In rather unsurprising news, several Major League teams have announced that some of the top prospects in baseball are getting invitations to ML Spring Training; teams include the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins and Kansas City Royals.
For the Tigers, it’s their #3 ranked prospect (according to MLB.com) Robbie Ray who is garnering the most interest. Ray reached Double-A last season with the Washington Nationals’ organization, splitting the season between Harrisburg and High-A Potomac putting together a very good season with at 3.36 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with 160 strikeouts in 142 innings. Ray was traded to the Tigers on December 2 along with two other major leaguers for Tigers’ pitcher Doug Fister.
The Kansas City Royals invited three of their Top 20 prospects (again, according to MLB.com) to major league camp. Their top prospect, Kyle Zimmer, baseball’s 5th overall draft pick in 2012, got the nod as one of two pitching prospects. Like Ray, Zimmer split 2013 between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas with much more time spent at the lower level. Zimmer had a 4.32 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP at the two levels combined with a whopping 140 strikeouts in 108 1/3 innings.
Jason Adam, a fifth round pick of the Royals in the 2010 draft spent 2013 in Double-A with not so impressive numbers, putting up a 5.19 ERA and 1.44 WHIP with 144 innings in 26 starts.
#5 prospect Jorge Bonifacio will also go to big league camp with the Royals and his brother Emilio. Bonifacio was signed as an international free agent in 2009 and showed some life in an injury shortened 2013 season that included stops in Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas with an .800 OPS in 374 plate appearances.
Several Miami Marlins top prospects will join major league Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida. Third baseman Colin Moran, their first pick in the 2013 draft and pitcher Andrew Heaney, who many consider to be their top pitching prospect will get invitations as well as other prospects Colby Suggs, Justin Nicolino, Anthony DeSclafani, Nick Wittgren, Adam Conley, Austin Barnes and Danny Black.
The Minnesota Twins will have MLB’s top prospect, Byron Buxton, in camp along with their top pitcher Alex Meyer and Miguel Sano. Buxton has a plethora of awards to his name already and is probably going to start 2014 in Double-A after a season with a .944 OPS that included 12 home runs and 55 stolen bases split between Class-A and High-A. Meyer, a 6’9″ righty who could rank as high as a Top-20 or -25 prospect in all of baseball spent an injury-shortened season in Double-A last year striking out 84 in 70 innings before pitching well in the Arizona Fall League.
With their season starting in Australia, the Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the two teams getting off to an early Spring Training. They’re inviting top prospect Archie Bradley (who is a Top-10 prospect in the MLB) to camp, among other very exciting prospects. Bradley spent most of 2013 in Double-A Mobile decimating the opposition with an ERA of 1.87 in 123 1/3 innings, racking up 119 strikeouts. #5 prospect, righty Jake Barrett and #9 prospect, third baseman Jake Lamb, also received invites to ML Spring Training.
While the Blue Jays haven’t announced it officially yet, righty Marcus Stroman (who will likely be in the Top 30 ML prospects on many lists) is reported to have received an invite to major league spring training and has a shot at the major league rotation if the club doesn’t add another starter via a trade or free agency.