With spring training a little more than a month away, the Detroit Tigers have announced the non-roster invitees who will join the team in major league camp. Several names are quite familiar, having spent time with the big club over the past few seasons.
The 16 players invited to major league camp include:
Right-handed pitchers: Jhan Marinez, Luis Marte, Eduardo Sanchez, Drew VerHagen
Left-handed pitchers: Duane Below, Blaine Hardy, Robbie Ray
Catchers: Craig Albernaz, Luis Exposito, James McCann, John Murrian
Infielders: Devon Travis, Danny Worth
Outfielders: Ezequiel Carrera, Tyler Collins, Trevor Crowe
Young left-hander Robbie Ray, the Tigers' centerpiece of the Doug Fister trade, will watched closely by the fan base this spring. The team obviously expects big things from Ray, who hopes to be in the big league rotation within the next couple of seasons.
Of the other non-roster invitees, a few stand out for either their past time with the big club or their potential.
Below appeared in 41 games, including three starts, for the Tigers in 2011-12. After being released by the organization last spring, Below his 2013 in the Marlins organization. The Tigers re-signed Below as a minor league free agent this past December.
Marte and Worth have big league experience with the Tigers, but were designated for assignment in December. Both went unclaimed and were assigned to Triple-A Toledo. They are camp roster filler at this point of their careers.
At 23 years of age, McCann is one of the Tigers' top catching prospects. He hit .277/.328/.404 with eight home runs and 54 RBIs in 119 games for Double-A Erie. He played in the 2013 Futures Game.
The 22-year-old Travis is a second baseman who split his 2013 between Single-A West Michigan and Lakeland. All he does is hit the cover off the ball. In 504 at bats combined at the two levels of Single-A, Travis hit a remarkable .351/.418/.518 with 16 home runs and 76 RBIs. He was also one of the Tigers' representatives in the AFL this past season.
Of the outfielders, the 23-year-old Collins has made an big impression on the Tigers last spring. The 2011 sixth round draft pick stood out in spring training last season with an impressive stat line of 323/.353/.613 in 31 at bats. Collins spent all of 2013 at Double-A Erie, hitting .240/.323/.438 with 21 home runs and 79 RBIs in 129 games.
Pitchers and catchers report on Friday, February 14, with the first full squad workout scheduled for Tuesday, February 18,