The Giants announced their list of 18 non-roster invitees that will be attending spring training. Who will be this year’s Alen Hanson, Andrew Suárez, or Dereck Rodríguez?
· RHP Shaun Anderson
· RHP Jamie Callahan
· RHP Enderson Franco
· RHP Kieran Lovegrove
· LHP Conner Menez
· RHP Carlos Navas
· RHP Keyvius Sampson
· LHP Garrett Williams
· RHP Sam Wolff
· Joey Bart
· Hamlet Marte
· Cameron Rupp
· Zachary Green
· Ryan Howard
· Levi Michael
· Donovan Solano
· Anthony Garcia
· Henry Ramos
One of the two big names on this list is Shaun Anderson. With the additions of Derek Holland and Drew Pomeranz, Anderson’s chances of making the big-league rotation on Opening Day have dropped precipitously, and they weren’t that high before. Anderson struggled a bit in triple-A last year. His command remained solid, but his ability to miss bats took a dive. He struck out just 34 batters in 47 1/3 innings.
Anderson is the Giants third-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline and the fourth-best according to the Willie McCovey Memorial Community prospect list. Still, we’ll get to see what he can do against a collection of major league hitters, minor league free agents, and prospects like himself.
The other big name is Joey Bart. Bart is unquestionably the Giants’ best prospect. Baseball Prospectus put Bart at 41 on their top-101 list, and Baseball America has him as high as 29. Bart, though, hasn’t played a game above low-A. It’s not totally unusual for a team to extend an invite to a player with such little professional experience; the White Sox are inviting Nick Madrigal to spring training as well.
While the chances of seeing Bart in San Francisco this year are basically zero, we will still get to see him mash dingers in Scottsdale. For that, we can be thankful.
Joining Bart is Cameron Rupp. We knew that Rupp signed to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training. His most recent stint in the majors came with the Phillies in 2017 when he hit .217/.299/.417 over 331 plate appearances. Say, that’s a higher OBP than Nick Hundley had the last two years. Rupp is currently the favorite for the emergency catcher role, and depending on how Aramís García performs, he could slide into the backup spot this year.
Hamlet Marte is the other catcher going to Arizona. The 24-year-old spent last year in the Dodgers, so he must have made an impression on Farhan Zaidi. Marte had spent the previous seven years with the Rockies. The highest level Marte has reached is double-AA, and he’s only appeared in two games at that level.
Another name to watch is Ryan Howard. Howard most recently finished a full year at Richmond where he hit a respectable .273/.336/.396 and he walked nearly as often as he struck out. He’s drawn at least one comparison to Matt Duffy, and that’s enough for me to set my expectations unreasonably high.
Jamie Callahan and Keyvius Sampson are the two pitchers with previous big-league experience. Callahan has a fastball that goes between 94-97, but he lacks a strong secondary pitch. He’s profiled to be a middle-reliever.
Sampson has the raw stuff to be a late-inning guy, but he has serious command issues. Sampson spent last year in the KBO where he started 29 games. In 161 2/3 innings, he struck out 195 but he walked 79 and threw 18 wild pitches.
At least one of these players will defy expectations this year. The Giants DFA’d the next Max Muncy yesterday, so one of these guys must take his place.