitees to major league camps, presuming the level of recent years holds. Three pitchers were added in recent days joining Boston outfielder Jeremy Barfield (Sugar Land and Camden, Atlantic League). They are RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx of Texas (Lancaster, Atlantic League, and Victoria, Golden League); and the Tampa Bay pair of RHP Cody Hall (Lancaster) and LHP Vidal Nuno (Washington, Frontier League).
New to 40-Man Roster--The biggest addition to a major league camp probably is RHP Chris Martin of Texas (Grand Prairie, American Association), who returns to the majors after two outstanding seasons in Japan. Martin got his professional start in Grand Prairie.
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