With spring training drawing ever closer, the San Francisco Giants announced some of their non-roster invitees earlier this week.
The San Francisco Giants cast a wide net last offseason in search of low-cost veteran additions to the roster, and they wound up hitting on a few as Stephen Vogt and Donovan Solano both emerged as key contributors after entering spring training as non-roster invitees.
Who will emerge to make a surprise impact this time around?
It’s too soon to tell, but we at least know a few of the candidates who will be in the running after the team announced which players not on the 40-man roster have been extended an invite to MLB camp earlier:
There are a few notable takeaways from that announcement.
First and foremost, the name that should immediately jump out are catcher Joey Bart and right-hander Sean Hjelle.
The team’s top two picks in the 2018 draft, they rank as the No. 1 and No. 14 prospects in the farm system, respectively, according to FanGraphs.
Bart, 23, posted an .824 OPS in 79 games between High-A and Double-A during an injury-marred regular season, then ranked to the tune of a .333/.524/.767 line with four home runs and 10 RBI in 10 games in the Arizona Fall League before he was sidelined again.
Hjelle, 22, pitched to a 3.32 ERA with 139 strikeouts in 143.2 innings over three minor league levels, closing out the season with five rocky starts at Double-A.
While both players got their feet wet in the upper levels of the minors last season, further development is needed in both cases, so their invite to MLB camp is more about the experience they will gain than any indication they might have a shot at cracking the Opening Day roster.
Notably absent from the list of non-roster invitees is fellow top prospect Heliot Ramos, who also finished the season at Double-A, but is still just 20 years old.
The other major takeaway from the non-roster announcement was the inclusion of outfielder Joey Rickard and pitchers Sam Moll and Matt Carasiti. As Jeff Todd of MLBTradeRumors pointed out, their signings had not previously been public knowledge.
Rickard, 28, was non-tendered at the start of the offseason after joining the Giants in a June waiver claim. He hit .280/.333/.380 for a 91 OPS+ in 54 plate appearances in San Francisco last year and has been worth 1.2 WAR over the course of his 343 games at the MLB level.
Moll, 28, also spent the 2019 season in the Giants organization, posting a 2.39 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 23 walks in 49 innings over 41 relief appearances between Double-A and Triple-A. The left-hander saw his only MLB action during the 2017 season with the Oakland Athletics.
Carasiti, 28, split the bulk of the 2019 season between the Triple-A affiliates of the Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners, while also seeing 9.2 innings of action in Seattle. He has made 83 career appearances at the Triple-A level and will provide some experienced depth.
Will any of this year’s non-roster players emerge as legitimate MLB contributors for the Giants? We shall see.