The Cleveland Indians have invited 25 non roster players to spring training. Some of them are prospects getting their first taste of big league camp. Others are major league veteran’s looking to make an impression on either the Indians or another major league team. Let’s take a look at some of the more prominent names on the list and their chances of breaking camp with the Tribe.
- Mike Napoli – 1B (Texas Rangers)
2017 Stats: .193 avg / 29 HR / 66 RBI
The Indians signed Mike Napoli to a minor league contract on Tuesday bringing back one of the key members of their 2016 World Series team. Napoli spent the 2017 season with the Texas Rangers hitting 29 home runs but only hitting .193 in 425 at bats. Napoli helped the Indians reach the World Series in 2016 both offensively and as a voice in the clubhouse. Unfortunately with Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso on the roster Napoli’s chances of staying with the Indians are slim to none. This deal is a courtesy for Napoli allowing him to come into big league camp and show another team he can still play.
- Rajai Davis – OF (Oakland Athletics / Boston Red Sox)
2017 Stats: .235 avg / 5 HR / 20 RBI / 29 SB
Another key member of the 2016 team brought back to camp is outfielder Rajai Davis. In 2016 with the Tribe Davis led the American League in stolen bases with 43. He signed with the Oakland Athletics in the offseason before being traded to the Boston Red Sox in August. Davis has a legit opportunity to stick with the Indians especially with the injury to Brandon Guyer and Michael Brantley still rehabbing from surgery. One thing the Indians lack is a legitimate base stealing threat.
- Melvin Upton Jr. – OF (San Francisco Giants)
2017 Stats: Did not play
Melvin Upton Jr. is an intriguing candidate for the roster. He was not healthy in 2017 only appearing in a few minor league games in the Giants organization. Now healthy Upton is looking to get back to where he was in 2016 when he hit 20 home runs for the Padres and Blue Jays. Upton also has a legit shot at making the opening day roster due to injuries.
- Richie Shaffer – 1B/3B/OF (AAA Columbus)
2017 Stats: .227 avg / 30 HR / 89 RBI
Richie Shaffer spent 2017 with the Indians AAA club the Columbus Clippers. He was second in the International League with 30 home runs and is already off to a hot start in spring training. The 26 year old is looking to force the Indians in to making a spot for him this season. It will most likely take an injury for Shaffer to have a chance as he will most likely begin the season back in Columbus.
- Matt Belisle – RP (Minnesota Twins)
2017 Stats: 2-2 / 4.03 ERA / 9 saves
Matt Belisle agreed to a minor league contract with the Indians on Sunday. He pitched last season for the Twins appearing in 62 games serving as the teams closer the close out the season. Belisle has a good opportunity to make the Indians opening day roster. The Indians need a replacement for setup man Bryan Shaw and Belisle is certainly a candidate. He has been a reliable reliever throughout his 14 year career.
- Alexi Ogando – SP (Japan)
2017 Stats: 10-5 / 4.23 ERA
Alexi Ogando has had a successful career in his seven major league seasons. His first three seasons with Texas he was a combined 19-9 with a 3.42 ERA. He pitched in Japan last season after one season (2016) in Atlanta where he posted a 3.94 ERA in 32 innings out of the bullpen. Ogando provides the Indians some veteran rotation depth as well as another bullpen option.
- Carlos Torres – SP (Milwaukee Brewers)
2017 Stats: 4-4 / 4.21 ERA
Carlos Torres is an eight year major league veteran reliever who pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017. He had his best season in 2016 when he posted a career best 2.73 ERA in 72 relief appearances. Torres is another candidate to replace Shaw as he will compete with Matt Belisle for a bullpen spot.