A Few Notable Notes on Dodgers’ 2020 Spring Training NRI List

Jordan Sheffield - Los Angeles Dodgers 2017 spring training (Bill Mitchell)
(Baseball Prospectus photo)

If you happened to miss the news on Thursday afternoon, the Dodgers announced their list of 21 non-roster players who were invited to the big league side of spring training, which happened to be the exact number of NRIs the team welcomed to camp in 2019.

In 2018, the team invited 24 players to major league camp who were not part of the 40-man roster.

Among this year’s invitees were three catchers, four infielders, five outfielders and nine pitchers.

Catchers—Rocky Gale, Jose Lobaton, Connor Wong

Infielders—Jacob Amaya, Jeter Downs, Omar Estevez, Cristian Santana

Outfielders—Anthony Garcia, Connor Joe, Jeren Kendall, Zach Reks, Cody Thomas

Pitchers—Brett de Geus, Josiah Gray, Reymin Guduan, Marshall Kasowski, Kyle Lobstein, Zach McAllister, Edubray Ramos, Jordan Sheffield, Edwin Uceta

Estevez is the only returning player who was invited from last year’s group not currently part of the club’s 40-man roster. Notable players who were among the 2019 NRIs but were not invited this year include Joe Broussard and Jake Peter.

The NRI veteran crew includes Gale, Lobaton, Lobstein, Ramos, Guduan and Garcia.

With Keibert Ruiz presumably not quite ready for big league, regular season action, Gale may conceivably be the first catcher called up in the event to an injury to either Will Smith or Austin Barnes.

The 30-year-old Lobstein has not thrown a pitch in the majors since the 2016 season with the Pirates. Last year, he threw for Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League on the Oakland farm. In 2018, the Dodgers snagged the lefty starter as a minor league free agent.

Ramos is a hard-throwing righty reliever who spent last season with the Phillies. Last season, the 27-year-old Venezuelan native made 20 appearances at the major league level, posting a 5.40 ERA with 11 strikeouts over an even 11 innings of work.

Guduan, a reliever capable of hitting triple digits, was suspended for a “disciplinary issue” for the second half of the season last year for the Astros and was subsequently DFA’d in September. The Dodgers signed the Dominican native to a minor league deal in December.

Among several notable prospects to watch are Downs, Santana, Reks, de Geus, Gray, Kasowski and Sheffield. Both Santana and Sheffield were Rule 5 eligible at the draft during 2019’s winter meetings, but neither were snagged by rival teams.

In the 2019 Arizona Fall League, the 21-year-old de Geus appeared in eight games and did not surrender an earned run. Over 9-1/3 innings pitched, the righty allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out an impressive 11 batters.

Not far behind teammate Gavin Lux, Downs was recently ranked among the Top 10 shortstops in baseball.

Arguably, Kasowski might currently be the top reliever on the Los Angeles farm.

Across two levels of the farm last season, Reks slashed .291/.385/.536 with 28 homers, 21 doubles and 93 RBI over 121 games. The 26-year-old lefty hitter earned Texas League Player of the Week honors in late April and was eventually honored as a milb.com organizational All-Star.

In 26 appearances last season between Low-A Great Lakes, High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Tulsa, Gray finished with an 11-2 record and a 2.70 ERA with 147 strikeouts against just 31 walks. The team named the New York native the 2019 Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year last September.


43 thoughts on “A Few Notable Notes on Dodgers’ 2020 Spring Training NRI List

  1. Brett de Geus was also stingy giving up extra bases in the 2019 season. No home runs. No Triples and only two doubles (which can be credited to Loons and Quakes defense).

    Liked by 3 people

  2. During my annual weekend in Glendale last spring, I had a chance to see Estevez a couple of times against MLB competition and came away impressed. Do I think he can beat out Lux and Downs for a starting spot at short or second. No, but I still think he could have a decent career even if it’s for another organization. Hope I have a chance to see deGeus and Gray this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Might be they invited some of these guys as a showcase for a trade at the deadline. Kendall’s stock is down right now and unless he can find a way to cut down on his strikeouts, he is not long for this organization. Broussard is getting a little long in the tooth to be considered a prospect anymore. Me thinks they might start grooming Santana as a closer.


  4. I gotta ask, so I beg forgiveness up front.

    My very first girlfriend was named Lydia. First grade, Blue Ridge Elementary School. I was in love. I gave her my marble collection and my father never let me forget it. He teased me about Lydia into his 90s. Lydia, is that you and if so do you still have my marbles?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Let’s be clear… I didn’t lose them, I gave them to Lydia. Now, she may have lost them, or worse yet she may have given them to Rory Grounds, in which case I’d like an explanation. I do look forward to hearing from her.


  5. What a letdown. You must be devastated Scoop. Just want you to know I’m here for you.
    In the meanwhile, I guess you’ll continue your search for your lost marbles which you didn’t lose but gave away.
    While we’re at it, maybe we could be of some help to Congress. I was briefly watching this morning and apparently they’re looking for a couple of guys named Hy Krimes and Mr. Meaners. Anybody seen them? I believe the Dems are convinced they know their whereabouts but the Republicans haven’t seen them.


    1. All I will say is, one side of the aisle has definitely lost it’s marbles, it is pretty evident to those who have eyes and ears. Yikes, what an embarrassment and disservice to the USA


    2. Well, it was a painful memory. Thanks Lydia. I was looking forward to catching up, after all, it’s been about 65 years.

      But, life without marbles goes on.

      I watched a few minutes too Jefe. No comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reposted here for Jeff:

    First of all, thanks for the kind words.

    Here’s the thing. I really don’t know much. I don’t know how much Arendado would be worth without a no-trade list, much less WITH a no-trade and an opt-out AND being unhappy too.

    I have no clue at all. From what I’ve read, the guys behind that web-app do.

    I can only use what I have.


    1. If I understand the concept of the site correctly, what you wound up with is what they consider approximately equal value for each team. Are you sure you had the numbers correct? Are you saying that they consider Bummer to have equal value to Arenado PLUS Dunning? And that Ruiz has equal value to Arenado/Dunning and to Bummer? None of that makes much sense to me, but of course I’m a Shlemming so what do I know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jesus suggested a trade yesterday using the baseballtradevalues.com metrics. This is what they came up with.
        Rockies get:
        Aaron Bummer
        White Sox get:
        K. Ruiz
        Dodgers get:

        I’m assuming that Bunning is a typo and should be Dunning.

        I was saying that I couldn’t believe the Rox would do that in a million years.


      2. I realize that it’s the website that sets the values and I’m sure they’ve put a lot of work into trying to make it fair and reasonable but in what universe do the Rox trade Arenado and a pitcher and wind up with just Aaron Bummer?


      3. It appears to be nonsense Jefe. Somebody made a mistake. Nolan Arenado is worth at least 8 WAR before he can opt out. Bummer has had one good year out of 3 and even if he did repeat his one good year, which he won’t, Bridich would NEVER do a deal like that. Jesus, who I know fairly well, knows better than that. The Rockies would listen to a deal including Ruiz and Pederson, which could produce 6 WAR in Colorado (not right away) but they would clearly ask for more.


  7. There are some guys on another site advocating that the Dodgers sign Castellanos if they can get rid of either Taylor or Kike. Now, in my mind, this might help the offense some, but it definitely weakens the defense in the outfield. It also weakens the bench. Again, that is my take.


      1. Now that my friend is really wishful thinking. And I do believe that keeping both Kike and Taylor is a little redundant.


    1. Even more wishful. Just how many prospects do you think the Dodgers have? Cole is a definite no no since he has a full no trade. deGrom would depend on how well the Mets are doing at the deadline. Are they contenders or pretenders?


      1. We all be joking there Bear. We know we aren’t getting those guys. But we don’t need them. We are going to be the best in the West and we won’t lose to Washington again. Bring on the Yankees!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Where’s Jesus? I’d like him to run another trade scenario with Arenado. I went to that site and had difficulty with it. Arenado, outside Colorado, with a no trade and an opt out. Maybe all he is worth is one relief pitcher. That would be a Bummer.


    1. The app is awesome. It’s probably putting too much negative pressure on Arenando’s value vis-a-vis the no trade and opt-out, but I think it’s 10x more valuable than the idle speculation of the uninformed.


  9. Colorado is close to extending Story, and Arenado cooled his jets a little the other day. Congrats to Kersh on the birth of a new kiddie. Cody in NY to get his MVP and FanFest gleaming cash from the blue faithful by the truckload. Padres making a serious push for Betts. They have the farm system that could get it done. Dodgers were the only team told to keep mum about the cheating scandal. Why? Makes no sense to me. 61 players coming to camp. Not sure if AF signs anyone else.


  10. Just heard AF giving an interview and he said the following with regard to the 2020 pitching staff.
    Going into ST it looks as though they figure the starters will be Buehler, Kershaw, Maeda, Urias and one of Wood/Nelson. Made it sound like May would get a good look in Glendale but my impression was that he’ll start the year at OKC and won’t be kept in the bullpen. Gonsolin could stay or go to OKC depending on what he shows in ST and how the rest of the bullpen comes together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They have been showing that interview on twitter too. A little more time in OKC won’t hurt May at all. He played at 3 levels last year. If Nelson is healthy, he can be a real asset. I think they are anxious to see how Wood throws in the spring and if he is really over his back problems. AF was also saying he does not think the Astros have been contrite enough in the case of the cheating scandal and they have not directly apologized to the Dodgers. In fact only one player has said anything, and it sounded less than sincere. But all the players agree, they do not want the title handed to them. Taylor stated he is tired of talking about it, but the media, and especially the press in LA will just not let it go.


    1. You may be right about that. Won’t be enough.

      And I wish to take issue with you regarding my uniformed speculation. It’s hardly idle. I spend a lot of time and effort working on it.


  11. Dodger Fan Fest was today at the Stadium. SportsNet LA covered it for 3 of the 5 hours. Sorry you couldn’t all watch it because there is nothing better to raise spirits after a long winter than to see your favorite players interviewed and then catch some of the new guys who all tell you that they love what they see in the Dodger organization. That goes from the guys who are their new teammates to the way the team takes care of them in all aspects of their game. Very easy to get optimistic when watching all of that.


      1. Actually a lot of them might be happy there were no major roster upgrades or it could have cost them their spot on the roster. By the way, Gonsolin cut his long hair and now has a nice beard. Much better look as far as I’m concerned.


      2. Nobody said anything that would get them in trouble but they made it clear that they weren’t happy that the Astros cheated their way to the title. I didn’t hear anyone say that they should be awarded the championship but a few guys said they thought the 2017 title should be vacated. Turner (as usual) spoke very eloquently on the subject.


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