Giants announce non-roster invites

Posted By on January 9, 2009 2:25 pm

Hot off the presses… Most interesting thing here is that Buster Posey is getting an invite to big league camp. That was really a no-brainer, but it’s good to see it confirmed.

Otherwise, no interesting names from outside the organization. Justin Miller has had some time in the big leagues, including with the A’s. All I can tell you about that guy is he’s got tattoos over about 60 percent of his body. The dude is a piece of work.

Josh Phelps is in here too, but the Giants announced his signing a while ago. I’ll be interested to see what he brings to the table. He’s kicked around a long time. He’s a corner infielder with some pop.

Here’s the whole release, in case Jake Wald’s mother is reading…

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The San Francisco Giants have extended non-roster invitations for Major League Spring Training to the following 16 players, club Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Sabean announced today: right-handed pitchers Francis Beltran, Brandon Medders, Justin Miller, Kevin Pucetas and Ronnie Ray; catchers Todd Jennings, Buster Posey, Eli Whiteside and Jackson Williams; infielders Matt Downs, Jesus Guzman, Scott McClain, Ivan Ochoa, Josh Phelps and Jake Wald; and outfielder Andres Torres.

Beltran, who is an 11-year professional, appeared in the Majors last season for the first time since 2004, going 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA (7er, 13.0ip) in 11 relief outings with the Tigers. The Dominican native has made 67 big league relief appearances with Chicago-NL (2002, 2004), Montreal (2004) and Detroit (2008).

Medders will begin his ninth professional season, his first in the Giants’ organization. The 28-year-old owns an 11-6 record with a 3.52 ERA in 135 big league contests while pitching for Arizona . In parts of four seasons in the Majors, he has held right-handed hitters to a .218 average. A native of Alabama, Medders split last season between triple-A Tucson and Arizona, going 2-2 with a 6.48 ERA (42er, 58.1ip) in 44 games.

Miller, a 9-game winner with the Blue Jays in 2002, has made 153 Major League appearances (33 starts) for Toronto (2002, 2004-05) and Florida (2007-08), fashioning a 21-11 record with a 5.16 ERA (169er, 294.2ip). The Torrance , CA native has posted a 9-2 mark with a 3.90 figure (47er, 108.1ip) in his last two seasons with the Marlins.

Pucetas will make his debut at big league camp in 2009. The 24-year-old, was a key member of single-A San Jose’s club last season, going 10-2 with a 3.02 ERA (42er, 125.1ip) in 24 starts. For his efforts last year, the South Carolina native was named California League Pitcher of the Year, while also being selected to the league’s in-season and post-season All-Star teams. Selected by the Giants in the 17th round of the 2006 draft, Pucetas has forged a 32-7 record with a 2.35 ERA (89er, 341.1ip) in 66 games (62 starts) in three minor league seasons.

Ray, a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher, will open his eighth professional season, his fourth full year with the Giants organization in 2009. After winning a career-best 11 games with single-A San Jose in 2007, he went 6-4 with a 3.10 ERA (25er, 72.2ip) in 46 relief outings for double-A Connecticut last season.

Jennings will make his fourth trip to the Giants’ spring camp, as he was also a non-roster invitee in 2004 and from 2006-07. The 6-foot-0, 190-pound backstop missed most of last season after suffering a left ankle sprain and appeared in just 12 games for triple-A Fresno.

Posey, who was the Giants’ first pick in last year’s draft out of Florida State University , will open his first full professional season. A native of Leesburg , GA , Posey capped off one of the greatest seasons in Florida State history, winning the 2008 Golden Spikes Award. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound catcher, batted .351 (13-for-37) in just 10 games between the rookie-level Giants and short-season Salem-Keizer last season.

Whiteside, who came to the Giants organization in the middle of last season, has spent parts of his last four years at the triple-A level. He made his big league debut with Baltimore in 2005, batting .250 (3-for-12) in 9 games.

Williams, comes to his second straight camp with San Francisco after combining to hit .205 (64-for-312) with 5 home runs and 29 RBI for single-A affiliates Augusta and San Jose last year.

Downs, comes to his first camp with the Giants after combining to hit .294 (154-for-523) with 20 HRs and 82 RBI in 131 games with single-A San Jose and triple-A Fresno last season. Among Giants farmhands in 2008, the Alabama native ranked tied for third in home runs, fourth in RBI and 10th in batting average.

Guzman will enter camp after having a strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he broke a 35-year-old league record with 67 RBI. The eight-year professional, who spent his last two seasons with Oakland’s organization, combined to hit .349 (145-for-415) with 17 home runs and 88 RBI in 100 games between the rookie-level Athletics, double-A Midland and triple-A Sacramento last season.

McClain returns to San Francisco after leading the organization with 29 home runs and 108 RBI at Fresno in 2008. A prolific minor league power hitter, the 36-year-old corner infielder has hammered 291 home runs with 1,009 RBI in 1,770 minor league games, while adding another 71 clouts in 320 contests for Seibu in Japan . Entering his 20th professional season, McClain became the oldest position player (36 years old) to hit his first big league homer when he achieved the feat last season on Sept. 3 at Colorado .

Ochoa returns for his third consecutive Spring Training with the Giants at the onset of his 10th professional season. The 26-year-old infielder made his Major League debut with San Francisco last year, batting .200 (24-for-120) with eight doubles and three RBI in 47 contests.

Phelps, a 13-year professional, comes to camp after signing with the Giants in November. The 30-year-old corner infielder has played for six Major League clubs, including Toronto (2000-04), Cleveland (2004), Tampa Bay (2005), New York-AL (2007), Pittsburgh (2007) and St. Louis (2008). He owns a career .273 average (380-for-1394) with 64 home runs and 244 RBI in 465 big league contests.

Wald, who was selected in the 11th round of the 2002 draft, earned his third trip to big league camp after batting .247 (90-for-365) with 5 home runs and 39 RBI in 111 games between double-A Connecticut and triple-A Fresno last season. The 28-year-old infielder has tallied at least 13 doubles in each of his last six seasons.

Torres enters his first year with the Giants organization. The 30-year-old outfielder set professional highs last season at triple-A Iowa with 27 doubles, 11 home runs and 51 RBI. The speedster also led the Pacific Coast League with 29 stolen bases and ranked 2nd with 10 triples. A native of Puerto Rico, Torres has spent time in the big leagues with Detroit (2002-04) and Texas (2005).


6 Responses to “Giants announce non-roster invites”

  1. marty lurie says:

    Jeff congratulations.I was referred to your blog by Lowell. I like your analysis about Swisher and Giambi. My show Right Off The Bat returns for its 12th season this year on 860 AM KTRB Perhaps you would like to be a regular guest during the year talking about your thoughts on the season? Good luck…with the Blog.

    Marty Lurie

  2. BHF says:

    Good luck Jeff. I liked your work at the PD.

  3. Repoz says:

    Hi, Jeff… Repoz here from BTF/Baseball Primer.

    For the past 7-8 years I’ve been running a pre-HOF announcement ballot gathering gizmo.

    I see you’re voting for Rickey. Are you going to reveal the rest of your ballot?


  4. Dave says:

    Jeff, thanks for the background info on these non roster invitees, hopefully we will see them develop over the year.

  5. Jeff Fletcher says:

    Hey Repoz, I will reveal my entire ballot on Monday, the day the results are announced. Didn’t figure I was giving away too much by saying I voted for Rickey.

  6. Repoz says:

    No problem, Jeff.

    I have over 100 full ballots now and it’s starting to take solid hold now.

    Top three % on 100 ballots

    99.0 – Rickey Henderson
    83.0 – Jim Rice
    74.0 – Bert Blyleven

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