The Seattle Mariners have released their initial list of non-roster invitees to big league camp in Peoria, Arizona. Of the 21 players that received an invite, ten will be making their big league camp debut.
Four of those ten, James Gillheeney, Nick Hill, Ty Kelly, and Nate Tenbrink all finished the 2013 season in Triple-A. While none are still considered prospects, they could open some eyes in spring and stay in the back of teams minds for a cup of coffee later in the season.
Roenis Elias is a 25 year-old Cuban left-handed pitcher who has put back-to-back quality seasons together in High-A and Double-A. He averages about six innings a start, and has a body that can certainly eat some innings. He has a high three-quarter delivery and an upside that is somewhere between a number five and spot starter.
Dominic Leone is a rare right-hander that is under six feet tall, but he is also purely a reliever. In his first full season in the Mariners organization, he worked his way through three levels, ending up in Double-A. He also got to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, where he recorded a save in more than half his appearances, and struck out more than a batter an inning.
Michael Dowd is a short and stocky catcher, whose best skills come with his ability to stay behind the plate. He has decent footwork and a plus arm as a defensive catcher, but his ceiling is likely limited due to the bat. In his age 23 season, he actually got a demotion from Double-A to High-A due to a batting average below the .200 mark. Dowd needs a solid camp in order to remain any hope of a big league future.
Gabriel Noriega is a quality defensive middle infielder whose bat lags far behind his glove. 2013 was his second season at Double-A, but he was able to raise his batting average almost 50 points, to a .256. He has been spending his time this winter playing Venezuelan Winter ball, where he has gotten plenty of playing time, but the bat is still underwhelming. His future is probably as a defensive replacement, or a number nine hitting utility infielder.
One player that will not end up as merely a defensive replacement is Chris Taylor. Taylor came in as the fifth ranked Mariners prospect here at Grading on the Curve, and that seems to be pretty standard across baseball. He may not be able to stick at short, and could end up at second or third instead. He has flashed a solid bat, despite limited power, and has shown above average skills on the base paths.