David Holtzman announced the Royals non-roster invitees to spring training and the list includes some exciting names.
- Catchers: Cody Clark, Ryan Eigsti, Salvador Perez
- Infielders: Joaquin Arias, Irving Falu, Johnny Giavotella, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lance Zawadzki
- Outfielders: Brett Carroll
- Pitchers: Louis Coleman, Tim Collins, Danny Duffy, Chris Dwyer, Blaine Hardy, Gaby Hernandez, Patrick Keating, John Lamb, Luis Mendoza, Zach Miner, Mike Montgomery, Steven Shell, Will Smith
Clark and Eigsti finished last season in Omaha and Northwest Arkansas respectively. Perez, who could be a sleeper prospect this year, ended the year in Wilmington and receives his invitation at a mere 20 years old.
Arias and Zawadzki aren’t big surprises, as they were originally placed on the 4o man roster after being claimed off waivers in November, but Johnny Giavotella is a small surprise among these players. He may be closer to the big leagues than I’d thought. Hosmer and Moustakas are the big draws among the infielders, of course, and while Hosmer may be reassigned fairly early in spring training (like Moustakas last season in his first invite), Moustakas will probably get a long look and, if he “burns it up”, might have an outside shot at breaking camp with the big club. Brett Carroll was a minor league signing this offseason and may be veteran depth, but with David Lough, Derrick Robinson, Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain all younger and more talented than he is, and with a crowded outfield as it is, he’s going to be insurance.
We might see a few of the pitchers who got invited in Kansas City in 2011. Coleman and Collins are the likely first two options if (when) someone in the bullpen falters. Dayton Moore has said repeatedly that Danny Duffy will get a “long look” this spring and Blaine Hardy and Steven Shell could be injury filler too. Zach Miner has a good shot at becoming the fifth starter if he’s healthy and modestly effective. Holtzman made a point to mention that Aaron Crow will be in spring training as well. Crow is already on the 40 man roster.
Looking past the filler (Hernandez and Mendoza), the combo of Dwyer, Keating, Lamb, Montgomery and Smith is really fun to think about. Northwest Arkansas was named Baseball America’s team of the year and those five were big reasons why. I don’t expect any of them to make the big league club out of spring training, but we might get to see them in some games as an opportunity to see what they can do. Keating doesn’t get nearly as much press as the starters, but owns a career 12.8 K/9 in 104 minor league innings.
Every day that passes is another day closer to baseball. Pitchers and catchers report on February 14 for the Royals.