CLAY ZAVADA — Photography: Rick Scuteri
Every year, teams have somewhere between 10-20 non-roster invitees at Spring Training, guys who aren’t on the team’s 40-man roster. It’s always a mix of prospects and veteran players who didn’t sign Major League contracts in the offseason. But every year, there are a handful of potential gems on the non-roster list.
Here’s the D-backs’ list of non-roster players that you’ll be watching in Spring Training (their names are clickable for statistics):
Some thoughts on a few of these guys:
Matt Gorgen — Gorgen was the player Arizona acquired from Tampa Bay in the trade that sent Chad Qualls there late last year. I’m interested in seeing Gorgen pitch and I’m really curious as to why the Rays made him available, especially when the team lost so many relief pitchers to free agency this year. He’s got pretty excellent minor league numbers and according to Jerry DiPoto, as Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro mentioned back in September, Gorgen has good stuff as well. If you’re looking to find an interesting sleeper to emerge out of the non-roster invitee group, Gorgen could definitely be your guy.
Jarrod Parker — Like pretty much everybody else, I’m anxious to see how Parker looks in Spring Training. When last we saw him pitch, he was fresh off throwing some really impressive heat in the 2009 Futures Game, but an elbow injury shut him down for the 2010 season. He gave updates on Twitter throughout the year on his conditioning. When Parker is on, he’s darn-near unhittable but the organization is going to be patient with him after major surgery.
Clay Zavada — Elbow surgery also cost Clay Zavada his 2010 season, so one of the bright spots of the 2009 D-backs is going to work toward getting back in the big leagues this year. You won’t meet many ballplayers that are nicer than Zavada, so I would imagine there are going to be a lot of fans pulling for him to succeed this spring.
Chris Owings — Of the D-backs’ highly picked high school draftees in 2009 (Bobby Borchering, Matt Davidson, Chris Owings), this shortstop out of South Carolina has been the most consistent both at the plate and in the field. A foot injury robbed Owings of about two-thirds of his season last year, but he was playing quite well before he went down. Considering the depth the team added this year with Melvin Mora, Geoff Blum and Willie Bloomquist, there are a lot of infielders in camp. There aren’t that many Spring Training at bats to go around, so Owings’ stay on the big league side might not last very long.
Marc Krauss — Along with teammate Paul Goldschmidt, Marc Krauss absolutely killed the ball in the High-A California League with Visalia last year. Krauss was then one of the few players below Double-A that get a chance to play in the Arizona Fall League. Playing for the 2010 champion Scottsdale Scorpions, Krauss was great, batting .298 with a .404 on-base percentage, with four home runs in 22 games. The guy can really hit, and I’m anxious to see what he can do against some big league pitching.
Wily Mo Pena — I’m mostly just excited to watch Wily Mo Pena take batting practice. He has massive raw power (link: check out this stunning home run he hit at Toronto’s Rogers Centre back in 2007), always has, and hit pretty well in limited duty for the Padres’ Triple-A Affiliate last year.
A.J. Pollock — With really advanced fundamental skills coming out of college, A.J. Pollock looked like he was on the fast track until he hurt his elbow going after a ball in the outfield in Spring Training last year and lost a whole season because of it. He also played in the Fall League and hit quite well for average — batted .313 with six doubles in 16 games — and hopefully his power comes along with health.
Marc Krauss – Second Round – No 64 overall
Photography: Ken Weisenberger
By Dan Strittmatter
With their second pick of the second round of the 2009 Draft, the D-backs chose outfielder Marc Krauss from Ohio University.
There were some concerns about Krauss, a sub-par defender who made a career of hitting unknown pitching in the Mid-American Conference with aluminum bats. In other words, scouts saw that Krauss would need to make his way to the majors with his bat, and that he would have to adapt quickly to more advanced pitching and still maintain his power with wood. Essentially, it’s those types of questions that differentiate a first-round pick from a second-rounder.
But Krauss was also a polished college hitter who many thought could be a quick riser if his bat translated well to professional ball. And that indeed has proven to be the case with Krauss, whose power translated immediately to professional ball after being assigned to full-season South Bend right after signing.
There, Krauss compiled an .855 OPS in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League, where the average OPS for 2009 was .702. Krauss had a .304/.377/.478 line with 12 doubles, a triple, and two homers in 115 at-bats, with a solid 21:14 K:BB ratio, and was the best hitter for the Silver Hawks down the stretch and into their playoff run.
To begin 2010, Krauss was assigned to Single-A Advanced Visalia, in the hitter-friendly California League. Krauss started the season on fire, maintaining an OPS over 1.000 well into the season, but has slumped of late, with his OPS falling down to .815. Still, it’s a respectable overall number, considering the fact that Krauss is right about league-average in terms of age, where he was a month ago, and that the current average OPS is .749.
Because of the slump, Krauss has fallen behind teammates Paul Goldschmidt and Kyle Greene for the team’s OPS lead. However, Krauss’ 45:23 K:BB ratio is still solid, and he has 18 extra-base hits on the season amongst 54 hits overall, so he certainly is still producing for the Rawhide.
If he can regain his powerful stroke at the plate, he could continue his quick ascension through the system, possibly filling a hole in left field on the Major League club in a few years.