A's non-roster invitees to watch this spring
This story was excerpted from Martín Gallegos’ A’s Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.
OAKLAND -- With the A’s lacking a true established option at several positions, Spring Training figures to include a handful of competitions to sort out those jobs. In some instances, those vying for certain spots could be players beyond the 40-man roster.
So far, the A’s have announced 24 players who will be joining the team in big league camp as non-roster invitees, with general manager David Forst indicating that one or two more players could be added between now and the report date on Feb. 15.
If recent history is any indication, the likelihood of at least a couple of those non-roster invitees cracking the Major League roster is strong. Of the 23 non-roster invitees who were in camp with the A’s last Spring Training, five made the Opening Day roster: right-handed pitchers Zach Jackson, Dany Jiménez, Justin Grimm and Jake Lemoine, as well as outfielder/first baseman Billy McKinney. Others who were called up to Oakland later in the season included Christian Bethancourt and first baseman Dermis Garcia.
Here is a look at the non-roster players invited to A’s camp and who might have a shot to earn a role out of Spring Training.
Right-handers: Jaseel De La Cruz, Rico Garcia, J.T. Ginn, Deolis Guerra, Daulton Jefferies, Mason Miller, Norge Ruiz, Trey Supak
Left-handers: Jake Fishman, Garrett Williams
Fishman is an intriguing lefty with a high ground-ball rate who is coming off a solid year in the Marlins organization. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Jacksonville, where he posted a 2.25 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 20 walks across 56 innings pitched. He also received a few short stints in the big leagues with Miami, making seven relief appearances and allowing five runs on 13 hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 11 innings. With A.J. Puk expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation this spring, Fishman could be in the bullpen mix with other lefties such as Williams, Sam Moll and Kirby Snead.
Infielders: Ernie Clement, Kevin Cron, Logan Davidson, Zack Gelof, Max Muncy, Pablo Reyes, Tyler Wade
The A’s will get a close look at what they hope is a bright future with Gelof, who is rated their No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline. Inconsistencies at the plate have led to Davidson, Oakland’s first-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, being seemingly stuck in Double-A for the past two seasons. But the A’s still believe the talent is there for their No. 21 prospect, and he should get some time on the left side of the infield during Cactus League play. Cron, who is the son of A’s assistant hitting coach Chris Cron, returned after stints in Japan and Korea over the past two years, and he’s a power bat who has amassed 151 home runs over six Minor League seasons.
Outfielders: Trenton Brooks, Denzel Clarke, Cody Thomas
It’s another look to the future with Clarke, Oakland’s No. 13 prospect, who will get his first chance to partake in big league camp coming off a strong first full season in the organization.
Catchers: Kyle McCann, Yohel Pozo, Tyler Soderstrom, Daniel Susac
Manny Piña, whom the A’s acquired in the Sean Murphy trade this offseason, is a leading candidate to serve as the main backup to Shea Langeliers. However, Pozo is coming off a solid year in the Rangers organization, having slashed .320/.352/.474 in 65 games at Triple-A Round Rock, and he could insert himself into that backup catcher mix. Soderstrom, Oakland’s top overall prospect per MLB Pipeline, and Susac, the organization’s No. 4 prospect who was selected 19th overall in last year’s MLB Draft, will get valuable development time.