Angels announce non-roster invitees for Spring Training

Pitchers and catchers report in under a week and you can almost feel the swings and misses they will generate – especially if they get to face Albert Pujols, Max Stassi, or Justin Upton in simulations. On Friday, the Angels announced 19 total non-roster invitees.

The Stars

Brandon Marsh and Jo Adell were a given to have big league camp invites. Adell could see time with the big league club early in 2020 and Marsh may not be far behind (perhaps later in 2020). Both players saw significant playing time last spring (11 and 13 games) and are likely poised to see significant at bats this time around.

Starting Pitchers

Matt Ball – Give the ball to ball? Yes. This dude has one of the better names in the system, does he not?? Ball has been in the system since December 2017 and you probably haven’t head of him until now. He’s a below the radar guy with a slim shot at making the opening day roster.

Adrian De Horta – Signed as a minor league free agent two years ago, De Horta tossed 2 innings for the Angels last spring.

Jake Thompson – With a 116 big league innings under his belt, Eppler snagged him as a hot commodity (read: free agent) this past December.

Luiz Gohara – Also recently signed as a free agent (in September), Gohara has 49 major league innings to boast about (or not: 5.33 career ERA).

Relief Pitchers

Neil Ramirez – Signed by the Angels as a free agent in November. In the big leagues, Ramirez has pitched for the Cubs, Brewers, Twins, Indians, and Blue Jays. He has shown flashes of greatness at times if you are living in 2014.

Hoby Milner – Also signed as a free agent in November. Geesh. How many times can I say the same thing? That’s all I got other than his name is kinda cool.

Jacob Barnes – Decent big league pedigree with a 4.25 ERA over parts of 4 seasons. If you don’t include 2019, Barnes has tossed 149 big league innings with a 3.50 ERA

José Rodriguez – One of the few homegrown pitchers with a Spring Training invite.

Catchers

José Briceño – Oldest of the backstop bunch. We’ve already seen him in Anaheim.

Jack Kruger – Up and comer who played in AA last year. Decent bat. Went 6 for 18 last spring.

Keinner Pina – Just 22 years old – youngest catcher on this list.

Franklin Torres – Solid hitter who played more games in the infield than at catcher last season.

Harrison Wenson – 24th round draft pick by the Angels in 2017. His first spring training stint.

Infielders

Arismendy Alcantara – Second baseman signed as a free agent in November.

José Rojas – Tore up spring in 2019 going 14 for 24 with 2 home runs and 6 doubles.

Elliot Soto – Shortstop signed as a free agent in November.

Outfielders

Brennon Lund – His skills are speed and getting on base (career .357 in 380 minor league games).

Notably Absent?

Outfielder turned infielder Jahmai Jones made the cut the last few years but is not on the 2020 list. Perhaps due to Jones’ recent struggles, the Angels may want him to focus more on specific improvements outside of the big league camp. Anyone else you think is missing? Comment below!

27 Comments
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Kirillov
3 years ago

I think Jake Thompson is gonna stick. Got a good feeling about him.

halofolife
Member
3 years ago

Where’s Roberto Boldoquin?

benjiface
Trusted Member
3 years ago

Hope that José Rojas gets a shot in Anaheim if he hits like he did last year. I was disappointed he didn’t get a September call-up

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  benjiface

Same. Dude earned it. I know they wanted to see more of the high draft pick Thaiss, but sometimes a guy’s effort just needs to be rewarded and respected. Even if he only got into a handful of games he would have fulfilled his lifelong dream of being a big league player.

jco
Trusted Member
jco
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

I agree that he earned it. My guess is that he didn’t get a call-up for 40 man roster offseason decisions. If they had put him on the roster, they would have needed to keep him on it over the offseason or send him through waivers (where he probably would have been claimed). Thaiss was already on the 40 man. They already had a bunch of 40 man decisions to make and probably didn’t want to have to deal with one fewer slot.

jco
Trusted Member
jco
3 years ago
Reply to  jco

If my very cursory internet research is correct, the Angels had a full 40 man roster in September and a few players they needed to add that offseason from the 60 day IL. The only non-40 man player they called up was Mejia (who they obviously didn’t mind losing).

HalosFanForLife
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  benjiface

Totally agreed. I think this is where most teams just always seem to lean. Their attachment to the money invested rather than seeing it for what it was – a signing bonus where they thought the player was likely to make it. Of course, you give that big bonus guy more chances in Rookie and A ball – but then let the best players rise.

GeoKaplan8
Trusted Member
3 years ago

I should point out 2020 is the 53rd year in a row that I have not received a non-roster invite to ST.

The Angels need to get this fixed by next year. I won’t be in the peak physical health for all that much longer.

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago
Reply to  GeoKaplan8

If Pujols can do it at your age, why not you?

halofolife
Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

Well played Mauer

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Legend
3 years ago

Lund and Jones were two of the first interviews I did. Would really like to see them succeed because they are both great people. I’ve met up with Lund each of the last three years in AZ and he’s always super nice to my family and kids in the area.

Jim Atkins
Super Member
3 years ago

Other than Marsh and Adell this seems kind of underwhelming. Here’s hoping for a breakout spring for somebody.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Jim Atkins

On the flip side, non-roster invitees are usually under whelming. Top prospects with more years than MarDell are usually on the 40 man. Goodish MLB players get MLB contracts and 40 man spots. Non-roster invites are always either prospects you don’t have to have on the roster yet but want a look at or scrap you want to see so you can determine if they should get a 40 man spot that other scrap is holding. This list should be a bunch of scrub names, and most of it will go away by mid- March.

GotToPayTheTrollToll
Newbie
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Atkins

I’m actually really excited to see Luiz Gohara pitch because he actually has some major upside. In 2017/2018, there were plenty of people who were calling him a future #2/3 starter and he was considered a top 50 prospect in the game by most publications. But then his mother passed away and he dealt with some shoulder problems. Before all that, we were looking at a left-handed starter in his early 20’s throwing a mid to upper 90’s fastball with an awesome slider and above average changeup. If he can get somewhat back to where he was a year or two ago, he might turn out to be an excellent, young addition to our team.

UnrealisticOptimist
Trusted Member
3 years ago

Let’s hope C Jack Kruger does well.
BTW: Good job with the site Jess!

Streaker_on_CF_Rocks
3 years ago

I am also really high on him too! Rooting for him and I don’t know why… I read one paragraph about him while he was drafted and have never seen him play or know what he even looks like but by golly I’m hoping he thrives!

ryanfea
Super Member
3 years ago

Jahmai Jones is on the 40 man roster now so I believe the invite is implied.

Charles Sutton
Editor
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  ryanfea

I guess you can’t be a non-roster invitee if you’re on the roster. We have other guys on the 40 man, like Parker Markle, that we still need to see what they can do; i.e. see if they need to be cut before the regular season.

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago

Could Jahmai Jones be the prospect going back to the Dodgers?

Other than that, looks like a solid group of guys to watch.

Just pray for health.

cookmeister
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

I’d be ok with that. Never really been a Jones fan unfortunately. If that’s all we need to add in, I’m in

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago
Reply to  cookmeister

Just thought it could explain him being left off the invite list.

GotToPayTheTrollToll
Newbie
3 years ago
Reply to  cookmeister

I totally understand why you’d say that, but it’s worth pointing out that some of Jones’ struggles are likely because of the Angels coaches tinkering with his swing. The coaches altered his swing last year in an attempt to get him to lift more balls in the air, and it really didn’t work for him. After he struggled for the first half of the year, they had him reposition his hands and hips in his swing, and he went on to hit over .300 over his last 50 games, as well as over .300 in 16 Arizona Fall League games. So his outlook is definitely a little less rosy than it was a year or two ago, but there are definitely still some reasons for optimism.

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

This list was announced prior to the trade so I doubt that was the reason Jones was left off.

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Shit. Well, never mind. Though, I suppose discussions could have been ongoing when the list was published.

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

Ryanfea nailed it. Jones is on the 40 man, so he was already invited.

GeoKaplan8
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

I think his stock has fallen so low that a NRI is the least of his concerns. By all reports a really good kid and has all the requisite athletic talent, and maybe the team jerked him around by teaching him different spots on the diamond, instead of focusing on one position.

He will be 22 in AA if that is where he is assigned this year, so an age-appropriate level, but looking at him in AA last year, 50 BB and 109 strikeouts in 544 PA, 9-for-20 SB, OBP of .308–none of that is going to score you a golden ticket to Billy Wonka’s Spring Training.