TORONTO -- The Blue Jays released their list of 28 non-roster invitees to Major League Spring Training on Friday, which is stacked with top-prospect talent and veterans vying for jobs.
Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Dunedin, Fla., for Spring Training beginning Thursday.
Here is the positional breakdown of invitees:
Catchers: Philip Clarke
With five catchers already on the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays didn’t need to bring as many to camp on non-roster invites. Clarke is well-regarded within the organization, though, and should see plenty of playing time in the Minors this season. A ninth-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft out of Vanderbilt University, he debuted with the Vancouver Canadians in ’19.
Infielders: Jordan Groshans, Miguel Hiraldo, Leonardo Jimenez, Austin Martin, Orelvis Martinez, Joe Panik, Kevin Smith, Richard Urena, Logan Warmoth, Tyler White
This group is headlined by the club's No. 2 prospect in Martin and No. 3 prospect in Groshans, but also features Martinez (No. 7) and Hiraldo (No. 9). While Panik will be competing for the reserve infield job after signing a Minor League deal and Urena has an opportunity to re-establish himself with the club, this infield position is a look to the future waves of talent coming up through the system.
It will be particularly interesting to see Martinez and Hiraldo given their age. At just 19 and 20 years old, respectively, the two are among the club’s youngest top prospects and have had plenty of time to mature physically since their last Minor League action. The late innings of Spring Training games will be well worth watching with some of these names cycling through.
Outfielders: Ryan Noda, Forrest Wall, Chavez Young
With Jonathan Davis and Josh Palacios already on the 40-man, it’s unlikely any of the outfielders in camp steal a roster spot, but this should help to clarify some of the upper-minors depth. Young is the club’s No. 29 prospect and has impressive speed. Keep an eye on him in center field if he sees playing time, as his ability to stick at that position long term will be key. Noda, now 24, is an on-base machine, reaching at a .422 clip across three Minor League seasons. If his power can take that next step, he’ll be an interesting bat in the upper Minors.
Right-handed pitchers: Bryan Baker, Anthony Castro, A.J. Cole, Adam Kloffenstein, Alek Manoah, Joey Murray, Jackson Rees, CJ Van Eyk, Simeon Woods Richardson, Yosver Zulueta
Cole is the veteran here, back on a Minor League deal with a shot to win a job after a solid 2020 with the Blue Jays. There’s plenty of prospect intrigue here too, though, in big right-handers Woods Richardson (No. 4 prospect), Manoah (No. 5), Kloffenstein (No. 10) and Van Eyk (No. 11). Some expect Woods Richardson to move very quickly despite being just 20 years old.
Keep Zulueta’s name in the back of your mind as well. The young Cuban hasn’t seen any Minor League action yet, but has a heavy fastball and is starting to generate some real buzz.
Left-handed pitchers: Nick Algeyer, Francisco Liriano, Kirby Snead, Tim Mayza
Liriano has a chance to crack this roster, but it might be an uphill climb given the depth of young starters who could also be used in bullpen roles. The return of Mayza will be interesting to track, too, as the hard-throwing lefty works back after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Prior to going down in September 2019, Mayza posted a 4.91 ERA over 51 1/3 innings.