BATTERS: 2020 Non-roster invitees

Non-roster invitees (NRI) are players on minor-league contracts who are not already on their team's 40-man rosters. They can include veterans who are looking to latch on to a new team, as well as top prospects who don't have a day of service time in the major leagues.

Most NRI batters won't provide value in 2020, but those that do can generate a lot of profit for you because you'll be able to get them for nothing on draft day.

Let's take a look at this year's group of hitting NRI who have been invited to spring camps, with an emphasis on non-prospects who could be worth a look in your end-game if you play in a deep league.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Greg Bird (1B, TEX) saw his 2019 season end almost before it began after suffering a torn plantar fascia in April. Bird showed some elite power skills in parts of three seasons with NYY in 2015 (203 xPX), 2017 (162 xPX), and 2018 (143 xPX). He also posted a double-digit walk rate in each of those three seasons. Shoulder and ankle injuries prevented him from turning those skills into meaningful results. Still, he's got a shot at winning an everyday role with TEX and remains in a great environment for a power hitter.

Zack Granite (RF, NYY) was an unheralded prospect that showed a combination of excellent plate discipline and speed in the minors with MIN, especially in 2016 (42/43 K/BB, 56 SB in 526 AB at Triple-A). He hasn't been able to duplicate that speed output ever since, and he doesn't have any power at all. But he still makes contact at a high rate and can steal some bases. He could provide some value in very deep AL-only leagues.

Joe Panik (2B, TOR) consistently showed elite plate discipline during his career with SF, including a 9% bb%, 89% ct%, and 0.91 Eye in 2019. But he never hit the ball with much hard contact, which prevented him from converting that approach into results. Nonetheless, he typically hit for more power away from SF, and he'll certainly be helped by moving to a more hitter-friendly park.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Elias Diaz (C, COL) entered the 2019 season with some intriguing appeal as a backup backstop. But his bat reverted back to its pre-2018 levels that year, as his power went MIA. Now in COL, he'll have a shot to prove that the power he showed in 2018 wasn't a fluke. And his consistently high contact rates give him a decent BA floor if he can pair them with more pop.

Josh Harrison (2B, PHI) had an opportunity with DET in 2019 to play on a regular basis and revive some of the production we saw from him earlier in his career, but he couldn't stay healthy enough for that to happen. When healthy, he shows enough multi-category ability to offer value in several areas. He could be a good stash as your middle infielder if you play in a deep league.

Matt Kemp (LF, MIA) will get another shot at rekindling his prior value after being invited to MIA camp as a non-roster invitee. Kemp was productive as recently as 2018, when he hit 21 HR and had an .818 OPS in 462 AB. His power that season was backed by a strong 143 xPX too. At age 35, it wouldn't be surprising to see Kemp have another good year or two. Just don't expect consistency from him.

Mac Williamson (LF, WAS) was targeted in some deep NL-only leagues over the last few seasons due to his power potential. Problem is, that power never really manifested itself after he got a shot in the majors. It all happened in Triple-A. That said, Williamson could be worth monitoring in deep NL-only leagues again for those desperate for power speculations.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.