We are less than a week away from pitchers and catcher reporting to Spring Training (February 13th). The rest of the square reports on February 18th.
Here’s what to expect from the Pitcher and Catcher Non-Roster Invitees. An *asterisk indicates they are on the MLB.com top 30 prospect list. Each player’s age is in parenthesis is along with the highest level they played in 2018.
Pitchers (all RHP)
Miguel Almonte (25, MLB)
We’ve already seen Almonte, but if a very small dose. He gave up 8 runs over 7 innings in his cup of coffee last season and also had an astronomical 10.18 ERA in Salt Lake over 25 games. He was out-righted to Salt Lake off the 40 man roster so now comes back as minor league hopeful. Almonte is out of options, so expect him to start in Salt Lake and not get called up unless he’s really needed.
*Griffin Canning (22, AAA)
Definitely the most exciting new arm to watch in Spring, Canning has only been in the system for one whole season. That likely won’t stop the Angels from adding him to the roster at some point in the season - just not for Opening Day. Canning’s numbers were less than impressive in AAA but he climbed fast in 2018 and pitched better toward the end of the season, perhaps showing he was adjusting to AAA hitters.
Alex Meyer (29, MLB)
Meyer missed all of 2018 and suffered a setback a few months ago, leaving his Spring Training readiness in doubt. If you see him at Spring Training, it may be just tossing the ball on back field since he wasn’t even expected to be cleared to throw until some time this month.
Matt Ramsey (29, AAA)
If you have to look him up, go ahead. I’ll wait. Okay, ready? The Angels signed him as a minor league free agent in December. Last spring he joined the Astros but had a pretty rough showing. He also has a big beard. But wait - there’s more! Ramsey tossed 47 innings in the PCL last season with a 2.30 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Those are impressive numbers in a hitter friendly league. Over his last 18 innings he allowed a mere .161 BAA with a 1.50 ERA. He will be one to watch this spring.
Jeremey Rhoades (25, AAA)
This former 4th round picked was invited to Spring Training for the first time. He had a break out year in 2018 with a 1.82 ERA in Mobile and a 2.87 ERA for Salt Lake. In total he tossed 78 innings of relief with a 2.54 ERA an 1.15 WHIP.
Forrest Snow (30, AAA)
Another December free agent signing, Snow has the best name of the Non-Roster Invitees. He was last in the Rays org where he pitched to a 4.82 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over 20 starts in AAA last season. The Angels will be the 4th team that has taken Snow to Spring Training but he still hasn’t made his major league debut.
Jared Wash (AAA, 25)
Move over Shohei! Jared Walsh is coming to camp. Walsh earned his first Spring Training invite and the Angels have him listed as a position player AND pitcher. Easily, one of the most exciting players to watch in Spring Training, Walsh will be looking to expand on the 5.2 innings he tossed across 3 levels in 2018. Walsh also pitched 3 innings back in 2016. Over his 8 appearances in 2018 Walsh had a 1.59 ERA with 7 Ks allowed.
Dustin Garneau (MLB, 31)
Garneau is a depth piece for the Angels and currently their likely 3rd in line to catch at the big league level. Garneau has 88 big league games of experience but spent all but 1 game of his 2018 season at the AAA level. It’s likely we’ll see him in Anaheim at some point, barring any more catching moves by Billy Eppler.
Jack Kruger (AA, 24)
In a system surprisingly void of strong catching talent, Kruger may be the next best thing (if they don’t covert him to another position - hey it happens!). Kruger spent his first year (2016) in the system solely as a DH. However, he’s caught 174 games over the last two season with a .989 FPCT and a modest 28% career caught stealing rate.
Julian Leon (AAA, 23)
Across 3 level in 2018, Leon hit .217 with a .371 OBP - showing off some good plate discipline. He also has a career 28% caught stealing rate. Leon played only 4 games in AA last year so him making it to the big leagues in 2019 may be a stretch.
Keinner Pina (A, 21)
The youngest catcher on the list, Pina is there to help (of course), but get some looks as well. The Angels signed him out of Venezuela in 2014 and he has an impressive 42% caught stealing rate over 220 career games. Pina can also hit a little bit (.341 career OBP) but with little power and zero home runs over 965 ABs.
Roberto Pena (AAA, 26)
The Angels signed Pena as a minor league free agent just a few weeks ago. He spent much of 2018 injured and logged only 13 games all season. Pena has a career 43% caught stealing rate and is obviously a glove-first catcher considering he also has a career .281 OBP over 603 games.