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Spring Training: International Players to Watch in MLB’s National League East

 Leif Skodnick  |    Feb 23rd, 2024 3:50pm EST

Luisangel Acuna is a hot prospect for the New York Mets. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

By Conor Liguori  
World Baseball Network  

Spring training is underway, and in every Major League camp, players from around the world are trying to make their mark.  

Here are two international players from each National League East team to watch out for during spring training in Major League Baseball. 

Atlanta Braves (2023 Record: 104-58, 1st in NL East)  

Orlando Arcia, SS, Venezuela – The first-time All-Star in 2023 had the best season of his career last year, finishing with 17 home runs, a .264 batting average, and a .741 OPS in 139 games. He may not be the biggest threat in the Braves lineup, but Arcia has been a productive replacement for Dansby Swanson, who left Atlanta for the Chicago Cubs in the 2022 offseason. Now 29, a great spring and an even better summer from Arcia could land him an extension with Atlanta. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images)

Chadwick Tromp, C, Aruba – Sean Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud are the Braves’ starting and backup catchers, respectively, but Tromp, a non-roster invite, should be first in line if either suffers injuries. He only has 40 games of MLB experience but has shown decent power, hitting five home runs in 102 plate appearances. However, to remain in the Braves organization, Tromp must showcase better plate discipline, having walked just once in his MLB career compared to 31 strikeouts. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Phillies (2023 Record: 90-72, 2nd in NL East)  

Edmundo Sosa, SS, 3B, Panama – Sosa is not one of the more prominent names on the Phillies, but his value cannot be understated. He can play third, short, and second base off the bench at an above-average level. Sosa played for the Panama national team in 2016 during the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifiers, and figures to give shortstop Trea Turner and second baseman Bryson Stott much-needed off days throughout the long, grueling season. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) 

Ricardo Pinto, RHP, Venezuela – The 2024 Caribbean Series MVP signed a minor league contract with the Phillies following the tournament and is a non-roster invite. He pitched for the Tiburones de La Guaira during the 2023-24 LVBP regular season and posted a 0.84 ERA in 10.4 innings with the eventual champions in the Caribbean Series. The Phillies hope to see more performances like in the championship game of the Caribbean Series, where he allowed no earned runs and struck out six in 5.2 innings against the Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Republic. (Photo by Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images)

Miami Marlins (2023 Record: 84-78, 3rd in NL East)  

Edward Cabrera, RHP, Dominican Republic – Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara will miss the 2024 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, meaning Cabrera enters the spring with heavy weight on his shoulders. Cabrera recorded 118 strikeouts in 99.2 innings last season but also walked six hitters per nine. Now entering his fourth MLB season, the Fish need him to step up and have a career year now more than ever to compete in the tough NL East.  (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Victor Mesa Jr., OF, Cuba – Mesa was the No. 6 ranked prospect in the Marlins organization in 2023 and put together a solid season with Double-A Pensacola, hitting 18 home runs with 76 RBI. He has yet to play one game in Triple-A, but MLB Pipeline projects Mesa will make his MLB debut sometime this season. Mesa is also a speedster, swiping 16 bags in 19 attempts in 2023. (Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images) 

New York Mets (2023 Record: 75-87, 4th in NL East)  

Shintaro Fujinami, RHP, Japan – Fujinami’s average fastball velocity was 98.4 mph in 2023, but the high velocity did not translate to good results. According to Baseball Savant, he may have become too predictable, using his fastball 56.6 percent of the time. Fujinami posted a 7.18 ERA during 2023 with the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles and aims to be one of the top bullpen arms with the Mets during the regular season. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Luisangel Acuna, SS, 2B, OF, Venezuela – Ronald Acuna’s younger brother was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Mets in July as part of a deal that sent starting pitcher Max Scherzer to the eventual World Series champions. Similar to his older brother, Acuna is fast. Really fast. He stole 57 bases in 67 attempts with Double-A Frisco and Double-A Binghamton in 2023. He’s not a home run hitter but can use the next season or two in minor league baseball to build strength and power. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) 

Washington Nationals (2023 Record: 71-91, 5th in NL East)  

Joey Meneses, DH, 1B, Mexico – Meneses hit two home runs for Mexico in the 2023 World Baseball Classic against the United States and has hit 13 in each of his seasons in MLB. He started 131 games as the Nationals’ designated hitter last season, and that trend will probably continue in 2024. For a designated hitter, he hit a lot of ground balls last season (48.1 ground ball percentage) and looks to improve upon a 19.2 fly ball percentage. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images) 

Keibert Ruiz, C, Venezuela – Ruiz eclipsed 500 plate appearances for the first time in his four-year career in 2023 and solidified himself as the Nationals starting catcher by hitting 18 home runs. Defensively, he has plenty of skills to work on in the spring, as his average catcher pop time was ranked in the fourth percentile and pitch framing in the third percentile, according to Baseball Savant. One thing he does better than most catchers is put the ball in play, as he struck out just 58 times in 562 plate appearances last season. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)