Spring training is officially underway for MLB teams, with both the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues beginning their official games this weekend. And, while each team has its unique storylines, here is a list of five non-roster invites to watch this spring (in no particular order):
- SS Jeter Downs, Red Sox
Downs is a top infield prospect for the Red Sox, who was part of their alternate training camp in the 2020 season in lieu of a minor league season. He spent most of the 2019 season in High-A, with a .861 OPS and 19 home runs. Overall, he is a solid prospect for the White Sox, and even if he does not make the Opening Day roster, it is likely fans will see him make his big league debut at some point during the season.
- 1B Andrew Vaughn, White Sox
Vaughn is easily one of the White Sox’s top prospects and is currently in a battle to be the team’s designated hitter for the upcoming season. Manager Tony La Russa has sung his praises for the first baseman already, calling him a “leading candidate” for the DH role. Vaughn was the third pick in the 2019 draft and slashed .374/.495/.688 in college.
- SS Marco Luciano, Giants
Luciano is arguably one of the best prospects the Giants have seen in a while and is one of the top prospects around the league at this point. At just 19 years old, Luciano has been ranked fourth in the MLB Pipeline for top up and coming shortstop prospects due largely to his bat as seen in the 2019 minor league season where he slashed .302/.417/.564. He spent the 2020 season at the Giants’ alternate training site and finished the year off in the Instructional League.
- RHP Hunter Greene, Reds
The Reds will certainly have their eyes on Greene this spring, as he spent 2020 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery at the Reds’ alternate training site. While at the site, he also developed a new cutter which will be making its official debut during spring training. Greene has not pitched in an official game since 2018, where he was hitting 100mph on his fastball when healthy. He could be finally making his big-league debut this season out of the bullpen, or even starting for the Reds.
- SS C.J. Abrams, Padres
Abrams is one of the top prospects for the Padres, along with LHP MacKenzie Gore. Abrams was the Padres’ sixth overall pick in 2019, and he kicked off his minor league season with a 20-game hitting streak. He was the rookie-level Arizona League MVP that year and was a part of the Padres’ alternate site camp in 2020.