javier baez daytona cubsToday the Chicago Cubs formally announced their non-roster invites to Spring Training this year, and it includes many of the names we already knew – namely, the guys recently signed on minor league deals – and also some prospect names we didn’t yet know.

The big name on the list is Javier Baez.

Now, before you go gettin’ crazy, prospects are frequently invited to Spring Training for a variety of reasons – it isn’t always about “this is a guy who could make the 25-man roster in April.” Sometimes it’s to give him a brief taste of the caliber of players he’ll be around in the future. Sometimes it’s to give him different instruction in the Spring. And sometimes it’s a reward.

That said, it’s pretty rare for the Cubs to give a big league Spring Training invite to a kid who is years away from the bigs. Take this invite together with his recent participation in the Cubs’ rookie development camp (which was geared to be a get-you-ready-for-the-big-leagues kind of thing), and it’s quite obvious that the Cubs see Baez’s potential big league time line as including some part of 2013. Again: heavy emphasis on potential. I doubt anyone expects Baez to make the big league team, even as a September call-up (he’s not on the 40-man roster). But the Cubs are clearly bracing for the possibility that he plays himself right up the ladder this year. Seeing him in 2014 is becoming almost expected at this point.

The only other prospects who got an invite are pitchers Barret Loux and Nick Struck (but, keep in mind, many of the Cubs’ other prospects are already on the 40-man roster). Minor league catchers Michael Brenly and Rafael Lopez were also invited, but they’re pretty borderline, insofar as prospectdom is concerned.

The full list of non-roster invites, 22 in all:

Pitchers: Drew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, Casey Coleman, Dayan Diaz, Jensen Lewis, Barret Loux, Blake Parker, Zach Putnam, Nick Struck, Hisanori Takahashi, and Cory Wade.

Catchers: J.C. Boscan, Michael Brenly and Rafael Lopez.

Infielders: Javier Baez, Alberto Gonzalez, Brent Lillibridge, Edwin Maysonet and Brad Nelson.

Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Johermyn Chavez and Darnell McDonald.

Of the non-roster invites, most of the pitchers have a legit shot of cracking the roster (though only a couple spots are open in the bullpen). Of the position players, the guys to watch as possibilities are Lillibridge, Maysonet, Bogusevic, and McDonald. Lillibridge probably has the best shot out of that foursome.

  • Bea Arthur’s husband

    Is Marlo. Byrd on the deer PEDs?

    Anyway, seeing Casey Coleman on that list makes my heart sink. No team will ever win a tie with him on the roster.

    He’s my Newman.

  • Bea Arthur’s husband

    Anyway, seeing Casey Coleman on that list makes my heart sink. No team will ever win a title with him on the roster. (Many of you probably seem him a helpful role and are probably right).

    He’s my Newman. What can I say?

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I’m a little surprised Soler isn’t getting an invite. I think he’s a little more likely to reach Chicago in 2013 than Baez.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      He’s on the 40-man.

  • ActionJackson

    Baez is being invited for the experience and the competition and to see how he adjusts so when he goes back he has a feeling of what he needs to work on. It is also a great experience that humbles players like Baez. Will make him realize there are alot of things to work on. I think it is a great idea.

  • cubzforlife

    Gracie punishment is 4 months in work release. Not becoming someones bitch. These work release centers don’t house lifers and sexual predators. The other guys will all be on similar sentences and the last thing they want is to get in trouble.Give the guy a break. His hardest task will be finding a job. Maybe a starter at a golf course?