Time to begin our traditional look round the non-roster players present in spring training
But firstly, some personal stuff. Thanks very much for all the kind wishes on my recent illness – yes, even you, ‘Hacks 🙂 [You should have taken me out when I was in this weakened state… Yes, I read them, even if I wasn’t up to responding!]. It wasn’t much fun, but definitely feeling a lot better now than I did. Glad to have got it nipped stuff like the pneumonia nipped in the bud, but will still be taking things a bit gently for a bit. Appreciate everyone behaving nicely in my absence. Normal-ish service should be resumed. At least for some of these players, I can copy/paste what I wrote about them previously – hey, I’m not well, y’know…
Normally a 30-year-old pitcher with a career ERA+ of 125 would get more than a ticket to spring training, but Devenski’s career has fallen off a cliff. His first two years got him a fourth place in Rookie of the Year, then an All-Star appearance, but since then it has been struggles with both health and effectiveness for Chris. Since the start of 2018, he has allowed 23 home-runs in only 120 innings, giving him an ERA of 4.88, more than double his 2016-17 figure (2.38). The team will be hoping Devenski can be fixed at least in the drection of those earlier seasons, in which case he could well see high-leverage work. But he’ll have to prove himself in spring to get the $1 million which comes with a major-league spot.
There was some discussion of Frankoff earlier, because he is like Merrill Kelly, in that he spent a couple of years pitching over in Korea, after making one appearance for the Cubs in 2017. He was with the Doosan Bears in 2018-19, and had a fair degree of success there. He went 27-11 with a 3.68 ERA; for comparison, Kelly was 48-32 with a 3.86 ERA over his four years. If he turns out to be as decent value as Merrill has ended up being, I’ll be fine with that. Frankoff returned to the US for 2020, and had a cup of coffee (2.2 innings) for the Mariners. It wasn’t a success, Seth allowing six hits, two walks and five earned runs, but we’ll see what he brings to the mound for Arizona.
A 14th-round pick in the 2018 draft, Green (pictured, top) split the 2019 season between High-A and Double-A. He excelled at the former level, going 9-1 with a 1.73 ERA for the Visalia Rawhide, but did struggle a bit post promotion, the ERA increasing to 4.28 over eight starts with the Jackson Generals, though with a .373 BABIP, he seems to have been a tad unlucky. It was still enough to win him Arizona’s Minor-League Pitcher of the Year Award, and he was part of the team’s summer camp last year. He had a very high ground-ball rate, and there’s a reason Michael called Green “probably the biggest sleeper in the system”, just a couple of days ago.
A Venezuelan who played for his country in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Navas was originally signed as a teenager by the Athletics, and spent eight years in their minor-league system. He has also been part of the Reds and Giants organization. Navas spent the winter playing ball at home for the Bravos de Margarita, and allowed only one earned run and three hits over 12 relief innings there. However, his arrival at Salt River Fields has been delayed by the not-uncommon affliction of Latin ballplayers: visa problems. [The two Humbertos, Mejia and Castellanos have also been held up]
Roney’s most recent public action came in the 2019 Arizona Fall League where he looked quite impressive, striking out 16 over 11.1 innings, with a 1.59 ERA. That finished a very solid 2019, after he had missed close to two years due to injury. Our siblings at Talking Chop were very impressed, effusing “Pure dominance for Roney, and hopefully a precursor to 2020 as he has a legitimate shot to make it onto an MLB roster as a guy who has always been incredibly difficult to hit when he throws strikes.” Obviously, the events of 2020 did not work in his favor, but maybe 2021 will. Most amused by his Twitter handle: @ThePeppeRoney.