On Monday, the Diamondbacks made a big announcement. Okay, maybe not so big, but at least it was an announcement. The team will bring 23 non-roster invitees to Spring Training. These are all players who are not part of the team’s 40-man roster. There are some exciting names and some who you might be wondering about. Let’s go rapid fire and look at who’s just making an appearance, who might serve as organizational depth and who actually has a chance to make the roster.
Thanks for Hanging Out
Several invitees don’t have any realistic chance to crack the Opening Day roster, yet they’ll get their feet wet against MLB-level competition in Spring Training. These are mostly prospects making their Spring Training debut.
Braden Shipley, RHP: the now top prospect in the D-backs system will make his Spring Training debut in 2016. He’s a year or two away from the majors, but he’ll finally face big league caliber hitters this spring. That’ll certainly be something worth watching.
Jack Reinheimer, SS: a dark horse acquired in the Mark Trumbo–Welington Castillo swap, Reinheimer is a good looking middle infielder who can hit a little bit and profiles as a utility guy in the majors. I like him, but he’s a ways off yet.
Yoan Lopez, RHP: the slight right-hander showed some improvement in the AFL, including increased velo, but his poor 2015 campaign ins’t squarely in the rear-view mirror yet. The control and command have to sharpen significantly and, unless they do, the projection of Lopez as a reliever gets more and more realistic given the effort in his delivery.
Miller Diaz, RHP: if you don’t recall, Diaz came over in the Addison Reed trade from the Mets. In a confusing series of transactions, he was a minor league free agent, then signed back with the team (I think…?). Regardless, he’s got a long way to go as he hasn’t reached AA yet and is 23.
Adding to The Ranks
These guys aren’t likely candidates to make the 25-man roster, but they are guys who may receive minor league deals with a good spring showing. If they accept, they could become some of the first players called up as reinforcements in case of injury or implosion.
Jason Bourgeois, OF: a veteran who’s now 34, Bourgeouis has 708 major league at-bats under his belt. His value is that of a defensive fill-in at any spot. It’s pretty much an emergency-only profile, but emergencies do happen. You can thank the departure of Ender Inciarte for this one.
Todd Glaesmann, OF: traded from the Rays to the D-backs, Glaesmann briefly retired, then returned to baseball. He had a good showing in AAA last year at 25, yet he’s a bench outfielder at best. He’s earned his chance to show what he can do even if that’s not all that much.
Zach Borenstein, OF: he’s always hit and sometimes for plus power, yet Borenstein has never been well-regarded. He doesn’t offer much defensively but could warrant a trial at some point. He’ll get his chance to make his mark this spring and set himself up as guy who gets called up in case a move is warranted.
Evan Marzilli, OF: Marzilli’s a good-looking centerfielder who can hit a little bit while covering a ton of ground in the outfield. A plus athlete, he might be the next-best centerfield option behind A.J. Pollock, yet he’s never faced big league pitching where he could be in over his head. He might need a little bit more time but could eventually serve as the team’s permanent fourth outfielder.
Daniel Gibson, LHP: while he hasn’t faced hitters beyond AA, his showing in the AFL was impressive and he’s not far off. There’s are plenty of candidates in the lefty reliever category but not many with minor league options remaining and Gibson is knocking on the door.
Mark Thomas, C: he’s almost 28 and hasn’t played above AA. That’s because he can’t hit. But he can catch. So he’s coming Spring Training.
Matt Buschmann, RHP: look, when you’e 32 and haven’t made it to the majors, the outlook is bleak. There’s no risk here and he could help fill the AAA rotation.
Kyle Drabek, RHP: Drabek is a 28-year old former first round pick who has failed to live up to expectations. Can the Diamondbacks be the team holding him if he turns a corner? I’ve heard worse ideas…
Jose Cisnero, RHP: Cisnero is almost 27 and pitched 4.2 innings for the Astros last year. It took him 100 pitches to record 15 outs. As you might have guessed, walks are an issue. He can strike some guys out though, so who knows?
Adam Miller, RHP: he’s got big time velocity but can’t find the zone often enough to maximize it. The organization seems to like him, so he’s not far away from getting a crack at big league hitters, although Fleck (below) might get the call first.
Kyle Jensen, OF: he’ll be 28 next year and hasn’t seen The Show, but Jensen can hit for power as he’s shown in the Marlins’ and Dodgers’ systems over the last few years. He’s a solid depth option and he can be hid in Reno in case tragedy strikes, presuming he takes a minor league deal.
Carlos Rivero, 3B: Rivero saw his only four MLB at-bats when he was 25. He’ll turn 28 in a few months and is coming off of a disappointing AAA season. Another emergency option, Rivero should see Reno if he sticks around.
So You’re Tellin’ Me There’s a Chance…
These players could, conceivably, make a bid for the 25-man roster right out of the gate. Mostly veterans, these are the types of moves every club tries to make before Spring Training to add some defensive insurance, a bench bat or that one last reliever who can fill a need.
Joaquin Arias, INF: the journeyman infielder isn’t much with the bat, but he can play all over the infield. He’s a contingency option in case of injury or trade who may elect free agency if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster.
Kaleb Fleck, RHP: it was another big strikeout, big walk season for Fleck in the minors. He’s a big arm who’s still trying to manage the strike zone. He’ll be 27 next season and is an injury or strong spring away from getting his chance.
Tim Stauffer, RHP: the 33-year old vet has nearly 600 big league innings under his belt. 2015 was rough, but he was low-key excellent in 2013 and 2014 with the Padres. The decline is likely due to the big dip in his fastball velocity. Can he get it back or learn to live with less? A good showing could put him in the bullpen.
Scott Rice, LHP: the veteran lefty is a ground ball machine who should only be allowed to face same-handed hitters. There’s a need for that, however, as burning Andrew Chafin for a key at-bat in the 6th inning is not a sound strategy.
Wesley Wright, LHP: Wright is in the same category – ground balling lefty who has faired best against fellow lefties. In his favor, Wright has played parts of eight big league seasons and is a year younger than Rice.
Adam Loewen, LHP: why not add a third veteran lefty bullpen option? Loewen has struggled with command issues but offers better strikeout potential than the two above. This competition will make for a fun side story come spring.
Brett Hayes, C: the almost-32-year old is a sneaky candidate to serve as the team’s backup catcher with Tuffy Gosewisch on the shelf to begin the year. Chris Herrmann is probably the favorite for that role, but he’s a terrible catcher and Hayes might be able to displace him. I’m pretty sure that means the backup catching situation is sub-optimal.
Bonus! Right-handed pitcher Sam LeCure was signed late this week and will presumably see Spring Training as well. For more on LeCure and how he fits into the Diamondbacks backup plans, see yesterday’s post from Ryan.
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