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Twins announce Spring Training non-roster invitees

Who is the NRI that will head north with the club this season?

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Andrew Albers, ca. 2016.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Believe it or not (I totally understand if you don’t believe me considering the cold), Spring Training 2021 is right around the corner. In fact, pitchers and catchers report on Friday (!!!) with full squad workouts to begin next week on Tuesday. In preparation, the Minnesota Twins have released the names of non-roster invitees (NRIs) and minor-league players that will be with the team as depth throughout the spring.

Some names from the NRI list should be familiar:

  • Andrew Albers. The Twins signed the former Twins pitchers to a minors deal last week. The Canadian spent parts of two seasons in Minnesota (2013 and 2016) as well as a very short one-game sting with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015 and a few more games with the Seattle Mariners in 2017. His comeback might be delayed; Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweeted that Albers is still in Canadaland awaiting his work visa.
  • Charlie Barnes. Drafted in 2017 by the Twins, the southpaw put up a 4.88 ERA/5.56 RA9 and a WHIP of 1.557 in 131.0 innings of work across High-A, AA, and AAA in 2019.
  • Danny Coulombe. The lefty was re-signed to a minors deal this past November. He made two appearances for the Twins out of the bullpen in 2020, going 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball. He allowed three walks and struck out three.
  • Brandon Waddell. Another lefty, Waddell was claimed off waivers in October from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He broke the majors with them last season, putting up a 2.70 ERA/3.79 FIP in 3.1 innings of work. He was designated for assignment to make room for Kyle Garlick.
  • Griffin Jax. The right-hander’s numbers in 2019 include a 2.90 ERA/3.39 RA9 in 127.1 innings of work between Pensacola and Rochester.
  • Juan Minaya. Yes, he’s still with Minnesota! I think he was on the big-league roster for two games last season, but didn’t pitch. The 30-year-old has made all of his major-league appearances with the Chicago White Sox.
  • Royce Lewis. The first overall pick of the 2017 draft will work with the major-leaguers again this spring. His 2019 included a .236/.290/.371 (.661) slash line with 12 homers and 49 RBI between Pensacola and Fort Myers. He also played in the Arizona Fall League, posting a much better batting line of .353/.411/.565 (.975) with three home runs and 20 RBI over 22 games.
  • JT Riddle. The utilityman has a career .222/.261/.355 triple-slash with 19 homers and 80 RBI to his name. It’s certain that he will serve as minors depth throughout the season.
  • Trevor Larnach. The first-round pick from the 2018 draft will get another taste of spring with the major-league guys. He slashed .309/.384/.458 with 13 homers and 66 RBI between high-A and AA in 2019.

The minor leaguers should also poke some memory banks. Southpaw Andrew Vasquez has ten total appearances with Minnesota (his 2019 ERA is infinite). Matt Canterino was drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2019 draft. The Twins will get a first-hand look at Aaron Sabato, the first baseman they chose on the first round of the 2020 draft. Finally, Zander Wiel will be in camp for some utility depth. He was also in camp last year and was drafted in 2015.

As LaVelle E Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes, teams are allowed to carry 75 players in camp. With today’s signing of Matt Shoemaker, Minnesota will have 73 players in camp and could add a couple more within a few days.

Are there any candidates from the non-roster invitee list that you think could break camp with the major-league club at the end of Spring Training?