Recent

0
Reese McGuire had four hits today.

First Pitch: Who Can Be Invited to Spring Training?

Earlier today I was asked a question on Twitter about Spring Training. The first part of the question could have been answered easily on Twitter. The second part required more explaining, and would have made a good article. I decided to go with both questions for tonight’s article as a change of pace. For one, article topics are hard to come by this time of year. Also, I’m going tonight with some friends to try a deep fried hot dog covered with four types of cheese, bacon, grilled onions, and sauerkraut. So I wanted something to write in advance, in the event that I die tonight. Here is the question:

To the question, there aren’t really any limits to who can be invited to Spring Training. Everyone on the 40-man roster is invited, plus any non-roster invitees. Usually the non-roster invites go to minor league free agents who were signed over the off-season, and upper level players in the system who aren’t on the 40-man roster. The team can invite lower level players, although that is usually reserved for players who project to make the majors in the next year or two.

To the part about Mathisen and McGuire, those types of players aren’t usually invited to MLB Spring Training. For one, they are nowhere close to the majors. As for the experience of being around Russell Martin, that would be good in theory, but it’s not how things actually work. Martin will be busy preparing for the season. The idea that he can pass knowledge on to young catchers would mean that he’s taking time away from preparing for the season, and spending that time coaching the younger players. There might be some tips he can give Tony Sanchez while they’re in camp together, but when you start adding to the list, it becomes more difficult.

A key difference between Sanchez and a lower level guy like McGuire comes down to the time each will spend in camp. Sanchez projects to spend more time in major league camp. He profiles as the everyday catcher with Indianapolis, but he’ll still get a long look in major league camp, if only because they will need additional catchers in Spring Training. That provides more time for Martin to give Sanchez any relevant tips.

When it comes to McGuire (or any other lower level catcher, but I’ll only use McGuire’s name to keep it simple), their priority would be getting ready for the minor league season. That includes conditioning in minor league camp, getting coaching from the minor league coaches, and playing in the minor league games. That’s far more valuable to McGuire’s development than anything he might pick up from Martin, which really only helps him in the long run.

There would be a few days where McGuire could be in MLB camp, before minor league camp starts. But that’s only a few days, and Martin would be working on getting ready for his season. So overall there would be almost zero impact for inviting McGuire, or any other lower level catcher, to Spring Training. They wouldn’t learn anything in the few days they were in camp due to Martin’s priority of getting ready for the season. If they stayed any longer, they would be missing out on their own priority of getting ready for their own season.

In the long-term, guys like McGuire will eventually get the advice Martin can provide. However, they’ll probably get it from a Triple-A catcher who has been in the majors, or maybe even from Tony Sanchez, who could theoretically pass down Martin’s advice that helped him, along with his own advice that he would have once McGuire is ready.

Links and Notes

**The 2014 Prospect Guide is now available. You can purchase your copy here, and read about every prospect in the Pirates’ system. The book includes our top 50 prospects, as well as future potential ratings for every player.

**We will be releasing our top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. Today the countdown started with #17 – Cody Dickson.

**Ray Searage Doesn’t Expect A.J. Burnett to Return. It’s looking more and more like Burnett will retire.

**Winter Leagues: Marte Returns to Lineup, Polanco’s Return Delayed

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Ray Searage Doesn’t Expect A.J. Burnett to Return

Next Story »

Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #16 – Blake Taylor

  • https://profiles.google.com/108052838757004515293 Possum

    How was the hot dog? You still alive?

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com/author/admin Tim Williams

      If you had Twitter, you would have known hours ago that I was alive, the hot dog was good and I’m drinking smoothies for the rest of the weekend. :)

  • https://profiles.google.com/115522615427589477970 Mike C.

    hearing about your hotdog got me thinking.
    reading often about how often minor leaugers end up eating cheap fast foods, shouldn’t teams hire more dietitians? seems like a cheap investment for young prospects we invested millions in.
    seems it would be helpful 4 kids like Herredia with still growing bodies

  • whereswaldo10

    @MikeC I don’t know if you ever listened to the “Baseball Show” with Rany (Jezearly) and Joe (Sheehan), but they talked about the dieting system in the minors. They said 1 WAR is worth about $5-6M. You can check this article from FanGraphs (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/an-early-look-at-the-price-of-a-win-this-off-season/) for more on that. So, even if you spend an extra $3M, roughly half a win, you could drastically improve the minor league dieting program.

  • dr dng

    Tim,
    Remember, I am new to following all of this, and I hope this question is not too stupid, but do players get any additonal pay for attending spring training or attending as a NRI? Do they get a per diem of meals/housing etc at spring training as a player or NRI? (How about these January optional workouts?
    Thanks.
    Dave
    PS: How was the hotdog?

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com/author/admin Tim Williams

      I don’t think they get any additional pay. Usually the pay for players comes during the regular season.

    • https://profiles.google.com/113824087346904673399 NHPirateFan

      Not additional pay, but there is a huge difference between minor league per diem and MLB. I believe the per day amount is just under $100.
      Since they are provided with a place to live and meals (at team facility) it does make a difference for the minor league guys in big league camp.

  • https://profiles.google.com/108052838757004515293 Possum

    Hmmm, no reply from Tim yet. Either at the Mini Camp or he died from eating those hot dogs. Hope it is the former!

  • SportOMania

    Sounds like the have a version of the “Dirty O” in Florida.

  • https://profiles.google.com/108052838757004515293 Possum

    Well, looks like we won’t know if Tim made it through the hotdog adventure until morning when we arrive at PP to see his morning story. The suspense is just too maddening!

    • michaelbro8

      If Tim dies, the headline tomorrow: ” Pirates Blogger can’t handle Hot Dogger”

  • https://www.facebook.com/rich.hatfield.792 Rich Hatfield

    Random question … I’ll be in Bradenton for a couple spring training games this year. Rather than drive down to Ft. Myers to see Bucs and Sox, I’m thinking of checking out the action at Pirate City. Any advice?

  • https://profiles.google.com/113824087346904673399 NHPirateFan

    Just because a guy like McGuire is not in ‘big league camp’ does not mean he does not spend time with MLB guys.
    If a guy like Cole is throwing a bullpen, he may come out early in the day, throw to a guy like McGuire in the am the catch his tee time. Martin could pull some pens like that at the same time as McGuire if he is not playing in the spring game that day.
    Then Cole and Russell would be off to a tee time when the minors play (used to be 10:00 am) and then the ML teams play at 1:00.
    McGuire was Tim’s example. Would probably be more like a Paulino type.

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    15 hours ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    2 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    3 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    4 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    6 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    7 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More