Yankees Invite 19 Non-Roster Players to Spring Training

With pitchers and catchers reporting this month, the Yankees have finally unveiled their slate of non-roster players who will be in camp for 2020.

The list (in alphabetical order):

The team has brought in five catchers, two infielders, three outfielders, one utility player, two left-handed pitchers and six right-handed pitchers. It’s worth noting that the seven players the Yankees added to the 40-man roster in November (Estevan Florial, Deivi García, Luis Gil, Brooks Kriske, Luis Medina, Nick Nelson and Miguel Yajure), as well as all other 40-man roster players, are automatically invited to Spring Training.

Highlights from this group include:

  • The return of Domingo Acevedo, who went from 40-man roster addition prior to 2017 to losing that spot in 2019 in order to add Cory Gearrin on a waiver claim. Acevedo re-signed with the Yankees organization three days later (presumably after clearing waivers) but did not pitch again in 2019.
  • David Hale is back for more, signing his fifth minor-league contract with the Yankees since the beginning of 2018. Hale pitched in 48⅓ innings for the Yanks over that span (around one mop-up appearance for the Twins after a waiver claim disrupted his Yankees tenure).
  • The gathering of veteran catchers will take place in Tampa, as the youngest of the group, Kellin Deglan, will turn 28 this year while Erik Kratz (the oldest player in camp) will hit 40 this season. The addition of Wynston Sawyer makes sense given the team’s hiring of Tanner Swanson to serve as the catching coach. Sawyer spent the last two seasons in Minnesota with Swanson. Chris Iannetta seems likely to have an opt-out by the end of camp. He’s started at least 50 big-league games since 2007. Either way, he gets a June 1 opt-out automatically for his service time. Lastly, I didn’t even know Josh Thole was still an active player. He was most widely known for being R.A. Dickey‘s knuckleball personal catcher. He split time between both LA organizations in 2019, with 50 games at Triple-A and 22 at Double-A. Thole could be ticketed for Trenton.
  • A pair of righties and lefties come to camp with big-league experience aiming to provide the team with depth. Lefty Luis Avilán pitched in 45 games for the Mets in 2019, while fellow southpaw Tyler Lyons made 14 big-league appearances for the Yankees down the stretch before re-signing on a minor-league deal. Righty Dan Otero joins the organization as relief depth after making 25 appearances out of Cleveland’s bullpen (and also missing close to three months with shoulder inflammation). Nick Tropeano split time between the Angels and their Triple-A affiliate, but made just three appearances (one start) in the big leagues.
  • Two names I’m most excited to watch from this list both spent most of their time in Double-A Trenton: Chris Gittens and Clarke Schmidt. Gittens was named Eastern League MVP behind a monster campaign that featured 23 home runs and a 164 wRC+. Schmidt, ranked as the Yankees No. 5 prospect last season by MLBPipeline, pitched to a 3.47 ERA in between Rookie, High-A and Double-A.

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