Last week, we looked at Tampa Bay's non-roster invitee position players. We laughed. We cried. We learned the proper spelling of Eugenio Velez. The Rays added a few more, we'll get to them later.
This week we'll keep the good times rolling as we take a look at the pitchers reporting to Port Charlotte, starting with these four excellently spelled names.
2014 (Dodgers AA and Tigers AAA): 33 appearances, 8-3, 6.69 ERA, 1.859 WHIP, 10.26 strikeouts per nine innings, 7.14 walks per nine innings
2015 Steamer Projections: 1.53 WHIP, 4.74 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 7.97 strikeouts per nine innings, 5.11 walks per nine innings
In his eight season professional career, Jhan Marinez's calling card has been a ton of strikeouts and almost as many walks. For example, in 2011, Martinez appeared in 56 games with Miami's Double-A Jacksonville Suns, and compiled a11.48 strikeouts per nine innings to go along with 6.53 walks per nine innings. Electrifying, but frustrating.
Marinez has appeared in six games with the Marlins and White Sox, but has not pitched in the big leagues since 2012. His 3.38 ERA was respectable, but his 6.84 FIP and 1.88 WHIP suggest he was the beneficiary of some luck. Once rated as one of the top prospects in the Marlins system, the 26-year-old left-hander has spent the majority of his eight seasons in the minors.
Marinez has demonstrated exceptional ability to make batters swing and miss. If it can be harnessed in camp, in a way it has yet to be in his career, the Rays could have a significant bullpen asset.
2014: Out of baseball
2015 Steamer Projections: 1.27 WHIP, 3.55 ERA, 7.24 strikeouts per nine innings, 2.84 walks per nine innings
Teaford, who will turn 31 in May, was out of baseball in 2014. The Royals 2006 12th-round draft pick, he has spent his entire career in the Royals organization.
From 2011-2013, he appeared in 45 games for the Royals, going 3-5, recording 1 save, and posting a 4.25 ERA, 98 ERA+, 1.321 WHIP, and 5.28 FIP. Teaford's best season came in 2011, when he appeared in 26 games and posted career-bests in ERA+ (126), WHIP (1.136) , strikeouts per nine innings (5.7), and walks per nine innings (2.9).
In his brief Major League level, Teaford has been a high-baserunner (see 1.321 WHIP), low-strikeout (5.3 strikeouts per nine innings) pitcher. At Triple-A Omaha, however, he has shown flashes of effectiveness, posting a 0.97 WHIP in 16 games in 2011 and 9.35 strikeouts per innings in 31 games in 2013.
With Steamer bullish on his strikeout projections for 2015, Teaford could provide bullpen depth, splitting time between Durham and Tampa.
2014: Out of baseball
2015 Steamer Projections: 1.25 WHIP, 3.31 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 8.45 strikeouts per nine innings, 3.29 walks per nine innings.
Jordan Norberto brings major league experience than any other non-roster pitcher invited to spring training. With Arizona and Oakland from 2010-2012, Norberto appeared in 78 games, going 4-3 with 1 save, and posting a 4.00 ERA, 4.78 FIP, 101 ERA+, 1.42 WHIP, 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings, and 5.8 walks per nine innings. The left-hander has two career appearances at the Trop, retiring all nine batters he faced.
The Rays are hoping he can mimic his outstanding 2012, when he appeared in 39 games for Oakland's AL West winning squad. Noberto went 4-1, with a 2.77 ERA, 141 ERA+, 3.90 FIP, and 1.135 WHIP.
Signed as amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2004, Jordan Norberto has spent his entire career with Arizona and Oakland. In 2013, Norberto appeared in only four games for Oakland's Triple-a Sacramento River Cats. That August, he was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
Despite being out of organized baseball in 2014, Norberto's experience and 2012 production make him an enticing bullpen option heading into camp.
2014 (Montgomery and Durham): 39 appearances, 4-2, 3 saves, 1.92 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 9.58 strikeouts per nine innings
2015 Steamer Projections: 1.38 WHIP, 4.16 ERA, 4.32 FIP, 7.00 strikeouts per nine innings, 3.59 walks per nine innings
Despite being 28, Stowell has yet to appear in the big leagues. The right-hander was Cleveland's 22nd round draft in 2008 out of UC-Irvine, and he spent six seasons in their system before playing with Montgomery and Durham in 2014.
Stowell has put up great numbers at Double-A, predominantly with Cleveland's Akron Aeros: 126 appearances, compiling a 12-4 record, recording 16 saves, with a 2.17 ERA, 1.165 WHIP, and 12.01 strikeouts per nine innings. Stowell's 2014 season was among the best in his minor league career. This makes him an intriguing bullpen depth pitcher heading in to camp, despite the less than mediocre Steamer projections.
Like the position players, the non-roster invitee pitchers bring a solid mix of some big league experience and excellent minor league production. Get to know the names. Spring training is coming fast, folks. We'll cover the rest of the pitchers soon.