Yankees announce spring training non-roster invitees

Finally, some roster news for those enduring the doldrums of MLB’s offseason. We now know the Yankees’ non-roster invitees thanks to an announcement from the club this morning. Let’s dive into who’ll join the 40-man roster in the coming weeks.

As expected

The Yankees signed a number of players to minor league deals this winter, so seeing their names as non-roster invitees comes as no surprise.

A triumvirate of catchers, Chris Iannetta, Erik Kratz, and Josh Thole, will all be part of the backup catching competition even though Kyle Higashioka should have that locked down.

Luis Avilán and Tyler Lyons are veteran lefties who have a shot at nabbing one of the last bullpen spots. Lyons was briefly with the Yankees at the end of last season and even was on the playoff roster. However, with the new batter minimum rule, southpaws like these two don’t seem particularly useful anymore.

Zack Granite, who I wrote up months ago, and Thomas Milone are likely destined to jobs in Scranton’s outfield in Triple-A. Meanwhile, Rosell Herrera may have a decent shot at getting one of the last bench jobs as he can play both infield and outfield. I feel stupid for not mentioning his name in my post this morning. Whoops!

Finally, there’s Nick Tropeano. The oft-injured ex-Angel isn’t much more than an emergency starting option at the moment, though he’ll have an opportunity in Triple-A to rekindle his 2015/2016 form when he was briefly effective out west.

New (though some familiar) faces

David Hale is back. We hadn’t heard anything about him since he was let go back in October. Hale was pretty effective for the Yankees last season and pitched to a 3.11 ERA and 3.32 FIP in 37 2/3 innings. He seems like a good candidate for one of the last bullpen gigs.

The Yankees released and re-signed Domingo Acevedo to a minor league deal last summer as a 40-man cleanup transaction. He’s not a strong candidate to be in the Bronx this season, but he’s back in any event.

Similar to Hale, Dan Otero’s deal was never announced prior to today. The 34 year-old reliever hasn’t been effective since 2016 with Cleveland, but he could be in the Yankees’ bullpen mix.

Wynston Sawyer is a name I hadn’t heard of until today, either. He’s a 28 year-old longtime minor league catcher who will serve as depth somewhere in the Yankees’ system. You always need a bunch of catchers during spring training, hence the addition of Sawyer.

Extra warm bodies

25 year-old outfielder Trey Amburgey has been invited to spring training for a second straight season. He’s not really a prospect, though he had a fine season (106 wRC+) in Scranton last summer. He’s just another outfielder in the spring training mix who’ll probably be cut within the first few weeks.

Kellin Deglan is yet another catcher in camp. Now 27, Deglan was once a first round pick by the Rangers in 2010. Deglan saw lots of time in Double-A for the Yankees last year and could be back there again this year. Otherwise, it’s likely in Triple-A for catcher depth depending on the opt outs some of the veterans like Iannetta have.

Prospects

Now for the fun stuff. There’s a decent chance we see Clarke Schmidt in the Bronx this summer, though we’ll get our first look at him in Tampa soon. Schmidt pitched well in High-A Tampa and finished strong with the Thunder in 2019. The 2017 first rounder figures to spend a little more time in Trenton before pushing up to Scranton and/or New York.

The 2019 Eastern League MVP Chris Gittens gets a well-deserved invite to camp. The big six-foot-four, 250 pound first baseman has got plenty of power, but also a lot of strikeouts to go with it.

Slick fielding Kyle Holder, who I thought might have been a 40-man add, has been in major league camp before and is here again in 2020. He’s certainly behind Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada on the depth chart, but Holder’s glove makes for nice insurance.

Alexander Vizcaino is a pleasantly surprising add. Just 22 years old, Vizcaino has not reached Double-A yet and only has 27 1/3 innings at High-A Tampa to his name. The righty has a big arm (who doesn’t nowadays) and can hit 100 on the radar gun.

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2 Comments

  1. Mungo

    Didn’t realize Hale was back. I can see him breaking camp with the team as a bullpen arm if he maintains the velocity he showed last year. Likely pushes Mike King back to AAA. My guess is the Yankees want to keep him stretched out as a starter. Much still depends on if they keep Happ, or more appropriately, can’t move Happ.

  2. chip56

    A) Thomas Milone the OF is not the same as Tommy Milone the P right?
    B) I’m excited to see what Chris Gittens can do if he gets into some games. Kid has massive power.
    C) Kyle Holder is probably the best defensive player the Yankees will have in camp, at any position. A good spring coupled with a bad spring from Wade or Estrada could push him into the conversation for a bench spot.

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