April 01, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann (81) celebrates after hitting a grand slam in the inning of the spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers released the names of 16 non-roster (40-man) players that will be invited to major league spring training. Matthew Mowery has the list in a series of tweets:
Converting that from Twitter-speak, we get:
Catchers: Craig Albernaz, Luis Exposito, James McCann, John Murrian
Infielders: Danny Worth, Devon Travis
Outfielders: Tyler Collins, Ezequiel Carrera, Trevor Crowe
Right-handed pitchers: Jhan Marinez, Luis Marte, Eduardo Sanchez, Drew VerHagen
Left-handed pitchers: Duane Below, Blaine Hardy, Robbie Ray
Most teams bring in extra players for the depth. Extra catchers so that several pitchers can be throwing at any given time during workouts and extra positions players to get through split-squad games, so not many of these guys will be in the running for actual 25-man roster spots.
James McCann, Devon Travis, Robbie Ray, Drew VerHagen, and Tyler Collins (to an extent) all carry some level of prospect status for the organization. None of these guys are in the mix for a big league job (barring injury to a starter), but all five could figure into the future and could benefit from exposure to the big league clubhouse and coaches.
There are possibly two hitter spots up for grabs (the ones I’m saying are currently occupied by Don Kelly and Steve Lombardozzi) and as many as three bullpen spots available (favorites: Phil Coke, Ian Krol, and Luke Putkonen), so perhaps some of these guys will have a shot to make the team (along with current 40-man players).
Maybe you could say Danny Worth, Ezequiel Carrera, Luis Marte, Duane Below, and Blaine Hardy would be given legitimate consideration for those spots, though non-40-man players usually start out as long shots at best. I’m not yet familiar with Jhan Marinez or Eduardo Sanchez, but both look to have high-strikeout, high-walk pedigrees and could be Al Alburquerque-like lottery tickets.
There’s really no way that any of the catchers make the team – that spot is Bryan Holaday’s – and I can’t see why Trevor Crowe would be preferred over even Don Kelly (even Carrera is a stretch, but he better fits the “speed and baserunning” ideal). Really though, most of the non-prospects better fit in this list than as actual contenders for roster spots.