I got a Spring Training invite. You can decide whether that Mathers to you or not. - Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
This is probably not the last of the Non-Roster Invitees.
More Non-Roster Invitees for the Phillies. There are more recognizable names for prospect followers here than the previous list of (mostly) journeymen featured. So let's look at who's going to big boy camp in Clearwater:
- Cody Asche - Third baseman of the future? It's too early to saddle the kid with having to live up to the legend of Michael Jack Schmidt, but the organization seems to like him, as he was promoted really aggressively the last 2 seasons and adjusted well to the promotions. Spring Training will be a great chance for him to work some with Schmidt on his fielding and to generally soak up the atmosphere. Chances of making the club? Probably zero barring an injury. Even then he might be behind Josh Fields.
- Justin Friend - Oh Ruben yoooouuuu, you got what I neeeed, but you say he's Justin Friend, oh you say he's Justin Friend... Friend's a right-handed reliever, relatively young (26) and is probably going to camp mostly for depth (hey, somebody needs to pitch the 6th inning in early split squad games). You won't see Friend on prospect rankings, but you never really saw Stutes on any either. He has good K and BB rates and if the Phillies get an injury bug in the pen, he's certainly capable of coming up and pitching in a low-leverage relief role. A less than 30% chance of breaking camp with the big club. Crazier things have happened.
- Tommy Joseph - Hey, welcome to the system. We'd like to take a closer look, maybe work on your approach or swing a little, spend a few hours working on technique for blocking balls in the dirt. Plus, we've got, like, 80 Pitchers here so another Catcher is always nice to have. Zero chance of breaking camp with the club, even if injuries wipe out the top 3 Catchers.
- Joe Mather - He's an Outfielder capable of playing Center and 3rd (both fairly poorly). He's also capable of cover First, Left and Right. He's been a terrible Major League hitter, but has had some success in the high minors. Maybe you catch lightning in a bottle, more likely you catch lightning bugs in Allentown. Given the current glut of poor fielding outfielders with questionable bats, I don't think Mather stands much of a chance of going to Philly in April..
- Adam Morgan - The young Lefty starter really turned heads this past year. You could make a reasonable argument for him to be the #1 prospect in the Phillies system and he may be ready for Philly by this time next year. Not yet though. This is more likely a reward for a great 2012 season and a chance to work with the kid on his Changeup. If Doc can't pitch Tyler Cloyd will start the year in Philly's rotation. If Doc is out and Lannan is awful, Cloyd and Jon Pettibone start in Philly. In other words, barring catastrophe, Morgan is going to Reading in a few months.
- Kyle Simon - Kyle Simon was really, really good in relief after coming over in the Thome trade last summer. He's in the picture and stands an outside chance of breaking camp with the team, but the bullpen is crowded, so it's a slim chance. Simon and his Ron Burgundy mustache are probably off to Reading or Allentown. I would not be in the least surprised to see him up at some point in 2013 though.
So that's 6 more guys coming to Spring Training and I'll say that the original list of NRI's had more guys who might break camp with the team, but this list probably has the guys who will be more important long term. Expect at least one more round of these to be announced with, at least, one more Catcher, in the next 3 weeks.