Detroit Tigers non-roster invitees: the catchers

Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Yesterday, we previewed the non-roster invitee pitchers. Today, on the day that pitchers and catchers report to Lakeland, we look at the non-roster catchers in camp.

In 2013, the Tigers carried four catchers on the 40 man roster. Alex Avila, Brayan Pena, Bryan Holaday, and Ramon Cabrera made a larger than usual contingent of catchers on the roster. With Pena leaving as a free agent, the other three remain on the roster. John McGeehan profiled Cabrera here.

None of these catchers figure to be added to the major league roster by Opening Day. They are there to help all the pitchers get their work in. The Tigers have three catchers on the major league roster, and two of those will be on the Opening Day roster.

The four non roster catchers in camp are:

James McCann

McCann, a second round draft choice from the 2011 draft out of the University of Arkansas, is the highest rated catching prospect in the organization. After a slow start at the plate after signing with the Tigers, McCann had a decent season in 2013, batting .277/.328/.404 with eight home runs and 54 RBI at Double-A Erie. Jordan will have a full scouting report on McCann near the top of the list of Tiger prospects.

John Murrian

Murrian is a 25 year old right-hander drafted in the ninth round in 2009 by the Tigers. He spent most of 2013 in Lakeland, where he hit just .190/.283/.316. He won’t be found on any list of top prospects. As soon as some pitchers are sent back to minor league camp, Murrian will be going with them.

Luis Exposito

Exposito is a minor league veteran of eight seasons who actually made it to the majors for nine games with the Baltimore Orioles in 2012. At age 27, the former 31st round pick of the Boston Red Sox provides organizational depth. He was picked up off waivers by the Orioles in 2012 and briefly saw action in the major leagues, appearing in nine games, six starts for a total of 57 innings. He was ahead of recently suspended Tiger catcher Ronny Paulino at Triple-A Norfolk when Baltimore let Paulino go last season. Across eight minor league seasons, he hit .264/.320/.412.

Craig Albernaz

Albernaz is a 31 year old minor league veteran of eight seasons who has spent his pro career in the Tampa Bay Rays' system. The Tigers signed him as a minor league free agent in the offseason. He holds a career batting line of .204/.286/.264 in 985 plate appearances. He is another light-hitting catcher who is in camp to work with pitchers, and he hopes to catch on somewhere in the minor league system with the Tigers.

McCann is the only real player of interest on this list. He should immediately be ahead of every other catcher in the organization other than Avila, and possibly Holaday. He figures to move up to Toledo this season, and one of the other three will probably be his backup. Ronny Paulino was expected to be the backup at Toledo, but he has just been handed a 100 game suspension for testosterone use.

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