Friday, February 1, 2013

Meet Your 2013 Spring Training Invitees

We're now less than 2 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, which will signal the end of the 2012-2013 offseason and start the transition towards the 2013 regular season.  The Yankees released their list of non-roster invitees to camp yesterday, all 44 of them, and combined with the guys on the 40-man roster they should make for a very entertaining camp.  There's a heavy dose of young MiL players and prospects in this 44-man group, with a sprinkling of older veteran players, mostly the guys who've been recently signed to MiL deals to compete for bench jobs.  Full list of non-roster invitees and a few quick thoughts on the group after the jump.

Infielders: Greg Bird, Cito Culver, Walt Ibarra, Dan Johnson, Addison Maruszak, Luke Murton, Jayson Nix, Jose Pirela, Kyle Roller, Gil Velazquez

Outfielders: Abe Almonte, Tyler Austin, Matt Diaz, Adonis Garcia, Slade Heathcott, Ronnier Mustelier, Thomas Neals, Juan Rivera, Rob Segedin

Catchers: Francisco Arcia, Kyle Higashioka, J.R. Murphy, Gary Sanchez, Bobby Wilson

Righty Pitchers: Corey Black, Preston Claiborne, Matt Daley, Shane Greene, Nick Goody, David Herndon, Tommy Kahnle, Jim Miller, Bryan Mitchell, Mark Montgomery, Zach Nuding, Mikey O'Brien, Kelvin Perez, Branden Pinder, Ryan Pope, Chase Whitley

Lefty Pitchers: Juan Cedeno, Vidal Nuno, Josh Spence, Matt Tracy

- 3 of the top 4 Yankee prospects got invites, with the most glaring omission being Mason Williams.  I wouldn't read too much into him not being included, though.  He's still coming back from his shoulder surgery and the most important thing is making sure he's 100% healthy and ready to go for the start of the MiL season.  No reason to rush the kid just to get a look at him in meaningless ST games.

- Not a lot of competition for Jayson Nix to try to steal the utility IF job.  Guys like Ibarra and Maruszak are just organizational depth, and I'm not as high on Jose Pirela as some others.  If neither guy gets hurt it should come down to Nix and Nunez.

- Dan Johnson's chances of winning a roster spot took a big hit with the Hafner signing, but he's not completely out of contention.  Hafner is just as likely to get hurt in camp as he is in a regular season game, and the Yanks will still need a lefty DH.

- I know he's not competing for anything more than a bench job, but I'm excited to see what Mustelier can do.  All the guy has done is hit since the Yankees signed him, and they could definitely use some more offensive punch.

- I'll be curious to see how much PT the Yankees give Sanchez.  He's still years away, but with their current crop of weak-hitting catchers competing for the starting job you have to think the decision makers would like to speed up Sanchez's development process if they think he can handle it.

- This should be a good chance for everybody to see how Corey Black looks in a relief setting.  When I wrote about him for Prospect Week, I explained that the uncertainty regarding his future role led me to leave him off the AB4AR Top 30.  Any work he gets in ST will be in later-inning relief appearances, and you know the Yankee brass will have the gun out to see how his fastball plays up.

- Little surprised to see Bryan Mitchell get a call.  I honestly don't remember if he was in camp last year, but he didn't do much in 2012 to garner a lot of attention.  Maybe the Yankees want to see if one of the Major League coaches can pick up on something he's doing wrong to help him improve his command.

- 2 words: Mark Fucking Montgomery.

- I still think Vidal Nuno is a sleeper prospect in the system because of his flexibility, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the Yanks give him a little more work to see just how effective he can be as a LOOGY.

Just 11 days away.  11 days until we can stop talking about payrolls and luxury taxes and committing insurance fraud to get out of A-Rod's contract and start talking about actual baseball again.  That's a good feeling.

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