Thursday, February 8, 2018

The non-roster invitees

A few hours before the Ervin Santana finger surgery news broke, the Twins announced 13 non-roster invitees to spring training:

Thirteen seems a pretty light number. Most springs in the past decade or so the Twins have had 60 or so players in major league camp; as matters stand, there will be 53 this year.

But just as the free agent market has been frozen at the top of the food chain, there hasn't been a lot of movement at the base of the pryamid. The Twins list is noteworthy for the kind of NRI that isn't there -- the guy with major league service time with a genuine opportunity to crack the openng roster.

Last spring, for example, the Twins had Chris Gimenez make the squad as a NRI. They also had the likes of Ryan Vogelsong, J.B Shuck and Drew Stubbs in camp. Catcher Bobby Wilson is the closest thing to that kind of player on this year's list, and he's not Gimenez. He probably needs an injury to one of the two catchers on the 40 man roster (Jason Castro and Mitch Garver). 

It's certainly possible that the Twins will add to this list, of course; in fact, I would be surprised if they don't.

Also missing and thus noteworthy: Kohl Stewart, once a highly regarded pitching prospect. The No. 4 overall pick in 2013 isn't on the 40-man roster, was ignored in the Rule 5 draft and not tendered a camp invite. 

There are three "genuine" prospects among the 13: reliever Jake Reed, infielder Nick Gordon and outfielder LaMonte Wade. I don't see any of the three as having a clear chance at making the roster in camp, but they have a chance to be seen.

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