The Dodgers on Monday announced their 16 non-roster invitees to spring training. That just means these players are not on the 40-man roster but will be with the MLB club in spring training until they are reassigned to minor-league camp.
Usually, there is some intrigue among the NRIs. This year, not so much — despite there being some big-name prospects who got the invite. This is probably because the roster is already talent-laden and there aren’t a lot of holes as the team is currently constructed. The 16 are as follows (asterisks denote player is on my Top 100 list):
Urias returns for his second NRI appearance, while De Leon is making his first. Those are the two big names to watch from this list. The odds the either of them break camp with the team are microscopic, but they’re the most exciting by a long shot. Anderson is also a returning NRI and should be transitioning to the bullpen sooner rather than later. Bonilla and Brown were picked up off waivers early in the ofseason, while I’m sure West has some incriminating photos of someone in the front office to have been given an invite.
These guys are Double- an Triple-A fodder. Farmer is the best catching prospect in the system not named Austin Barnes, while Murphy and Zarraga are organizational depth. A lot would have to go terribly wrong for any of them to break camp with the big club.
Hello, Mr. Bellinger. The 20-year-old is the youngest non-Urias player to get an invite after his great 2015 in High-A. He’ll probably be among the first cuts, but it’s nice for the kid to get some experience in the MLB clubhouse. Culberson, Herrera and Segedin all have something playing in their favor: They’re infielders, and the Dodgers need an extra infielder. Unfortunately for all parties, they’re not particularly good infielders.
Sure, why not. The Dodgers’ outfield situation is as full as any in the majors, so any of these guys donning a Dodger uniform come opening day would be a shock. Brown and Noel can play center field, but they’re going to have to leap Trayce Thompson on the depth chart if either of them are to make the club. Hassan is a corner outfielder who doesn’t have a lot of pop.
It’s nice to see some big-name prospects there, even if they aren’t going to break camp with the club. There is usually some intrigue with the NRIs, but it’s lacking a bit this year. Four of the Dodgers’ 2015 NRIs played at some point in Los Angeles and eight in 2014. Of the players above, I could see as many as five or six making an appearance in LA, but it could easily be just one or two. If I had to predict a Top 3 of who could be on the opening day roster, it’d be as follows:
- B. Brown
Not exciting, but more out of necessity. Herrera can play infield and outfield, while Brown is the obligatory NRI pitcher who could make it. Culberson isn’t much of a ball player, but he can play all over the diamond — like Herrera, but he can’t hit like Herrera, which says a lot. And the pitchers who aren’t Urias or De Leon leave a lot to be desired.
Urias and De Leon should begin in Triple-A, while Anderson has an outside chance of starting there as well. Bellinger will be Tulsa’s first baseman and Farmer should be their catcher.
There could be additions to this list, but as it stands right now, the 16 players above don’t have much of a chance of producing with the big league club in 2016.