While baseball remains in a lockout, teams can still sign players to minor league deals with camp invites. The detail regarding camp invites has not been consistently reported, but the SF Giants have handed out at least two to non-roster players.
SF Giants: Non-roster players who have received camp invites
According to Fangraphs, middle infielder Alex Blandino and pitcher Gray Fenter are expected to be in major league camp once spring training gets going. The Giants have signed a handful of players since the lockout began, so there could be others, but these two have been confirmed at the very least.
Blandino was a first round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2014 out of Stanford University, and he will compete with middle infielders such as Mauricio Dubón, Thairo Estrada, and Jason Vosler for a chance to crack the Opening Day roster. More than likely, the Giants hope that he can serve as depth in Triple-A, especially considering that he is a local product.
In parts of three seasons with the Reds, the right-handed bat has slashed .226/.339/.291 (68 OPS+) with an 11.1 percent walk rate against a 29.8 percent strikeout rate. As is common with many position players coming out of Stanford, Blandino struggles to consistently get lift on his swing but he has made an effort to improve.
In a very small sample of 82 plate appearances in 2021, the 29-year-old infielder posted his lowest ground ball rate (36.6 percent) since he debuted with the Reds back in 2018. This is usually an indicator of a mechanical tweak, and the topline results do not always follow immediately.
Unlike Blandino, Gray Fenter has yet to appear on a major league mound, reaching as high as Double-A in 2021. The Baltimore Orioles selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 draft out of West Memphis High School in West Memphis, Arkansas.
At the time of the draft, the right-handed hurler had committed to play college baseball at Mississippi State University, so the Orioles enticed him with a $1 million signing bonus to forgo that commitment.
Fenter underwent Tommy John surgery in the midst of his first professional season in 2015, knocking him out for the entire 2016 season as well. Of course, the 2020 minor league season was cancelled as well, so Fenter has missed substantial development time.
In total, he has recorded a 3.78 ERA across five minor league seasons, totaling just 307.1 innings pitched. This includes a 2021 campaign in which he posted a 5.47 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, and a 1.79 SO/W ratio across 77.1 frames for the Orioles' Double-A affiliate.
The young righty has registered over a strikeout per inning (10.3 K/9) since being drafted by Baltimore. He flashes a fastball that sits in the low-90's with a good curveball and a changeup that grades as below-average, so a move to the bullpen would make sense.
Nevertheless, he and Alex Blandino will be a couple of the many non-roster invitees who will be vying for a shot to make the Opening Day roster. For now, they are the only two names who have been confirmed.