The Padres released an official list of non-roster invitees which can be found on their main site. So far, Josh Byrnes has invited 12 pitchers and 11 position players. If you are like me, you probably read these names and thought, who? Well, don’t be alarmed, typically non-roster invitees are not expected to be impact players for the season, much less even make the roster. Typically, they are a mix of career minor leaguers or journey men hoping to catch on as a bench or utility player. It helps to be a left handed pitcher, or an infielder that can play both sides of the diamond. This all reminds me of the classic baseball comedy, Major League, when Willy Mays Hays sneaks his way onto the Cleveland Indians Spring Training Camp and works his speed into a roster spot.
For reference, here is an extended list of invited players along with their minor or major league stats.
Interestingly enough, no additional outfielders beyond the 40 man roster are currently invited. It must be noted, that non-roster invitees do also include that special class of young prospects that are getting a taste of the major league experience. Of this group, notable prospects include Quakenbush, Erlin, Gyorko, Hagerty, and Hegdes. In particular, Robbie Erlin and Jedd Gyorko are candidates to make the team in the Spring, and furthermore even provide impact play. Gyorko is projected to have the highest ceiling and is the reason that Josh Byrnes would even remotely feel comfortable entertaining a Chase Headley rumor. Gyorko was noticeably absent from last year’s Sept call-ups. The direct stated reason for Gyorko’s omission was that there was a need to protect various pitchers returning from injury to the 40-man roster thus Gyorko was left off the roster and thus not eligible for a Sept promotion. As we see even to this day, that that roster status persists, and will persist into Spring Training. The additional corollary benefit of Gyorko’s omission, was to protect a good player from reaching salary arbitration milestones before necessary. This only happens to prospects that fall under the impact ceiling, and it does happen to the best of them. As the off-season unwinds, it may very turn out that Gyorko will be our biggest addition to last year’s fine team. Expect him to rival or exceed the 2012 performance of Logan Forsythe.