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Spring Training 2013: Non-Roster Invitees With Great Names

Spring Training is upon us, thank goodness, and there is baseball to be seen.  MLB.tv is in full swing and might be the greatest technological advancement of all time until Google starts augmenting reality and we begin living in a real-life science fiction movie (happening).  Anyone can see any team from anywhere.  It’s wonderful to see live baseball, poorly timed swings, and poorly chosen facial hair (here, for example).  The real fun comes in the sheer NUMBER of players involved in this magical time of year.  Sure, the games are therefore often mismatched in terms of competition and sure, some games end in ties (which is gross, but understandable).  But as someone who prides myself on having a widespread knowledge of the most intimately useless knowledge of baseball, Spring Training always serves as a magical time to discover some truly obscure players and some stupendous names.  You might not have had the time to look over the spring training rosters, so I did (thanks, wikipedia!) and culled the best and oddest names I came across, limiting the search for Non-Roster invitees only for the sake of rarity.  Sorry L.J. Hoes – you have my favorite name of the spring, but you’re a 40-man roster man.  Without further ado, some of the most interesting non-roster invitees of the spring:

Gary Sánchez   C   NYY

Though NOT affiliated with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay in ANY way, the name warranted inclusion.  He’s actually a solid prospect.

Slade Heathcott   OF   NYY

Do you know any non-fictional person named Slade?  Exactly.

Matt Buschmann   SP   TB

I’m more of a Coors man, myself.

Brock Bond   IF   SF

Simply an awesome baseball name.  Sounds like one a video game would generate.

Kevin Quackenbush   P   SD

You are welcome.

J. B. Shuck   OF   LAA

Oddly, speaks fluent jive

Kyle Knudson & Dan Rohlfing   C   MIN


Great names.  More to the point, great MLB catcher names.

Adam Weisenburger   C    MIL


Made me think of this (one of my favorite scenes ever).

Nick Struck   P   CHC

I await the day where we can see N. Struck and J. Outman in a boxscore.

Wirfin Obispo   P   ATL

Considering naming my first-born Wirfin.

Yangervis Solarte   IF   TEX

From the club that gives you Elvis…

Sugar Ray Marimon   P   KC

Can’t decide between jokes here.  I just wanna fly?  Something about frosted tips?


Josh Booty (yes, him)   Knuckleballer   ARZ

Josh Booty

Heh, booty.  Booty-Booty-Booty-Booty Kunckin’ everywhere?  Anyone?


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Filed under Baseball, catchers, Closers, Fantasy Baseball, first base, JUAN URIBE, MLB, Posted, Rookies, second base, shortstop, Sleepers, Spring Training, third base

UPDATE: Rauch is Twins’ Closer

Updating a previous item, it took Ron Gardenhire only 5 days to change his mind and name Jon Rauch the Twins’ closer.  It was just this past Sunday that Gardy had stated his intention to use Rauch, Matt Guerrier, Jose Mijares, and Jesse Crain as closers-by-committee to begin the 2010 season.  Obviously at this point it would be a good idea to take whatever Gardy says with a grain of salt, but if Rauch starts off the regular season hot then it will become safer to drop the other “committee members.”


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The Twins Closer Situation

Gardy today gave a little clarity to the Twins closing situation in the wake of  Joe Nathan’s season ending Tommy John surgery, saying that Jon Rauch will NOT be the Twinkies’ primary 9th inning guy.  Instead, each of Rauch, Matt Guerrier, Jose Mijares, and Jesse Crain will get opportunities early in the season.  This is contrary to reports that the Twins were after Blue Jays closer Jason Frasor, although the report never mentions the possibility of the trade. still coming to fruition.  Additionally, while Gargenhire had previously stated that Francisco Liriano was a candidate due to his dominating stuff, Liriano publicly stated his desire to be a starter and Gardy seems to have acquiesced to his request.  Right now, I would handicap the closer priority list as Rauch, Mijares, Guerrier, and Crain.  Rauch pitched well last year but lacks the overpowering stuff Gardy looks for in a closer (since he’s been spoiled for years by Nathan).  Mijares has the stuff and will definitely be the go-to guy when an opponent’s order is lefty-heavy in the 9th (.83 WHIP vs. lefties in 2009), but struggled against righties last year (1.55 WHIP), most likely limiting him to platoon duty.  Guerrier really lacks the power stuff (5.54 K/9) but gets results, and would make a Ryan Franklin-style closer.  Crain brings a good fastball/slider combo (94.7 MPH on the FB), and was once called the Twins’ closer of the future, but fell out of favor last year and was even optioned to AAA at one point.  In a deep league, grab as many of these guys as you can afford to roster until the situation becomes more clear.  In a shallow league though, I would still go with Rauch, based on the mythical “experience” in the closer role and intimidation factor he offers (6’11” and tatted out of his mind).


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Blue Jays Tab Frasor as Closer- Fantasy Implications

Gaston has tabbed Jason Frasor as the closer for Toronto.  This is a very interesting move for several reasons.  First, the Jays signed Kevin Gregg this offseason. Second, Scott Downs was very effective in the 9th inning last year.  All signs indicated to Gregg getting the job or the Jays going with a closer by committee.  Naming Frasor as the closer is clearly a move to showcase him for a trade.  He was very solid last season in relief and certainly has the stuff to close.  Ever since Joe Nathan went down, the Twins have been in the market for a closer.  Frasor is certainly a man of interest for Minnesota.  Make sure to watch this situation as a trade could also increase the value of Gregg and/or Downs.

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