As usual, this post is a little bit late, but I wanted to briefly touch upon the Giants’ 22 non-roster invitees for the 2011 Spring Training Camp.
From the press release via SFGiants.com:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The San Francisco Giants have extended non-roster invitations for Major League Spring Training to the following 22 players, club Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Sabean announced today: right-handed pitchers Casey Daigle, Waldis Joaquin, Shane Loux, Guillermo Mota, Felix Romero, Jason Stoffel and Ryan Vogelsong; left-handed pitchers Wilmin Rodriguez, Ryan Verdugo and Matt Yourkin; catchers Tommy Joseph, Hector Sanchez, Chris Stewart and Jackson Williams; infielders Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Charles Culberson, Brad Eldred and Nick Noonan; and outfielders Gary Brown, Terry Evans and Juan Perez.
RHP Casey Daigle, 30-years-old: Daigle was drafted in the 1st round (31st overall) in the 1999 Player Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks and… that’s been about it. His body of work in the minors isn’t that inspiring. He was a starter at one point but he’s been a reliever primarily since 2005 — although he did start 16 games for the Tucson Sidewinders in 2007.
RHP Waldis Joaquin, 24-years-old: Waldis has a had a strange last couple of months. He pitched in the Giants’ minor league system from 2005-2010 as a hard-throwing reliever. However, the Giants released Waldis this past November and he was claimed by the White Sox. He then refused the White Sox claim, opting to become a free agent instead. The Giants re-signed him to a minor league contract in December. Joaquin has shown amazing velocity out of the bullpen in his career — working his fastball into the upper-90s — but his K-rate in the minors (8.7 K/9, 243.2 IP) hasn’t been exceptional. He’s an interesting power arm to stash away in AAA.
RHP Shane Loux, 31-years-old: The most interesting thing I can say about Loux as a major league pitcher is that he doesn’t strike out anyone. In 118.2 career major league innings, Loux has struck out just 38 batters. That’s a 2.9 career K/9 in the majors. Yikes. His control appears to be good, but he seems ultra-hittable. He gave up 84 hits in 2009 when he pitched 58.1 innings for the Angels. His pitch data (courtesy of PitchF/X) from 2009 suggests that he primarily throws a 90mph 2-seam fastball about 73% of the time. He might want to develop an eephus pitch or perhaps a knuckleball.
RHP Guillermo Mota, 37-years-old: It’s kind of hard to believe that Mota couldn’t find a major league deal on this year’s FA market. Relievers seemed to be flying off the shelves and Mota would have most likely been a reasonable 1-year sign for any team looking for a little bullpen depth. Mota ends up back on the Giants as a NRI. It seems unlikely that he’ll break camp with the team, but he should be first in line to replace any struggling or injured relievers. He still throws a low-to-mid 90s fastball and that should make him useful enough to absorb some innings along the way.
RHP Felix Romero, 31-years-old: Romero has pitched as a reliever for most of his minor league career, but he did start 14 games last season for the Richmond Squirrels. Romero has posted some very nice K/9 rates in his minor league career. More recently his K-rates have been a little less impressive. He posted a K/9 of 8.4 in 2009 with the Grizzlies. He saw his K-rate drop to 6.6 per 9 while pitching in AA for most of 2010.
RHP Jason Stoffel, 22-years-old: Stoffel was picked up in the 4th round (117th overall) in the 2009 draft. He pitched the entire 2010 season in San Jose. The results were mixed, if not slightly encouraging. Pre-draft Stoffel profiled as a closer that could dominate with a mid-90′s fastball and a ‘hammer’ curve. However, Stoffel saw his stuff regress in his final year in college and fell to the Giants in the 4th round. Stoffel missed bats in San Jose (50.2 IP, 66 K, 11.7 K/9) but his walk-rate (4.3) was disappointing. It’s hard to say how well Stoffel will do next year. If his ‘stuff’ is back, there’s a chance he could be a nice find for the Giants in the 4th round.
RHP Ryan Vogelsong, 33-years-old: The Giants originally drafted Vogelsong in the 5th round (158th overall) of the 1998 Player Draft. He was the 2nd player — along with Armando Rios — in the infamous Jason Schmidt trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006.
LHP Wilmin Rodriguez, 26-years-old: Wilmin Rodgriguez has pitched in the Giants system for the past 5 years (2006-10). I really can’t find much on him. He split his 2010 between Augusta (28.1 IP) and Richmond (25.2 IP).
LHP Ryan Verdugo, 24-years-0ld: He’s missed a lot of bats in his minor league career (13.3 K/9) but he’s also had trouble throwing strikes (4.7 BB/9). Those numbers remind me a little bit of Dan Runzler, though, I don’t think Verdugo possesses the same raw stuff that Runzler has. He probably won’t blow out his knees by swinging a bat, so he’s got that going for him.
LHP Matt Yourkin, 29-years-old: Hey, it’s Matt Yourkin! He was a starter in Fresno in 2010 and I guess he did OK, but he’s not the type of pitcher you’ll ever want to see pitching for the major league squad. If so, things have gone horribly wrong.
Because I’m lazy, and I need to get back to working on more important things other than NRIs, I’m going to skip most of the position players. We know who most of them are anyways. Tommy Joseph, Hector Sanchez, Brandon Crawford, and Charlie Culberson have already been covered in the Top Prospect List ranking (last part coming soon!) so you can scroll down to read more on them if you want. Brad Eldred has hit a ton of home runs (204 career) in the minors, but power is really his only skill. His nickname is “Big Country”, I’m not kidding, so that’s kind of neat.
In a little over a month, the Giants will start Spring Training on February 25th against the Arizona Diamondbacks.