A’s announce 26 non-roster invitees to 2017 spring training

Richie Martin, A's top draft pick in 2015. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.
Richie Martin, A's top draft pick in 2015. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. /

The A’s have extended invites to 26 non-roster players to 2017 spring training camp in Mesa, Arizona.

Non-roster invitees to spring training are more than likely enigmas, players of various levels of talent and health.

Sometimes teams may find an exception. The Los Angeles  Dodgers’ slugger Justin Turner is a former non-roster invitee and he helped lead the team to the postseason in 2016, even without having Clayton Kershaw for almost two months last season.

Other examples include another Dodger in pitcher Julio Urias, a top draft pick and young rookie, who used spring training to prove his talent and eventually went on to pitch well for the Dodgers in 2016.

Felix Doubront
Felix Doubront. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

They can be players coming back from injury, as well as, players who are seeking redemption after a couple of bad seasons.

The Athletics, for example, have invited Felix Doubront, a non-roster player who is coming off of Tommy John surgery, to training camp this season with the hopes that he may be able to re-join the big league club at some point during the 2017 season.

Top-level prospects who have been extended invites include last season’s first round draft pick, left-hander A.J. Puk, along with the A’s 2015 first round draft pick infielder Richie Martin. This will be Martin’s second invite to big league spring training.

Other notable spring training non-roster invitees include the Athletics’ 2014 first and second round draft picks infielder Matt Chapman and right-handed starter Daniel Gossett.

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In 2016, Gossett started out with the High Class-A Stockton Ports and swiftly moved through the system playing for the Double-A Midland Rockhounds, ultimately making two starts for the A’s Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds. He led all A’s minor leaguers with 151 strikeouts in just 153.2 innings.

Veterans looking to make a comeback or who are still looking for their first chance in the big leagues are also invited. Chris Parmelee is an excellent example of one of these non-roster players being given a chance by the A’s to redeem himself.

He is an average hitter (.248 career batting average) who has six major league seasons under his belt but he’s spent much of that time playing in Triple-A, having played in just 311 big league games in his career. His longest stretch in the majors was 101 games with the Twins in 2013. He batted just .228 over that span.

Parmalee did show some promise last season in his six games with the New York Yankees, although that isn’t much of a sample size. Still, in eight at bats he hit two singles, a double and two home runs while driving in four runs.

Chris Parmelee, non-roster invitees
Chris Parmelee.. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /

More than likely it was just a bit of luck to end up with hitting .500/500/1.375 in his short stint with the Yankees. It was enough however to get him a non-roster invite to big league camp with the A’s. It’s unlikely he’ll pan out but sometimes team find a diamond in the rough in their group of non-roster invitees.

These non-roster players have to truly prove themselves and stand out during spring training in order to get noticed, let alone make the team. Most will end up in the minors, while others will end up hoping to catch on with another team in their farm system.

For a full list of all 26 of the Athletics non-roster invitees to 2017 spring training camp, you can find the list here, on an excellent site dedicated to the team’s minor league system, A’s Farm.