Tomorrow, pitchers and catchers are going to be meeting up in Tempe, AZ for the usual physicals and doctor check-ups, and on Friday those same pitchers and catchers will kick off Spring Training 2016 as they begin their team workouts, drills, you name it. A good chunk of the pitching you'll be seeing this Spring is going to look familiar, so I thought I'd dip into the NRIs(Non-roster invites) and see what names we should be looking out for over the next month or so. Let's see what we got.
A.J. Achter R-R 6'5" 205 Aug 27, 1988
Achter is a guy the Angels picked up off of waivers back in December, and is essentially a low-risk depth addition who COULD possibly work his way into the bullpen in 2016. He's only got about 24 MLB innings under his belt, but he's put up decent numbers recently in AAA. Again, there is very little risk in Achter so if he doesn't pan out, no biggie.
Tyler DeLoach R-L 6'6" 240 Apr 12, 1991
DeLoach was a rghan sleeper last year, and continued to prove his worth in the minors last year. He's still young and plenty of options, so there may be no rush to get him to the big league club. More competition for the bullpen spots that aren't named Huston Street, Joe Smith and Fernando Salas.
Lucas Luetge L-L 6'4" 205 Mar 24, 1987
Another low-risk arm whose ceiling is probably a bullpen spot somewhere down the road. That's probably best case scenario. I'm skeptical, to say the least.
Greg Mahle L-L 6'2" 225 Apr 17, 1993
Mahle is a guy that's been in the Angels system for a couple years now, after being drafted in the 15th round of the 2014 draft. He's seemed to do okay in his minor league career so far, but not sure that we've seen enough to determine if he's legit. He's still young, though, so maybe some time with the big league coaches this Spring will help him develop more. Still, he's one to keep an eye on, no doubt.
Yunesky Maya R-R 6'0" 210 Aug 28, 1981
34 year old Cuban who has had just shy of 60 IP in the bigs. This was another of Billy Eppler's offseason lottery tickets.
Kyle McGowin R-R 6'3" 200 Nov 27, 1991
McGowin was a guy who sat in the middle of the Angels' top prospect lists last year, as a starting pitcher, but with the adios of Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis, the club is probably banking on him harder than ever now. Of course, he just finished his first season of minor league ball that wasn't cut short by injury, so there's still work to be done to prove he can help out in the future rotation. You'll see him back at Arkansas, or maybe Salt Lake City if things go well for him.
Ramon Ramirez R-R 5'11" 200 Aug 31, 1981
Old dude. Competing for bullpen spot. Eppler gave him minor league deal. Low risk. You know the drill, and can probably just move along to the next guy.
Nate Smith L-L 6'3" 205 Aug 28, 1991
Smith is pretty much a consensus Top 5 prospect for the Angels organization in just about every list you can read. Of course, with the system being in the state it's in, that's not saying A TON. But Smith has been pretty good in his minor league outings thus far, and you could definitely see him sneak into the rotation at some point...in 2017.
Juan Graterol R-R 6'1" 205 Feb 14, 1989
Graterol was a dude they signed to a minor league deal around the same time as Yunesky Maya. I have nothing to say about Juan Graterol. *shrugs*
Stephen McGee R-R 6'3" 215 Feb 7, 1991
McGee has been up and down throughout the organizational ranks in his short minor league career, I'd say more due to injuries than other concerns. He's looking at another year in Arkansas, or perhaps backing up Jett Bandy in Salt Lake.
Michael Strentz R-R 6'1" 215 Nov 10, 1991
Strentz was an undrafted free agent coming into the Angels org, and if you keep that in mind, he's done...okay? Not bad? The problem is the Angels have a lot of catchers right now, and Strentz falls into the group that seem to still be finding their pro ball legs. Like the others, he could use the Spring Training reps, as he's still developing.
Taylor Ward R-R 6'1" 190 Dec 14, 1993
Taylor Ward, the controversial 1st rounder from 2015, has already jumped up to the Top 3(or #1) prospect ranking in his short time in the system. He's got some defensive talent, no doubt, but he surprised people with his bat last year in Orem, as well. That earned him a promotion to low-A Burlington, where he continued to impress. And good for him; it was never about his talent, when it came to the collective disappointment with the Angels picking him. It was the spot he was taken. Nevertheless, he's catapulted into the upper tier of Angels prospects, and Mike Scioscia is stoked to have a young Jeff Mathis by his side in Tempe.
Wade Wassn't going to make the team anyway, so not much needs to be said about him at the moment.
So, any of these guys have your interest thoroughly piqued? Which NRI makes it onto the roster come early April?