The Oakland A's published their non-roster invitee list unusually early according to Melissa Lockard of The Athletic. The post confirmed that many of the organization's top prospects would receive a camp invite as well as former SF Giants minor leaguer Armando Alvarez.
Oakland A's reportedly extend camp invite to 2023 SF Giants minor league infielder
The A's made the move earlier this month, but details about it were sparse before Lockard's post. However, the deal is presumably a minor league pact. The A's could be a good landing spot for the right-handed bat as they are preparing for another rebuilding season.
Oakland won just 50 games last season after trading away the prior core of players well before they hit free agency. Unfortunately, this is a standard procedure for how the A's operate.
That said, the A's had some minor successes last year in terms of adding around the margins. Ryan Noda put together a solid season, posting a .770 OPS in 495 plate appearances after being plucked away from the Los Angeles Dodgers in last year's Rule 5 draft. Similarly, Brent Rooker was an All-Star in 2023 as he registered an .817 OPS with 30 home runs after being claimed off of waivers from the Kansas City Royals last offseason.
Like Rooker and Noda, Alvarez has the pedigree for a potential late-blooming career. The 29-year-old was selected by the New York Yankees in the 16th round of the 2016 draft out of Eastern Kentucky University.
The minor league infielder made a steady ascent up the minor league ladder, generally putting up respectable numbers along the way. He reached Triple-A by the 2019 season and he has remained at that level for the past several years.
Alvarez became a free agent following the 2022 season and latched on with San Francisco, which included a camp invite. The righty bat spent much of the 2023 campaign with the Sacramento River Cats and was easily one of their best hitters. It is a minor surprise that the Giants did not give him a shot before the end of the season.
During his time with Sacramento, Alvarez posted a .308/.379/.581 line (125 wRC+) with 18 home runs, 56 RBI, and 51 runs in 298 plate appearances. This included a 10.7 percent walk rate, 15.8 percent strikeout rate, and a .273 ISO.
While the Pacific Coast League leans heavily in favor of the hitter, Alvarez's Statcast metrics such as an 88-MPH average exit velocity support his overall stat line. If he performs like he did with the Giants, he has a chance of making the A's club at some point in 2024.