1/15/2008 02:25:00 PM

Yankees Invite 26 More To Party

Posted by Mark McCray |

Chad Jennings had an amazing run down of the 26 non-roster Spring Training invitees on his Blog. Make sure you click the link in this post to visit his site, bookmark it, and visit it (there is also a link in the left sidebar).

Here is Chad's outlook on the invitees and which players have a chance to make it with the big boys.

C Kyle Anson, 24 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: High-A Tampa
Comments: Converted third baseman in camp to handle the extra pitchers. Should be one of the first cuts.

C Jason Brown, 33 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: Double-A Trenton
Comments: As nice a guy as you'll ever meet, but no more than an organizational player. Could start the season at Double-A or Triple-A, whereever the Yankees need him. Like last year, he could stay in big league camp for a long time to help the pitchers.

INF Bernie Castro, 28 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Slim, but not out of the question
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: Has big league experience and could challenge for the big league bench, but he's never played first, third or shortstop. More likely the starting second baseman in Triple-A.

OF Justin Christian, 27 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Almost none
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: Best chance of making the Show is to make a strong impression during spring training, then start the year hot in Triple-A and get a lucky break (injury and/or a slow start for the other outfielders).

OF Colin Curtis, 22 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: Double-A Trenton
Comments: Had a nice year in 2007 and could be in line for a mid-season promotion to Triple-A in 2008.

INF Eric Duncan, 23 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None, barring a remarkable return to grace
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: Duncan was better in '07 than he was in '06, now he has to keep making strides in Triple-A. Absolutely cannot afford a setback, whether because of injury or poor numbers. Looks like a make or break year, even though he's just 23.

OF Brett Gardner, 24 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Very slim
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: Getting to New York during the season is very much a possibility, but making the team out of spring training would be tough to do. Gardner would have to have a monster spring training, Shelley Duncan and Jason Lane would have to be terrible, and Gardner might still need an injury to either Melky Cabrera or Johnny Damon. He still needs some Triple-A seasoning.

RHP Dan Giese, 30 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Slim, but not out of the question
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: I watched this guy pitch for four years and Yankees fans will love him because he throws strikes. Giese made his major league debut last season, and he could contend for a big league spot this season as well. But it seems more likely that he'll make a return to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where even as a reliever, he's top 10 in franchise history in wins.

INF Nick Green, 29 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Pretty good
Likely desitnation: New York
Comments: I'm picking Green to win the big league utility job. I'm not sure he's any better than Alberto Gonzalez, but Gonzalez has upside and the Yankees might as well let Green sit the big league bench while Gonzalez plays everyday in Triple-A.

RHP Alan Horne, 25 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Not out of the question
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: It's going to be a free-for-all for the big league bullpen, and Horne will be in the mix. Unless he dominates, though, the Yankees would probably be better served letting Horne pitch out of the Triple-A rotation to see if he can duplicate last year's outstanding Double-A numbers.

OF Austin Jackson, 20 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: Double-A Trenton
Comments: Jackson finally turned his athleticism into baseball results last season, and there's no way the Yankees are going to risk pushing him too quickly just when he's becoming a legitimate prospect.

RHP Steven Jackson, 25 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: I suppose there's a chance
Likely destination: Double-A Trenton
Comments: Jackson struggled early last season, then seemed to put some things together late in the year. Unless something unthinkable happens, he'll start the year in either Double-A or Triple-A. I'm picking Double-A strictly because of the sheer number of Triple-A relief options, but I certainly won't rule out Jackson earning a spot with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He's got plenty of talent, just has to prove he's moved past last season.

OF Jason Lane, 31 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Good, not great
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: If Shelley Duncan struggles, Lane could win a spot on the New York bench. Otherwise, my guess is Lane will be starting in right field and hitting somewhere in the middle of the order at PNC Field on April 3.

RHP Dan McCutchen, 25 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: Double-A Trenton
Comments: I'll be honest, I'm not sure what's going to happen with McCutchen. Don't know if he'll start or relieve. Don't know if he'll be in Triple-A or Double-A. My guess is he'll start in the Double-A rotation, but that the Yankees won't hesitate to move him to the bullpen if it will get him on the fast track to New York. Could be this year's Ross Ohlendorf.

RHP Mark Melancon, 22 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: High-A Tampa
Comments: Coming back from surgery, the Yankees seem likely to let Melancon start the season in the warm air of Tampa before a quick promotion to either Double-A or Triple-A. My guess is he'll pitch at all three levels this season, with a chance of eventually getting to New York. But he won't be there in April.

C Jesus Montero, 18 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: Low-A Charleston
Comments: The Yankees will get a look at the future, then send him back to the minor league complex to beat up on guys three and four years older.

LHP Heath Phillips, 25 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Slim, but not out of the question
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: Could be a left-handed relief option, but Phillips will more likely round out the Triple-A rotation.

C P.J. Pilittere, 26 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: Looks like Pilittere is the leading candidate to start behind the plate in Triple-A, but I wouldn't rule out a late veteran addition.

OF Greg Porter, 27 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: Free agent addition could start in Double-A or come off the bench in Triple-A. I'm better on the later.

INF Cody Ransom, 31 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Better than you might think
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: My guess is that Ransom becomes the starting third baseman for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but I also think he has a pretty good shot at a big league utility job. He can play all four infield positions -- he's been primarily a shortstop in his career -- and he has a ton of right-handed power. Not a bad option.

RHP Darrell Rasner, 27 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Very good
Likely destination: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Comments: By the time you read this, I probably will have changed my mind again and decided Rasner will make the big league bullpen. At the time I'm writing this, though, I'm guessing he'll end up back in Triple-A. No, nevermind, he'll make the big leagues. Nope, h's going to Triple-A. No,wait ...

C Austin Romine, 19 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: Short season Staten Island
Comments: With Montero seeming to be on track for Low-A Charleston, Romine might stick around for extended spring training and begin his season mid-summer. I could be wrong, though.

RHP Scott Strickland, 31 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Solid
Likely destination: Free agency
Comments: Here's my thinking: I don't see Strickland making the big league bullpen, and given the wealth of young relief options, I don't see the Yankees actually needing or wanting him in Triple-A. My guess is Strickland is in camp to try to win a big league job, and he'll bolt if he doesn't. Again, I could be wrong. I'm just guessing.

OF Jose Tabata, 19 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: Double-A Trenton
Comments: I won't lie, I'm really hoping Tabata gets off to an amazing start in Trenton and forces a mid-season promotion to Triple-A. I really want to see the kid hit.

LHP Billy Traber, 27 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: Very good
Likely destination: New York
Comments: If the Yankees decide to carry a left-handed reliever, the job should come down to Traber or Sean Henn. And while I'm not as down on Henn as most people, but I also think Traber's left-handed splits are good enough to win that job.

INF Marcos Vechionacci, 21 years old
Chance of breaking camp with New York: None
Likely destination: Double-A Trenton
Comments: For all the times Eric Duncan gets knocked as a lost cause, it might be time for some of that negativity to fall on Vechionacci. He's obviously talented, but he needs to start getting results. A .366 High-A slugging percentage isn't cutting it.

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