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Diamondbacks Non-Roster Invitees, Part 1 - Pitchers | February

The Diamondbacks have announced that 20 non-roster players (players not on the 40-man roster) have been invited to Spring Training. The list includes 9 Pitchers, 2 Catchers, 4 Infielders, and 5 Outfielders. The group includes both top prospects who will be rewarded with a taste of major league competition, such as Chris Owings, Marc Krauss, and Paul Goldschmidt, as well as veterans who have outside chances at making the major league team, but probably will serve as minor league depth, such as Cody Ransom and Andy Tracy.   

Pitchers - Matt Gorgen, Mike Hampton, Wade Miley, Micah Owings, Jarrod Parker, Rafael Rodriguez, Daniel Stange, Brian Sweeney, Clay Zavada
Catchers - Rossmel Perez, P.J. Pilittere
Infielders -  Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Owings, Cody Ransom, Andy Tracy
Outfielders - Collin Cowgill, Marc Krauss, Wily Mo Pena, A.J. Pollock, David Winfree

In this article, we'll take a look at the nine pitchers.

Matt Gorgen, RHP (24) - Gorgen came from the Tampa Rays in the Chad Qualls trade. He was an All-Star in AA in 2010, with 22 Saves and a 1.65 ERA, while striking out 8.6 batters per 9 IP. But he needs to improve his control (3.9 BB/9 IP), and needs to improve his performance against left-handed batters; righties hit only .138 against Gorgen while lefties hit .260 last year.  Gorgen will probably begin 2011 in AAA Reno.

Mike Hampton, LHP (38) - Hampton missed most of the 2010 season due to injury, but did return in September and threw 4.1 scoreless innings for the Diamondbacks. He's never had great strikeout rates (5.5K/9 IP), and he's never been a specialist against lefties (career .753 OPS vs LHP, .738 OPS vs RHP), so it's hard to see what role he could have. Most likely, he needs to stretch out his innings and could become a long relief/swing man.

Wade Miley, LHP (24) - Miley is one of the Diamondbacks' Top 10 prospects, and had good success for AA Mobile last year, going 5-2 with a 1.98 ERA in 13 starts. He struck out 7.8 batters per 9 innings, but needs to cut down on the 3.5 walks per 9 innings. He gets a lot of ground balls, and gives up very few homers, so he should be a good fit for Chase Field. Miley will probably start the 2011 season in Mobile, or possibly Reno.

Micah Owings, LHP (28) - Owings spent the last two years with the Cincinnati Reds, putting up ERAs and FIPs around 5.00. Control continues to be a problem about Owings, as he walked 25 batters in 33.1 IP last season. He could be a useful 25th man on a roster due to his bat, with a career line of .293/.323/.538. His 9 HRs in 184 career ABs could make him one of the better power threats on the Diamondbacks' bench.

Jarrod Parker, RHP (22) - Parker is the top prospect in the Diamondbacks' system. After missing all of the 2010 season with Tommy John surgery, Parker has looked good in winter workouts, and should be ready to go by Spring Training. Parker has only made 16 starts at the AA level, so he probably will start there in 2011, but he is expected to move quickly through the minors.

Rafael Rodriguez, RHP (26) - Rodriguez came to the Diamondbacks in the Dan Haren trade last summer. He had been on the 40-Man roster, but was dropped in the offseason and now will come to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. With a career strikeout rate of 5.5K/9 in AAA with 3.0BB/9, there is not a lot of upside.

Daniel Stange, RHP (25) - Like Rodriguez, Stange was dropped from the 40-Man roster during the offseason, but cleared waivers and re-signed with the Diamondbacks. Stange got off to a good start in 2010 and was called up to the Majors, but then saw his season quickly go downhill. In May with the Diamondbacks, Stange faced 19 batters, walked 6, and gave up 4 hits, including a double and a home run. He then went back to AAA, and continued to struggle, before finding some success back in AA.  In the minors in 2010, Stange only struck out 5.5K/9, while walking 3.4BB/9.

Brian Sweeney, RHP (36) - Brian Sweeney was signed during the offseason from the Mariners organization. He somehow managed a 3.16 ERA for Seattle in 37 IP while only striking out 14 batters. Before that, he had pitched three seasons in Japan as a starting pitcher for the Nippon Ham Fighters. At age 36, Sweeney is probably going to serve as a veteran presence for AAA Reno.

Clay Zavada, LHP (26) - After a promising rookie season with the Diamondbacks in 2009, Zavada suffered through  an injury-plagued season in 2010 where he allowed 10 ER in only 3 IP for AAA Reno.  The Diamondbacks will need to see if Zavada has recovered from elbow surgery.

Summary - This group of 9 non-roster pitchers only has a few pitchers who create much excitement. Jarrod Parker and Wade Miley are the two minor league prospects who have the potential to become solid big league starters, but both will start the year in the Minors. Matt Gorgen at least might develop into a useful reliever, and Micah Owings is much more exciting as a hitter than a pitcher. The other five most likely will be in the bullpen for AAA Reno.