6 Dodgers Non-Roster Invitees To Keep An Eye On This Spring

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Spring Training games are about to start which means we’ll be getting to see some non-roster players trying for a shot at making the roster. Here are some of the names to look out for.

Josiah Gray

 

The Dodgers are fielding a lot of pitchers in their non-roster invites, some of which may not crack the roster due to how much depth the Dodgers have at pitching, but they definitely have the talent to make it in the future. The first of these pitchers is Josiah Gray who is knocking on the Dodgers’ door to be called up at some point during the season. In 2019, Gray saw action across three different levels of the minors and was dominant at each level. He had a 2.28 ERA in 130 innings of work in 2019 across all three minor league levels including making 25 starts.

With no minor league season, Gray doesn’t have any stats to show for the 2020 season, however, he did get work in at the Dodgers’ alternate site that was created due to no minor league season. While this shouldn’t be a major issue with these players as they were still getting work in, an article by the Los Angeles Times wrote about the state of the alternate camp with an interview from Dodgers’ Triple-A manager, Travis Barbary. Barbary stated, “The hardest part is trying to replicate the same game-like intensity you would have during the regular season.”

Bobby Miller

 

Next up is another prospect with Bobby Miller, who was drafted in by the Dodgers in 1st round with the 29th pick, he’s one of the more polished pitchers in the Dodgers system coming out of Louisville in the NCAA. Coming out of the 2020 draft and already being rated the 8th best prospect in the Dodgers system according to FanGraphs, that just shows how polished of a pitcher he is and how ready he will be for the majors. In a short 2020 stint with Louisville, Miller had a 2.31 ERA in 23.1 innings of work before it was shortened due to the pandemic.

While he probably won’t make the big league team due to more development time and the Dodgers’ current pitching depth, he’ll definitely need to be a player to watch when he comes into games. FanGraphs has Miller projected to be ready by 2022, which the Dodgers rotation may look different depending on how they approach the off-season going into next season.

Jimmy Nelson

 

With both Gray and Miller still prospects, Nelson is probably most likely to get a roster spot should he find success this Spring Training. Nelson didn’t get to pitch in 2020 due to season-ending surgery, but he’s looking to make a comeback in the 2021 season as a non-roster invite. The only serviceable stats to show from Nelson come from the 2017 season when he was with the Milwaukee Brewers, where he posted a 3.49 ERA in 175.1 innings of work which was his best season in terms of numbers.

While it’s easy to see him not cracking the rotation with guys like Gonsolin, May, and Urias slotting into the rotation, he can still be a vital piece in the Dodgers’ plans. Should anything happen to others in the rotation as injuries should never be ignored, Nelson could be a serviceable starting pitcher that could keep the team afloat should they ever run into rotation issues. He could also fit into the bullpen as a long-inning reliever that could eat innings if he can prove to stay healthy and return to form.

Brandon Morrow

 

After having not pitched in two seasons, Brandon Morrow returns to the Dodgers as a non-roster invite and could help the team in the bullpen once again. Morrow pitched for the Dodgers in 2017 and he was very effective for them as he had a 2.06 ERA 43.2 innings of work while also getting a pair of saves. In 2018 with the Cubs, Morrow still proved effective despite pitching in fewer games as he had a 1.47 ERA in only 30.2 innings of work.

The biggest question for Morrow will be his health and if he can really help the Dodgers bullpen this year. There’s no doubt that Dodgers do have some depth in the bullpen, but you can never have too much depth and Morrow should be seen as a “break glass in case of emergency” type pitcher which is never a bad thing to have. If he can provide any help to the Dodgers bullpen in some way and put up decent numbers, then he should be deemed as a good pick-up and a reunion that fans should look forward to.

Matt Davidson

 

While there are many pitchers that could have a shot at breaking the big league club, there are some hitters to consider as well, and Matt Davidson is one of them. Davidson was once a well-regarded prospect in the Diamondbacks system after they selected him 35th overall in the 2009 draft. He was traded to the White Sox, where wouldn’t end up making his debut until 2016 and only played in one game. He got his first full two seasons in 2017 and 2018 where he hit a combined 46 home runs and slashed .224/.291/.435 with an OPS+ of 95.

He spent time with the Reds in the 2020 season which saw him struggle with a slash line .163/.234/.395 with only 3 home runs in 20 games played. Now coming over to the Dodgers, he’ll be playing for a chance at a backup spot behind Justin Turner and Max Muncy at first and third base. The Dodgers will be hoping he can tap into that power he displayed with the White Sox and provide some depth in the lineup.

Elliot Soto

 

Soto has nearly spent an entire decade in the minor leagues bouncing around teams that included the Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, and Colorado Rockies before finally making his debut with the Angels in 2020. The Dodgers clearly saw something they liked in Soto and they could help him finally get his shot at staying in the majors after getting just a cup of coffee last season. There is some stuff to like in Soto as in 2019 in the Rockies system, he slashed .305/.380/.860 in 112 games which was his best season.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Dodgers can help Soto find that performance he had in 2019 and maintain it for him to be on the Major League team. Should he not, he’ll go back to the minor leagues again, but this time under the Dodgers minor league development which could also help him in the long run.

Honorable Mentions

The Dodgers still have a lot of young talent that make up their non-roster list and will probably not get any big league action once Opening Day comes around. Either way, it’s hard to just pick one that stands out over the other as they can all eventually find their way to the big leagues with more development. First up is Michael Busch, who is ranked the Dodgers’ 7th best prospect in the system according to FanGraphs. Busch has a good bat that the Dodgers can move around with as he can play multiple positions, hopefully, the bat stays consistent even if he gets moved, but the Dodgers are planning on him playing second base primarily.

Kody Hoese is another player to watch as he’s just ahead of Busch in terms of development according to Fangraphs. There is a lot to like with him as well as the Dodgers took great care in him as a player dealing with an injury to his wrist and forearm. He’s shaped up to be an extremely athletic swinger and can hit for solid contact. The Dodgers are trying him out at third base right now, but because of his solid contact and not too much raw power, he can profile better at shortstop in the future unless the power starts clicking for him.

Andy Pages is another one to get a look at as he is ranked 5th on the Dodgers prospect list by FanGraphs. It was all lined up for him to be going to the Angels in a trade that involved Ross Stripling and Joc Pederson, until Angels owner, Arte Moreno, called off the deal. The biggest thing for Pages is his raw power and his ability to lift the ball, which comes at the price of striking out a lot. His athleticism makes him capable of handling center field, but could also shift to right or left field depending on what the situation calls for. If his raw power stays true and even improves on it, he can easily be a power-hitting outfielder that the Dodgers can slot anywhere.

Jacob Cisneros is a writer for Dodgers-LowDown. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @_JacobCisneros.