Pittsburgh Pirates Announce Non-Roster Invites to Spring Training

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced some non-roster invites on Monday morning. We gave a list of players invited during the winter mini-camp two weeks ago, but some have been added, including a new free agent signing.

Among the players not on our list, infielders Pablo Reyes and Cole Tucker, outfielders Jason Martin and Bryan Reynolds, pitchers Brett McKinney, Tyler Jones and Damien Magnifico and catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who is a new signing. Reynolds and Martin were the only two players traded for last week who weren’t on the 40-man roster. The other four in those trades get automatic invites due to their roster status. Magnifico was selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft.

There still could be more added before Spring Training begins.  The one absence from our list to this list is Montana DuRapau, which may be due to his 50 game suspension over the weekend. It wouldn’t be surprising if the suspension caused his invite to be rescinded.

Ryan Lavarnway is a 30-year-old catcher, who has played parts of six seasons in the majors, though he has played just six big league games over the last two years. He spent most of last year in Triple-A, where he put up a .668 OPS over 82 games in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Lavarnway split the 2016 between Double-A and Triple-A for the Braves. Over his big league career, he has a .201/.262/.318 slash line in 140 games. He was once considered a top 100 prospect due to his power potential and his defense, which improved greatly from the time he was drafted. In 2012, he was voted the best defensive catcher in the International League.

This NRI announcement from the Pirates, also serves as the signing announcements for a few players. Jin-De Jhang and Casey Sadler were re-signed back in October as minor league free agents. We covered Tyler Jones and Bo Schultz back on January 5th. Schultz was at the winter mini-camp, Jones was not. It’s also the announcement for Jackson Williams re-signing and John Stilson signing, which we reported back on December 19th.

Here’s the full list (click to embiggen):

  • I can’t get over looking at that roster graphic and seeing infielders ‘NEWMAN’ and ‘KRAMER’ and thinking of Seinfeld.

  • Heh…John said – embiggen.

  • I’m very excited to get to see Tucker and the new acquisitions, and also my boy Newman, but I cannot overstate my excitement about DAMIEN MAGNIFICO.

  • I would expect our PP coverage will include
    everything on Bryan Reynolds in spring training
    except when he goes poop. I would think he
    may be the most followed player in the spring.

    • piraterican21
      January 22, 2018 4:52 pm

      May I ask why you feel that way? I will not be disappointed if we didn’t read more than a paragraph!

      • I want to see what we got for the
        “face of the PBC.”

        • I think Moran is the one most folks will be focusing on. He’s the one who we’ll know soonest if he’ll pay off.

  • hey we finally got lavarnway. how fun

  • I like the embiggen reference

  • justinblain1996
    January 22, 2018 12:26 pm

    I wonder if Keller didn’t receive an invite because with all the other pitchers, he won’t get any innings or if they feel its to early for him to get an invite?

    • It could be about the innings, but I wouldn’t count out the invites being done, so he still may go. It is a little surprising because he’s at the point where most prospects get their first invite. It’s also possible that you see him in a regular game as one of the guys who come over from the minor league side, though he would be guaranteed to get his work and not the normal filler.

  • goodness Tucker looks like he should still be in high school on that photo.

  • The Pirates have a pitcher named Dick Rod(riguez).

  • Lavarnway is an interesting guy. He put up a lot of big numbers first 3-4 years in minors then just fizzled to the point it almost seems impossible how much his hitting has tailed off.

    • I didn’t look into previous years, but he only played 108 games total between 2014-15, so there were probably some injuries. Add in age, wear and tear on catchers and you could get a drop-off like that.

      EDITED: Just checked and he had hamate surgery back in 2014

      • Yes. He has really declined. He put up huge power numbers and on base and k’d way less multiple seasons. You would think he would have at least been a .650 or so OPS guy in the MLB at least but it never happened. OPS per level: AA: .830, AAA: .785, Minors: .821 He hit everywhere he played until he was 27.

    • Same birthday as Sidney Crosby, 8/7/87. Obvious parallels

    • A good camp could make him the opening day backup catcher. 140 games of ML experience will probably carry some weight with Hurdle.
      Edit: Diaz is out of options so that greatly reduces Lavarnway’s chances.

  • I’m just pumped for the Pablo Reyes breakout, to be honest

    • I’ve been waiting for it since his DSL days. From his 2013 report:

      “Reyes might just be the best pure hitter either Pirates DSL team had this year. He has incredible hand-eye coordination at the plate and makes solid consistent contact, showing some big power at times from a small frame. This was the second year in a row that he hit well, but this season was just a little better all around than his rookie season last year. Reyes also has excellent speed and can steal some bases. His size (5’10, 150 pounds) and lack of strong defense limited his ranking. He has been known to take bad at-bats with him out into the field.”