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Trenton Thunder starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (21) during an Eastern League game against the Reading Fightin Phils on August 16, 2019 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania. Trenton defeated Reading 7-5. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP)


Yankees Invite 19 Non-Roster Players to Spring Training

The New York Yankees announced on Monday that they have invited 19 players to participate in major league spring training in Tampa.  Among those invited are pitching prospects Clarke Schmidt and Alexander Vizcaino, infield prospects Chris Gittens and Kyle Holder, as well as outfield prospect Trey Amburgey.

Trenton Thunder starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (21) during an Eastern League game against the Reading Fightin Phils on August 16, 2019, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania. Trenton defeated Reading 7-5. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP)

Schmidt, 23, is the third-ranked prospect in our 2020 rankings.  The young right-hander spent most of 2019 with the Tampa Tarpons where he was 4-5 with a 3.84 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings.  He also appeared in three games with the Trenton Thunder during the regular season where he was 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 19 innings.

Vizcaino, 22, jumped up prospect rankings this year after showcasing a powerful fastball and one of the better changeups in the game.  Last season he split his time between Charleston and Tampa where he earned a combined 6-6 record with a 4.38 ERA with 128 strikeouts over 115 innings pitched.

Also invited were right-handed pitchers Domingo Acevedo, David Hale, Dan Otero, Nick Tropeano and left-handed pitchers Luis Avilan and Tyler Lyons.

Domingo Acevedo (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Acevedo, 25, was released off the 40-man and re-signed to a minor league contract last season.  Acevedo was a once-starting pitching prospect but fell after he lost velocity on his once over-powering fastball. This past season, Acevedo split the year between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as a reliever where he began to regain some of the velocity he lost.  He was 8-1 with a 4.35 ERA and 54 strikeouts over 51 2/3 innings between the two top levels of the system.  Out of 32 games, 22 came in Double-A where he was 7-1 with a 3.86 ERA and 33 strikeouts over 35 innings of work.

Hale, 32, returns to the Yankees after appearing in 27 games in the Yankees organization in 2019, seven as a starter in Triple-A and 20 as a reliever in the big leagues.  With the Yankees, he was 3-0 with a 3.11 ERA over 37 2/3 innings with 23 strikeouts out of the bullpen.

Avilán, 30, has held left-handed batters to a .203 batting average (120-for-590) over his eight-year career with the Braves (2012-15), Dodgers (2015-17), White Sox (2018), Phillies (2018) and Mets (2019). A native of Caracas, Venezuela, he limited lefties to a .102 mark (5-for-49) while posting a 4-0 record and 5.06 ERA (32.0IP, 18ER) in 45 appearances with the Mets last season.

Otero, 34, is a veteran of eight Major League seasons with the Giants (2012), Athletics (2013-15) and Indians (2016-19), going 22-8 with a 3.39 ERA (403.2IP, 152ER) and three saves over 358 relief appearances. The Miami native’s 4.68 career strikeouts-to-walks ratio (262K, 56BB) ranks eighth among active pitchers with at least 400.0 innings pitched. In 25 appearances with Cleveland in 2019, he posted a 4.85 ERA (29.2IP, 16ER).

Lyons, 31, joined the Yankees late in the 2019 campaign, going 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA (8.2IP, 4ER) in 11 regular-season relief appearances. A member of both the ALDS and ALCS rosters in 2019, the Lubbock, Texas, native made his postseason debut and struck out four of his five batters across two appearances (ALDS Game 2 vs. Minnesota, ALCS Game 4 vs. Houston). He owns a 13-12 record with three saves and a 4.20 ERA (281.0IP, 131ER) in 161 games (20 starts) over seven Major League seasons with the Cardinals (2013-18), Pirates (2019) and Yankees (2019).

Tropeano, 29, has made 42 Major League appearances (39 starts) with the Astros (2014) and Angels (2015-16, ’18-19), going 12-14 with a 4.51 ERA (217.1IP, 109ER). A graduate of West Islip (N.Y.) High School, Tropeano was originally selected by Houston in the fifth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Stony Brook (N.Y.) University.

They are joined by catchers Kellin Deglan, Chris Iannetta, Erik Kratz, Wynston Sawyer, and Josh Thole.

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Thole, 33, has played in parts of eight Major League seasons with New York-NL (2009-12) and Toronto (2013-16). On June 1, 2012, he caught Johan Santana’s no-hitter vs. St. Louis. He played in 72 minor league games in 2019, batting a combined .243 (55-for-226) at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Dodgers system and Triple-A Salt Lake in the Angels system.

Kratz, 39, returns to the Yankees after a 2019 season that saw him play for his eighth and ninth Major League clubs (San Francisco, Tampa Bay) before joining the Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate at midseason. The 10-year Major League veteran is one of six active players (and the only position player) to have played for at least nine franchises (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Toronto, Kansas City, Houston, Yankees, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Tampa Bay). Following the season, he played for the USA Professional National Team in the 2019 WBSC Premier12 Tournament in México and Japan.

Iannetta, 36, has made a total of 1,032 starts behind the plate during his 14-year Major League career. With a total of 1,197 games with Colorado (2006-11, ’18-19), Los Angeles-AL (2012-15), Seattle (2016) and Arizona (2017), the Providence, R.I., native is one of seven active catchers with at least 1,000 games played. He hit .222 (32-for-144) over 52 games with the Rockies in 2019.

Deglan, 27, returns to the Yankees after he became a free agent after the 2019 season.  He will be entering his third season in the organization.  Last season he appeared in 71 games between the Double-A Trenton Thunder and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. In 65 games in Double-A, he hit .265/.333/.435 with 13 doubles, a triple, and eight home runs.

Sawyer, 28, joins the Yankees organization after spending his career in the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Minnesota Twins organizations.  He spent 2019 in Triple-A with the Rochester Red Wings where he hit .260/.333/.409 over 43 games.

Infielders Chris Gittens and Kyle holder, as well as outfielders Trey Amburgey, Zack Granite, Rosell Herrera, and Thomas Milone, round out the invite list.

Gittens, 25, hit .281/.393/.500 over 115 games with the Trenton Thunder.  He ended the season, being named the 2019 Eastern League MVP.

Holder, 25, had an interesting season with the Trenton Thunder. Overcoming a horrible April where he hit .175/.246/.206 in 16 games, Holder went on to hit .281/.352/.441 over 96 games with 23 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, and 35 RBIs.  Even with the slow start to the season, Holder set a new career-high in doubles, triples, and home runs with 25, 3, and 9 respectfully.

Amburgey, 25, had one of the best seasons of his minor league career in 2019.  In 124 games in Triple-A, the former 13th round draft pick hit .274/.329/.494 over 470 at-bats with 31 doubles, three triples, and a career-high 22 home runs with 62 RBIs.

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Milone, 25, joins the Yankees after spending his career in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.  Over the last eight seasons, he has appeared in 594 minor league games, hitting .245/.316/.345 with 77 doubles, 40 triples, 17 home runs, and 160 RBIs.  He owns a career BABIP of .313 as well as a wOBA of .311 and a wRC+ of 94.

Granite, 27, owns a .284/.344/.363 slash line over 600 career minor league games over seven seasons. He also has 40 major league games under his belt, all coming in 2017 with the Twins where he hit .237/.321/.290 over 93 at-bats.

Herrera, 27, joins the Yankees after spending the 2019 season in the Miami Marlins organization.  In 871 career minor league games, he owns a .278/.347/.393 slash line with 148 doubles, 32 triples, and 50 home runs over 10 minor league seasons.  He also has 149 MLB games under his belt where he hit .225/.286/.316 with 20 doubles, three triples, and three home runs in parts of two seasons.


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