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Friday, January 23, 2009

Non Roster Invitees II: The Position Players

Welington Castillo, Age 21, Catcher
Height: 6'0'' Weight: 200
Bats: Right Throws: Right

Castillo, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2004 (though he didn't start professional ball until 2006), is currently the best catching prospect in the Cubs farm system, and if he builds on his strong numbers at AA last year ( .298/4/24/.362/.414), as well as his defense (he threw out a respectable 30% of runners last year, he could become a valuable trade chip as long as Geovany Soto continues to make him expendable. Keep an eye on Castillo this spring, if he hits well enough to generate interest he could pay off well in the future.

Steve Clevenger, Age 22, Catcher
Height: 6'0'' Weight: 185
Bats: Left Throws: Right

Castillo's lefty hitting counterpart has hit well (.306/7/117/.371/.398) in the minors, although unlike Castillo, Clevenger struggled a bit upon promotion to AA Tennessee (.247/1/15/.314/.360). Clevenger also has less experience behind the plate, and has also played 1B and 2B in his time in the minors. As of now Castillo draws more praise for his work behind the plate and better power, but Clevenger's potential is also worth following.

Mark Johnson, Age 33, Catcher
Height: 6'0'' Weight: 200
Bats: Left Throws: Right

A failed first round draft pick of the White Sox, Johnson has a career .218/16/83/.314/.318 line in 332 major league games with the White Sox, A's, Brewes, and most recently the Cardinals, for whom he hit .294/0/2/.333./.294 in 10 games last year. He does bat left handed, however, and I suppose that makes him just as good of an option as Paul Bako.

Darwin Barney, Age 23, SS
Height: 5'10'' Weight: 175
Bats: Right Throws: Right

Barney, the 127 overall pick in the 2007 Draft, was drafted for his above average arm and range at shortstop, and few expectations were placed on his offensive output, quote "average, at best. It's tough to say he'll be an everyday player in the big leagues because of his bat." Barney's first full year in the Cubs farm system suited those expectations as he hit .262/3/51/.325/.357 (.682 OPS). Darwin projects to make the majors eventually as a utility man, so, if you're looking for the next Augie Ojeda, Darwin is a cool name.

Andres Blanco, Age 24, SS
Height: 5'10'' Weight: 190
Bats: Both Throws: Right

Blanco, a former Pirate, was a non-roster invitee to last year's Spring Training, and was the Iowa Cubs starting shortstop for most of last season, where he put up a .285/1/36/.327/.336 line. In the majors he's got a career .252/0/19/.290/.314 line, though he hasn't seen any MLB action since 2006. Have fun in Des Moines, Andres.

Luis Rivas, age 29, 2B/SS
Height: 5'11'' Weight: 175
Bats: Right Throws: Right

One of the more interesting and experienced players on this list, Rivas was the starting 2nd baseman for the Twins from 2001 to 2005, and spent last year splitting time between SS and 2B for the Pirates. His career .257/34/201/.303/.377 line is pretty mediocre, but it's better than Ronny Cedeno's, who, if the rumors are true, will be headed to San Diego for Peavy. If the Cubs then sign Rich Aurilia, as other rumors say, Luis would be sitting in Iowa as an insurance policy in case of an injury to one of the infielders. Lets just say I hope both rumors are true, and also that I never see Luis in a Cub uniform after March. If he does make an appearance, though, I guess he bring some positives...his defense at second is slightly better than average, even if his range leaves a little to be desired, and he has some speed. Not as much as he used to (31 SB's in 2001), but some. Just be thankful Dusty doesn't manage this team, or Fontenot would be in Iowa while Rivas batted lead off.

Height: 6'0" Weight: 185
Bats: Both Throws: Right

There are few things one needs to know about BOBBY SCALES. 1). BOBBY SCALES teaches little kids in the offseason, because the man's a god damn philanthropist, and he has wisdom that he needs to pass on. 2). BOBBY SCALES can hit the ball, with a career .285/62/415/.371/.430 line, including a .320/15/59/.415/.499 line with Iowa last year. 3). The fact that he's never appeared in a Major League game DOESN'T MEAN SHIT. BOBBY SCALES is ready for the big time, it's the big time that's not ready for him. Only progressive cities like Des Moines, Pawtucket, and Scranton are ready for the mind-blowing abilities of BOBBY SCALES. 4). Turn on your f*&king TV this spring to watch BOBBY SCALES, or he'll use his telepathic abilities to beam that shit straight into your brain. BOBBY SCALES KNOWS WHO YOU ARE!

Doug Deeds, age 27, 1B/OF
Height: 6'2'' Weight: 195
Bats: Left Throws: Left

Not much is known about Doug Deeds. He seems to have mysteriously wandered into the Twins organization through the 9th round of the 2002 draft, played well, and then signed with the Cubs as a minor league free agent, and wandered into Tennessee, where he had a .903 OPS last year. Will he ever wander into the majors? Apparently not. His name is awesome though.

Jason Dubois, age 29, OF
Height: 6'5'' Weight: 220
Bats: Right Throws: Right

Seriously? Oh well, welcome back Jason.

So Taguchi, age 39
Height: 5'10'' Weight: 163
Bats: Right Throws: Right

So Taguchi sucks. Having watching him for years as a Cardinal, Cubs fans KNOW he sucks. He had his worst year (.220/0/9/.283/.297) last year, and is nearly 40 years old. Why is he here? Apparently as yet another attempt to provide Kosuke with a buddy. God dammit. I didn't think anything could particularly make me LIKE Joey Gathright, but I love the car jumping bastard now that So's a possibility. Fortunately the Cubs have both Reed Johnson, Gathright, and Hoffpauir as extra outfielders, so the possibility of So making the team is slim, right? Right? I guess the only real advantage to this is that it makes our favorite Cardinals fan, the sociopathic Elias Coblentz, very upset. (If you don't watch that, you will regret it.)

So there you have it, all 21 non roster invitees. With any luck....none of them will make the team. Ever. So, that's what you want out of spring training. Should at least be fun to see Jason Dubois up there hacking again, just like in 2005. You want to remember 2005, don't you?

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