The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t announced their list of non-roster invites to Spring Training yet because the list is still incomplete, but Pirates Prospects has learned the names of those players who have already received invitations.
Kevin Newman, Kevin Kramer, Tyler Eppler, Yeudy Garcia, Alex McRae, Erich Weiss, Eric Wood, Casey Sadler, Christian Kelley, Montana DuRapau, John Stilson and Bo Schultz have all been confirmed as receiving invites to Spring Training. Newman, Eppler, Weiss, Wood, Sadler and Kelley were all invites last year.
Minor league free agent signings Todd Cunningham and Richard Rodriguez were announced as receiving invites last month, giving you 14 names in addition to the 40 players on the 40-man roster who receive automatic invites. The Pirates still haven’t announced the minor league deals of Sadler, Stilson or Schultz yet, but they are all at the winter mini-camp this week.
Jackson Williams, Tyler Jones, Bralin Jackson and Jin-De Jhang also received minor league deals this off-season and could be invited once their deals are announced. Williams and Jhang were invites last year, but Jhang suffered an elbow injury this winter, so his status is still questionable. Braylin Jackson only has High-A experience, so he may not receive an invite.
Any remaining non-roster invites will depend on the remaining off-season moves that the Pirates make over the next month. You could also possibly see players like Mitch Keller or Cole Tucker get invites, since the Pirates usually bring bigger prospects over for a taste of MLB Spring Training around the same time they reach Double-A.
The invite of Montana DuRapau isn’t a surprise since he has Triple-A experience and you need a lot of pitchers early on in Spring Training. It is however a nice jump for a pitcher who has been in the worst Spring Training role each of the last two years.
He has been a minor league extra the last two years. Those spots are usually saved for non-prospects due to the fact they are only used if needed and will end up not being used more often than they get used. They could be used for one batter or to fill multiple innings, or just sit in the bullpen for 3-4 games in a row if they aren’t needed. Since you want to make sure prospects always get their throwing in each day, they are rarely invited as an extra and if they do go, they get into the game. DuRapau was being used in that mop-up role a lot during the last two seasons, which is usually a bad sign. He has now made the leap to a Major League invite, which is a nice reward for his progress.