With pitchers and catchers reporting today, here are five non-roster players to keep your eye on if you're heading to Bradenton. The complete list of non-roster invitees is here.
1. Tony Sanchez, C: This one is obvious. Sanchez won't be in camp long, and there's no reason to think he'll put up the sort of spring 2008 first-rounder Pedro Alvarez did--Alvarez hit .444/.500/.778 in 20 plate appearances. But it'll be interesting to see Sanchez in action nonetheless. Those of you who live near Bradenton will probably get plenty of chances to see him even after what looks to be a brief major league camp appearance, as he'll probably start the year playing for the Class A+ Marauders.
3. Jean Machi, RHP: The squat career minor leaguer tore up the Venezuelan Winter League this year. He throws grounders and keeps homers off the board, so he might be effective in a low-leverage role. His chances of making the team out of camp aren't great, but they're far better than they were a few months ago.
4. Brian Myrow, 1B: I didn't mention Myrow in my rundown of potential bench bats this weekend, but this guy has a lifetime minor league line of .307/.426/.507. Granted, some of that is in hitters paradises like Albuquerque and Las Vegas, but he's hit just about everywhere, including tougher environments like Portland and Trenton. He's 33 and he got a late start on his career, so he's easy to dismiss, but there's really nothing he does badly at the plate, and there are worse bench bats out there. He has only 61 career major league plate appearances, whereas someone like Mark Sweeney got over 2,000, and it's not at all clear to me that Sweeney was the better player.
5. Brian Bass, RHP: Bass is a bad pitcher--every photo of him in the AP database that Bucs Dugout photos come from is one of him getting hit hard or (left) reacting to getting hit hard. But guys with rubber arms often turn out to be useful to bad teams. Call it the Josh Fogg principle. As WTM points out, the only pitcher throughout baseball who threw more major-league relief innings in 2009 was Carrasco. Bass threw 86 innings last year, and he's also capable of starting. It's extremely unlikely he'll be with the Bucs in April, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him in June, especially if things go badly.