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March 9, 2012

Transaction Analysis

Notable NRI: NL West

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

National League

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Total NRIs: 20
Almost famous: Jason Lane was the winning pitcher for the University of Southern California in the decisive game of the College World Series. Now he is attempting to pitch in the majors after playing in almost 500 major league games as an outfielder.  Chris Jakubauskas is a good story of perseverance—he once bounced around the Frontier League looking for work—but isn’t much more than a replacement-level swingman.  Jensen Lewis used to be David Price’s roommate at Vanderbilt and once looked like a closing option for the Indians.
The next big thing: Diamondbacks camp might offer the most prospect bang for your buck of any out there. In addition to watching Trevor Bauer’s long-toss sessions, patrons can see nine others on Kevin Goldstein’s Top 20 list: Tyler Skaggs (second), Matt Davidson (sixth), A.J. Pollock (seventh), Adam Eaton (11th), Pat Corbin (12th), Marc Krauss (14th), Evan Marshall (16th), Charles Brewer (17th), and Kevin Munson (18th). Skaggs in particular is worth watching, although soreness kept him from his first spring outing.
Too old for this: Cody Ransom is 36 years old and recorded 37 plate appearances with Arizona last season. Despite playing in nine major league seasons, Ransom has never topped 90 plate appearances in one of them. Arizona has enough middle infield depth to think Ransom will not crack the century mark this season either.
Sticker potential: Barring an injury, nobody looks likely to make the opening day roster.

COLORADO ROCKIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Total NRIs: 21
Almost famous: Colorado has a pair of former middle-infield prospects worthy of reminiscing about. Brendan Harris had a nice offensive season for the Devil Rays in 2007 before fading from the majors. Brandon Wood would not mind having just one good year in the majors at this point.
The next big thing: Top prospect Nolan Arenado may not break camp with the Rockies, but he and his great hands should find their way to Coors before season’s end. Other top prospects in camp on non-roster deals include power arm Chad Bettis and outfielders Kent Matthes and Tim Wheeler—all of whom ranked in the Rockies Top 11.
Too old for this: Between Jamie Moyer and Wil Nieves, the Rockies could have a battery with a collective age of 83 years.
Sticker potential: The Rockies have a good number of starting pitcher options, and asking Moyer to pitch in Coors Field might not end well. Still, if you want a non-roster invitee to root for, Moyer is the guy.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Total NRIs: 21
Almost famous: Remember when Angel Guzman was a top prospect with the Cubs? Or when Ryan Tucker was a decent prospect with the Marlins? Or Josh Fields with the White Sox? How about Cory Sullivan with the Rockies? If you prefer something beyond the melancholy being of busted top prospects, then you should enjoy Alberto Castillo’s story.
The next big thing: Singular, since catcher Gorman Erickson is the only one of Kevin Goldstein’s Top 20 Dodgers prospects in camp as a non-roster invitee. Erickson himself only ranked 17th on the Dodgers list thanks to defensive limitations.
Too old for this: John Grabow, Jamey Wright, and Josh Bard have combined for more than 1,500 major league appearances and games played.
Sticker potential: Grabow would make sense on the roster if not for Scott Elbert being out of options. That leaves Grabow battling it out with Mike MacDougal and Todd Coffey for a roster spot. Similarly, Bard’s efforts to crack the 25-man depend on Matt Treanor’s health and the Dodgers’ aggressiveness with Tim Federowicz.

SAN DIEGO PADRES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Total NRIs: 20
Almost famous: Dale Thayer’s mustache once led to this scene.
The next big thing: Brad Boxberger was part of the return on Mat Latos. Boxberger may not have ranked on Kevin Goldstein’s Top 20 list due to the timing of the trade and the list, but he could see the majors this year. As for those who were ranked and will be in camp, the most notable are Robbie Erlin, Jedd Gyorko, Joe Wieland, and Casey Kelly. Outfielder Jaff Decker and second baseman Jonathan Galvez are also in camp.
Too old for this: Jeff Suppan last pitched in the majors in 2010 and spent last season toiling with Kansas City’s Triple-A club. The Red Sox drafted Suppan in 1993 or just before Tony Gwynn recorded his 2,000th hit.
Sticker potential: It doesn’t appear likely that any of the Padres’ non-roster invitees break camp with the team.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Total NRIs: 28
Almost famous: Take your pick of Travis Blackley or Joaquin Arias. The Australian-born Blackley once owned the Texas League, while the Rangers have to say crikey at their choice of picking Arias over Robinson Cano in the Alex Rodriguez-Alfonso Soriano trade.
The next big thing: The Giants send their top four prospects to spring training as non-roster invitees, making this another loaded group. Amongst them you have tool box Gary Brown, first-round pick Joe Panik, potential closer Heath Hembree (whose name sounds like a combination of Heath Bell and Alan Embree), and slugger Tommy Joseph. Catcher and sixth-ranked prospect Andrew Susac is also in camp; he fell to the second-round after a wrist injury ended his junior season early.
Too old for this: The aforementioned Gary Brown was 10 years old when Ramon Ortiz made his major league debut. Ortiz is now 38 (he will turn 39 by Opening Day) and somehow has 38 major league appearances over the last two seasons. If Ortiz does crack the majors, expect the Brian Sabean jokes to flow.
Sticker potential: Depending on what the Giants decide to do with Brandon Belt, one could envision Gregor Blanco making the team as an extra outfielder. The drawback of such a move, of course, would be that it leaves the Giants without a true reserve first baseman.


R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Non-roster Invitee,  Kevin Goldstein

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