On Wednesday, the Colorado Rockies announced 21 non-roster invitees who will be invited to major league spring training. They include a number of minor league signings and prospects who are not a part of the 40-man roster.
This year’s group includes:
- Left-handed pitchers (2): Tim Collins, Ryan Rolison
- Right-handed pitchers (7): Tommy Doyle, Joe Harvey, Julian Fernandez, Alexander Guillen, Ubaldo Jiménez, Tim Melville, Wes Parsons
- Catchers (4): Drew Butera, Elias Díaz, Chris Rabago, Brian Serven
- Infielders (7): Bret Boswell, Brian Mundell, Chris Owings, Eric Stamets, Alan Trejo, Ryan Vilade, Colton Welker
- Outfielder (1): Mike Gerber
A few of these players rank among the top prospects in the Rockies’ organization. According to MLB.com’s 2019 rankings (the list for 2020 hasn’t been released yet), these include Rolison (No. 2), Welker (No. 3), Vilade (No. 6) and Doyle (No. 21).
Butera, Harvey, Melville and Parsons all played for the Rockies in 2019. Butera became a free agent and re-signed with the Rockies on a minor league deal, while the remaining three names were outrighted off the 40-man roster.
Five players received major league playing time for other organizations in 2019:
- Collins, 30, pitched to a 3.12 ERA for the Chicago Cubs in 2019, albeit in only 8 2⁄3 innings.
- Díaz produced a batting line of .241/.296/.307 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, with a 73 DRC+ and -0.4 WARP. The 29-year-old was non-tendered by the Pirates at the deadline. While he has ranked as a poor defensive backstop, he batted .307/.333/.448 against left-handed pitching in a 172 plate appearance stretch from 2018-19.
- Gerber, 27, batted .042/.115/.083 in a small sample of 26 plate appearances for the San Francisco Giants.
- Owings, 28, is a versatile defender who split time between the Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals in 2019. In 66 games and 196 plate appearances, he hit only .139/.209/.233, with a DRC+ of 33 (the worst mark among any player with as many plate appearances) and a WARP of -1.0.
- Stamets, 28, played in 15 games for the Cleveland Indians, hitting .049/.149/.073.
A name that will undoubtedly stick out to Rockies fans is Ubaldo Jiménez, who pitched for the Rox from 2006-11. In 221 2⁄3 innings in 2010, Jiménez pitched to a 2.88 ERA, the third-best mark in Rockies’ history (after Kyle Freeland’s 2.85 ERA in 2018 and Marvin Freeman’s 1994 ERA of 2.80). Jiménez also represented the Rockies at the All-Star Game in 2010 and pitched the only no-hitter in club history.
Jiménez didn’t pitch in the big leagues in any capacity from 2018-19, but the 36-year-old will get looks in big league spring training camp in 2020.
Prior to the Rule 5 draft in November, the Rockies added Ben Bowden, Ashton Goudeau, Antonio Santos and Tyler Nevin to the 40-man roster, so they will be in major league camp during spring training as well.
The Rockies have one open spot on their 40-man roster at the moment that could go to one of the non-roster invitees if they end up making the team out of spring training.
With less than a week to go before pitchers and catchers report to big league camp, here is the Rockies’ official announcement of this spring’s NRI’s: