A look at the most notable non-roster invitees among AL West teams this spring
Total NRIs: 19 Almost famous: Neither Jason Pridie nor Brandon Moss were headliners, but both were included as part of two big trades surrounding the 2008 season. Pridie headed to the Twins in the Delmon Young/Matt Garza swap prior to the season, and Moss joined the Pirates in the three-team deal that sent Jason Bay to Boston and Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles at the trade deadline. Another notable is Landon Powell, who Scott Boras once entered into the draft class without telling anyone. The next big thing: Kevin GoldsteinsurveyedMichael Choice’s tools and noted that he has power, patience, and athleticism, all the while choosing him as the organization’s best prospect. Choice’s grade-70 power should make his batting practice sessions a must-see spring event. The Athletics have two other recent first-round picks in camp: pitcher Sonny Gray and converted outfielder Grant Green. Max Stassi was not a first-round pick, and his last name is not that of a color, but the fourth-rounder will join Green and Gray in camp. Too old for this: Some guy name Manny Ramirez. Nobody knows quite what Ramirez will offer the A’s this season—if anything—and nobody will find out until almost two months into the season. Regardless, you don’t see players with 555 career home runs taking non-roster spots very often. Sticker potential: Shy of an injury, it does not appear likely that a non-roster invitee breaks camp with the A’s.
Non-roster invitees are swarming to spring training, but do these players ever pan out? Ben looks for an answer in the best of last season's NRI crop
"I’ve always said when it comes to a minor-league contract there’s no such thing as a bad one. There’s no guarantee from the club’s standpoint other than a flight to and from spring training."—Alex Anthopoulos, January 2012
While you’re busy celebrating Presidents Day in traditional American fashion—crossing the Delaware, roadtripping to Mt. Rushmore, trying to keep your anticipation for next week’s 87th Republican primary debate in check—pitchers and catchers will be reporting to training camps across Florida and Arizona. Not quite all of the pitchers and catchers or all of the camps—Mariners pitchers, catchers, and position players reported about a week before everyone else, so Mariners non-roster invitees have already been ostracizing members of their 40-man for days.
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Every season without fail, there are names on Opening Day rosters that only the most avid of baseball fans would recognize, guys who have never been in the major leagues, who aren't considered prospects, and who have maybe had a lineout in BP's annual. Some, like Chris Jakubauskas, may have even taken an off-season job as a sales clerk.
There are 30 teams in MLB, 25 players per team, for 750 roster spots total. We put out a book with about 1,600 players in it. You'd think we'd be able to cover those 750 roster spots, but no, every year MLB teams manage to find players we didn't cover and give them uniforms on Opening Day. Right rude of them, we think. So here's what we've been able to dredge up on the 37 guys we've identified as being on an Opening Day roster but not in Baseball Prospectus 2003.
Click on the player links at the beginning of each comment to peruse each player's PECOTA card, free for all 37 of these not-in-book players. To get access to PECOTA cards for all other major leaguers, plus hundreds of minor leaguers, click here to sign up for BP Premium.
Grapefruit and Cactus League games are just starting, a time when it's
tough to identify many of the players without a program, especially those
with numbers higher than Tiger Woods's scoring average. In hockey those
numbers are often worn by the likes of Jaromir Jagr or Eric Lindros, but in
baseball, they're given to players who are merely hoping to catch
somebody's eye. Many are doled out to the species known as the non-roster
Every club has at least a dozen NRIs. Some teams, like the Reds, have more
NRIs than the Diamondbacks have uniform combinations, although less than a
handful have even a slim chance of wearing the team colors come April
Fools' Day. The primary benefit of giving a player a non-roster invitation
is that it allows the team to defer making judgments on who to move off the
40-man roster, after they've seen players in game conditions. Teams are
just like the rest of us: they prefer to avoid making tough decisions,
especially when they could lose a useful player by trying to slip him
through waivers, or when an athlete's career hangs in the balance.