FORT MYERS – (Staff report from Official News Release) – The Boston Red Sox added five non-roster invitees to join the team’s 2020 Spring Training roster. The new players include, catcher Juan Centeno, newly acquired catcher/infielder Connor Wong, newly acquired infielder Jeter Downs, outfielder César Puello, and right-handed pitcher Denyi Reyes.
Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom made the announcement as the club has now invited 26 players to Major League Spring Training camp as non-roster candidates.
Juan Centeno, C – Centeno, 30, played in seven games for Boston in 2019 after being selected to the major league roster on September 1, making three starts at catcher. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Pawtucket after signing with the Red Sox as a minor league free agent in November 2018, starting 80 games with the PawSox and throwing out 24 of 74 runners attempting to steal (32.4%). Selected by the New York Mets in the 32nd round of the 2007 June Draft, Centeno has hit .223 (76-for-341) in 118 career games with the Mets (2013-14), Brewers (2015), Twins (2016), Astros (2017), Rangers (2018), and Red Sox (2019).
Jeter Downs, INF – Downs, 21, was ranked by Baseball America as the Dodgers’ No. 6 prospect entering the 2020 season before being acquired by Boston. The right-handed hitter spent his first two professional seasons in the Reds organization after signing with Cincinnati as the 32nd overall selection in the 2017 June Draft. Acquired by the Dodgers in December 2018, he split the 2019 season between High-A Rancho Cucamonga (107 games) and Double-A Tulsa (12 games) and hit .276 (127-for-460) with an .888 OPS, 35 doubles, 24 home runs, 24 stolen bases, 86 RBI, and 92 runs scored. Last season, Downs was one of only 10 minor league players with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. In his career, he has made 189 starts at shortstop and 82 at second base.
César Puello, OF – Puello, 28, is entering his 13th professional season, having originally signed with the New York Mets as an international free agent in 2007. The right-handed hitter has appeared in 61 major league games with the Los Angeles Angels (2017, ’19), Tampa Bay Rays (2017), and Miami Marlins (2019), batting .239 (38-for-159) with four home runs. In 403 career Triple-A games, he has hit .292 (391-for-1,337) with a .391 on-base percentage, and in his minor league career he has stolen 192 bases. In 2019, Puello recorded on-base percentages of .431 with Triple-A Salt Lake and .500 with the Angels before being traded to the Marlins on June 18.
Denyi Reyes, RHP – Reyes, 23, spent the entire 2019 season with Double-A Portland and went 8-12 with a 4.16 ERA (70 ER/151.1 IP). The right-hander led the Sea Dogs in starts (26), innings, and strikeouts (116) and tied for the team lead in wins, while his 151.1 innings ranked second among Double-A pitchers. Signed by Boston as an international free agent in 2014, the Dominican native is 40-19 with a 2.76 ERA (147 ER/478.2 IP), a 1.02 WHIP, 402 strikeouts, and only 70 walks in 92 appearances (67 starts) over five seasons in the Red Sox organization.
Connor Wong, C/INF – Wong, 23, made his Double-A debut in 2019, batting .349 (52-for-149) with a .997 OPS in 40 games with Tulsa. In 111 games between Tulsa and High-A Rancho Cucamonga, he hit 24 home runs with 82 RBI and 11 stolen bases. Named a California League mid-season All-Star in both 2018 and 2019, Wong was selected by the Dodgers in the third round of the 2017 June Draft. In 241 career minor league games, the right-handed hitter has batted .275 (249-for-904) with 48 home runs and an .852 OPS. He has made 176 starts at catcher, 22 at second base, and eight at third base, throwing out 66 of 210 (31.4%) runners attempting to steal.
BOSTON RED SOX NON-ROSTER INVITEES (26)
PITCHERS (11): R.J. Alvarez, Trevor Hildenberger, Tanner Houck, Brian Johnson, Mike Kickham, Robinson Leyer, Bryan Mata, Daniel McGrath, Bobby Poyner, Denyi Reyes, Domingo Tapia
CATCHERS (4): Roldani Baldwin, Jett Bandy, Juan Centeno, Connor Wong
INFIELDERS (7): Chad De La Guerra, Jeter Downs, Marco Hernández, Tommy Joseph, Nick Longhi, Josh Ockimey, Jantzen Witte
OUTFIELDERS (4): John Andreoli, Rusney Castillo, Jarren Duran, César Puello