We're currently sitting two weeks out from pitchers and catchers reporting. Amidst the recent moves made in Oakland and other teams around the league, it feels like this off-season has flown by. With Spring Training around the corner, the A's have announced their 2023 non-roster invitees.
Oakland A's have announced 24 non-roster invitees
Oakland seems to be doing what it does best. Looking for untapped talent - players who can be bought for cheap and potentially sold higher in the years to come.
Martin Gallegos, of the A's Beat newsletter, gave an in-depth review of the new faces that we'll see this Spring Training. To review, non-roster invitees are not on a team's major league 40-man roster. This usually includes upper-level minor leaguers who showed promise in their respective leagues.
Oakland A's pitchers are a must see this spring
Out of the 24 invitees, 10 are pitchers looking for a spot. While the starting rotation is shaping up to be something to watch, the A's are looking for depth in their bullpen.
One interesting candidate is Norge Ruiz, a RHP out of Cuba. He was part of the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games champion team. Selected by the A's in 2016, he signed a minor league deal. In 2022, he went 5-1 with a 3.73 ERA over 41 IP. While not the biggest guy on the mound, Ruiz can come into the 7th or the 8th and work with a great mix of pitches. His brief experience in the majors last season likely helped to settle the nerves.
Ruiz worked himself into and out of a few jams, showcasing a repertoire that includes a four seam fastball and a slider that batters couldn't seem resist. Although many of the games he's pitched in were blowouts, he was put in to stop the bleeding. In a game against the Yankees, down by 10 runs, Ruiz's four seam made Anthony Rizzo chase with a few big swings. Going back and watching his innings shows that there are some flashes of potential for the bullpen.
Top prospect on the come up
While there is no shortage of potential infielders invited, one of the most exciting has to be Zack Gelof. Currently ranked the A's No. 3 prospect, Gelof is a third baseman selected in the second round.
For his minor league career so far, he has slashed .287/.371/.490. According to A's assistant general manager Bill Owens, Gelof is "a dynamic athlete. He’s a plus, plus runner. He’s got serious strength. I see the plate discipline improving as he climbs the ladder. At some point, I see him also going to the outfield and using that dynamic athleticism all around the diamond."
The A's need a huge revamp and having a solid player that can get hits would spark offensive production. It'll be interest to see how Geolf adjusts to the big league atmosphere too.