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Blog : Spring Training Preview: Part I - The NRIs

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
I haven't been as up on things this offseason as I usually am, so I figured while I was sorting things out for myself I might as well throw up a few posts here. I'll look at a few different aspects of the club heading into spring trianing. Starting with the most boring of all (this year especially): the non-roster invitees.
PITCHERS
Brooks Brown (R) - Brown was once a decent prospect. That was a long time ago. The Diamondbacks took him in the supplemental first round back in 2006 and he made the CAL league all star game in 2007 followed by the Southern League all star game in 2008 and the AFL Rising Stars game that offseason. After that it was all downhill. He's bounced between AA and AAA, lost velocity, lost control, and lost status. I'm really not even sure why he got a spring invite, but here he is.
Gerrit Cole (R) - Here's the exciting name. Everyone knows Cole for his explosive fastball, wicked slider, and developing change. With a couple AAA starts under his belt Cole is knocking on the door and very likely to make the roster at some point in 2013. It won't be out of spring though. Cole should actually see game action this year unlike last year and survive until one of the later cuts. There will definitely be a lot of eyes on him.
Erik Cordier (R) - Cordier actually has shown some promise, though not enough that you'd expect anything to come of it. He has a nice fastball-breaking ball combo, but has struggled constantly with injuries and control, which are most likely related. The Braves actually carried him on their 40 man the last 2 years for some reason. If he stays healthy he could be a solid contributor at Indy, but I wouldn't expect much.
Kris Johnson (L) - Another once promising player taken in the supplemental first round in 2006 out of Wichita State. His career never got going like the Red Sox thought it would and they let him go in 2011. The Pirates picked him up prior to the 2012 season and he showed some flashes. He worked as both a starter and a reliever, but if he has a major league future it looks to be as a true LOOGY.
Ryan Reid (R) - Never was much of a prospect outside of a few short bursts years ago. He's generally pitched in relief, and not particularly well. Again I'm not sure why he's here. Just a body for camp I guess.
Jonathan Sanchez (L) - Most people probably know his story. He always had a great arm from the left side, but had a fairly limited minor league track record. The Giants used him in their rotation for several years and he struggled to find consistency before throwing a no hitter in 2009 and having a very solid season for their World Series team in 2010. He was back to his old self in 2011 and was traded for Melky Cabrera in the offseaosn. Sanchez went on to be about the worst pitcher in baseball for 15 starts in 2012. Velocity disappeared, control was awful, and injuries popped up. Sanchez spent the offseason rehabbing and trying to regain velocity. Time will tell how that goes. Obvious comparisons to Oliver Perez have been around for years, and it's possible that he has a Perez-like comeback as a reliever.
Jameson Taillon (R) - Like Cole, everyone is already familiar with Taillon. I don't expect him to get the same extended look. Taillon should hang around for a few weeks, maybe throw a couple innings, but mostly just be along for the ride. He'll be back at AA to start the year and hopefully make the jump to AAA at midseason.
Kyle Waldrop (R) - Waldrop was a first rounder way back in 2004. He slowly moved through the Twins system before eventually getting brief call ups to bad Twins teams in 2011 and 2012. He doesn't have good stuff and relies almost exclusively on a high-80s sinker to get groundballs. Tons of groundballs. Not much to see here.
Mike Zagurski (L) - Zagurski's a lefty reliever who throws fairly hard and racks up strikeouts, so he'll be given chance after chance. He's really struggled with right handers in his major league career, and given up a ton of homers. He's also struggled mightily with his control. If nothing else he should be fun to have around because of his appearance:
mike-zagurski-headshot-dd55e871ccdbb3e4.jpg
I'll update with the hitters later if I can convince myself to even look at them. Yikes.
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