While most of the Non-Roster Invites at Twins’ spring training may elicit a reaction of “Who?” when their names pop up on your phone (or in print), most of these minor-leaguers won’t be with the big-leaguers at camp for much longer (if they’re even still around when this gets posted). Let’s appreciate the few that have set themselves apart with some awards.
The “Crash Davis” Award: Drew Maggi
Criteria: Most minor league experience without more than a cup of coffee in the majors
The soon-to-be 31-year-old infielder has compiled a whopping 958 minor league games without a single appearance in the bigs. Additionally, Maggi is something of a scrapper: he received the maximum penalty of nine players suspended for brawling in 2019 World Baseball Classic regional play. He was suspended for 12 games while on team Italy, where he was coached by none other than the notorious Little Nicky Punto.
Mr. Immaculate: Gabriel Maciel
Criteria: Perfect OBP or ERA
The 21-year-old outfield prospect has played in two games this spring, with one plate appearance in each. He has one double and one walk, good for an OBP of 1.000, a Slugging Percentage of 2.000, and so an OPS of an eye-popping 3.000. Small sample sizes are fun.
The “Tom Kelly” Batting Practice Award: Jonathan Cheshire
Criteria: A pitcher with an ERA similar to that of a batting practice pitcher (Tom Kelly, because of this photo)
In one appearance, the 25-year-old faced 7 batters. He retired two, gave up hits to two, and walked three (0.2 IP). He allowed 3 ER in his less than one inning pitched, leading to an ERA of 40.50. Not 4.05, but 40.50.
The “Pat Dean” Award: Zander Wiel
Criteria: Best Spoonerism among NRI’s
I awarded the Pat Dean Award to Zander Wiel for his spoonerism being a synonym with a popular word. “Wander Ziel” (or “Wander Zeal”) wins this award due to its similarity to the word “Wanderlust”.
The “Alphabet Soup” Award (NRI MVP): Alex Kirilloff
Criteria: NRI who was the best performance in a sample size larger than 5 appearances
One of the top prospects in the Twins organization, Kirilloff has lived up to the hype this spring. As of 3/9 at 11:00 AM, Kirilloff has slashed .500/.529/.938, good for a 1.467 OPS. He also has two home runs and has accomplished this over the course of 17 plate appearances.
Who else do you think deserved a made-up award among the NRI’s? Let me know in the comments below!