Phillies announced their first round of non-roster invitees to Spring Training next month. You’ll recognize some familiar names and some you might not! Let’s break them down...
The Phillies have invited the following 15 players to attend major league spring training as non-roster invitees: pic.twitter.com/aQPdVauwsY— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) January 18, 2024
Pitchers - Mick Abel, Ryan Burr, Griff McGarry, Tyler McKay, Tyler Phillips, Jose Ruiz, Nick Snyder
Not a lefty to be found among this group. Most notable names include top prospects Mick Abel and Griff McGarry. Abel more or less stagnated a bit in 2023, but still remains one of the best RHP prospects in the minors. The stuff has never been a question, but if he can harness it. 126 strikeouts in 108.2 innings in AA is great! The 62 walks and 15 homeruns were not however. Abel was young for the league, so he likely repeats it to start 2024. A prospect who took a huge tumble last season was Griff McGarry. 50 walks in 60 innings as a starter won’t allow you to succeed at AA, let alone the majors. McGarry may be destined for a reliever role if the wheels continue to come off.
Ryan Burr is a 29 year old former White Sox prospect who spent all of 2023 in AAA before being released. Tyler McKay is a 26 year old Phillies 16th round pick out of the 2018 draft, who struggled with free-passes when promoted to AAA and is strictly a reliever. Tyler Phillips, a starter, is 26 and will likely repeat AAA where he struggled as well. Jose Ruiz, a journeyman reliever, was dreadful in 2023 with the White Sox and Diamondbacks. Lastly, Nick Snyder, who I can’t for the life of me figure out why he was signed as a minor league free agent.
Catchers - Aramis Garcia, Cody Roberts, William Simoneit
Garcia, a back-up catcher at various stops on the major league level, spent all of 2023 in the Phillies org where he hit fairly well at AAA. Cody Roberts spent all of 2023 with Reading to not great results at the plate. William Simoneit is a 27 year old who spent time recently in the Oakland system to varying degrees of success. These are all just simply bodies so they don’t overwork guys like Realmuto, Stubbs and Marchan.
Infielders - Scott Kingery, Nick Podkul
Kingery is back! After getting granted free agency this fall, he will be back in a Phillies uniform to convince them he can be a viable call-up option. Or maybe they just want to let him play with his friends, who knows. Nick Podkul is a 26 year old 1B/3B who hit pretty well at AA last season with Reading. He may be someone to keep an eye on.
Outfielders - Carlos De La Cruz, Matt Kroon, Cal Stevenson
Everyone’s favorite nearly 7 foot prospect giant, Carlos De La Cruz, will need to put on a showcase to make the Phillies. He avoided getting picked in the Rule 5 draft after swatting 25 HRs in Reading and slashing .259/.344/.454. De La Cruz also struck out 160 times in 509 at-bats. Matt Kroon is somewhat of a prospect darling in that he is a late-bloomer (27 yo) and has dealt with injuries. He has hit the ball well when healthy in 2023 and can play nearly anywhere (LF, CF, RF, 1B, 3B). You should figure to see a lot of Kroon in ST. Lastly, Cal Stevenson is a 27 year old who has always hit well at AAA, but has never been able to translate it at the MLB level. He could be battling for a spot on the Lehigh Valley roster.