The Pittsburgh Pirates announced a large group of non-roster invites to Spring Training on Saturday morning. That group includes first baseman Will Craig, third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, outfielder Bryan Reynolds, right-handed pitchers Tyler Eppler, Geoff Hartlieb, Alex McRae and Eduardo Vera, left-handed pitcher Elvis Escobar, Brandon Waddell and Blake Weiman, and catchers Jason Delay, Christian Kelley and Arden Pabst. These players are in addition to the four minor league free agents that were announced yesterday.
The #Pirates announce the following players have received invites to MLB Spring Training: Will Craig, Ke'Bryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds, Tyler Eppler, Elvis Escobar, Geoff Hartlieb, Alex McRae, Eduardo Vera, Brandon Waddell, Blake Weiman, Jason Delay, Christian Kelley, Arden Pabst
— Tim Williams (@TimWilliamsP2) January 5, 2019
A few of these players have already been to Major League Spring Training. Reynolds, Eppler, McRae and Kelley were in last year’s group. For Kelley, this will be his third Spring Training with the Pirates.
The obvious big names here are third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes and first baseman Will Craig. Hayes is the #2 prospect in the system, while Craig is also among the top ten prospects. That means that ten of the top 12 prospects in the system will be in the Major League camp this year.
We should see many of these players at the winter mini-camp which begins on Monday. We will have live coverage from Pirate City for the first three days of the event.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.