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Arizona Diamondbacks spring training: Names you might not know, non-roster position players edition

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We finish off our look at spring training players, with the non-roster invitees who’ll be playing the field for Arizona

2017 Arizona Diamondbacks Photo Day

As in the previous sections, we exclude non-roster invitees who appeared for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016. In this case, there’s just the one of those, Kristopher Negrón. Negron played at 1B, 2B, SS and LF despite only seeing 14 games. That’s the fewest in a season to cover those four positions in MLB history, breaking the 30-year-old record of 15 games, set by Jeff Kunkel on the 1987 Rangers. Never say this site is not educational... So, with that out of the way, let’s move on the five non-roster invitees who have not worn Sedona Red so far.

Kevin Cron (68)

Though born in California, Cron went to Mountain Pointe High School, here in Phoenix. Kevin still holds the single-season (27 - no-one else has more than 17) and career (60) home-run records for the state at the high-school level. The slugger also hit between 25 and 27 home-runs each of the last three seasons in the minors, and improved his OPS by 139 points in 2017, repeating Double-A. This year, the 24-year-old batted .283/.357/.497 for an OPS of .854, and was named the Diamondbacks organizational player of the year. Just a shame he plays first-base, a position where the team don’t exactly need help right now... Fun fact: Seems to like pedicures... :)

Ramón Flores (70)

After seven years in the minors, Flores finally reached the majors in 2015. He has appeared in the majors each of the last three years, with the Yankees, Brewers and Angels respectively, though 2016 was the only time he saw significant time. The Venezuelan-born Flores also spent time with the Mariners’ organization in 2015, until a broken and ended his season. The outfielder’s career numbers at the MLB level aren’t very good: just .204/.281/.256 over 331 PA, for an OPS+ of 45. But he has a career line of .294/.387/.452 over 1,179 PA at the Triple-A level, and a good reputation defensively and for plate discipline. Fun fact: His .409 OBP was second in the PCL last year.

Michael Perez (75)

The catcher has been slowly making his way through our system since being picked in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. Last year was spent mostly at Double-A Jackson, where he hit .279/.365/.424 for a .789 OPS, and was rated by Baseball America as the best defensive catcher in our system. This had Nick Piecoro describe Perez in November as “positioned for a big league gig,” though the signing of Alex Avila may have back-burnered that for 2018. Perez was with the Salt River Rafters in the recent AFL campaign, though managed only a .502 OPS over 16 games there. Fun fact: Here’s his first Triple-A home-run, hit for the Aces on September 1st.

César Puello (71)

Spent time with the Rangers, Angels and Rays last year, making his MLB debut for Los Angeles on August 9 after more than 3,000 plate-appearances in the minor-leagues (coincidentally, Puello’s first hit in the majors drove in C.J. Cron, who is the brother of Kevin!). Had a strong PCL campaign, batting .327 with a .903 OPS, but that did not translate to the majors where he hit .206 without an extra-base knock. Not-so fun fact: Originally a quite highly-regarded prospect, he was suspended for 50 games in August 2013, due to a relationship with the infamous Biogenesis clinic in Miami, and has struggled to recapture the same luster since.

Josh Thole (9)

The most-experienced of this bunch, Thole has 478 major-league games under his belt between 2009 and 2016, for the Mets and Blue Jays. He signed a minor-league deal with Arizona last January, but then tore a hamstring during spring training on March 8, and the resulting surgery led to him missing the entire season. Hopefully he’ll make it through the Cactus League this year. Probably the only non-roster invitee this season with an Urban Dictionary entry., back in 2012 Thole fell victim to a novel variant on the “hidden ball” trick. Fun fact: lives in the Highland neighborhood of Denver, where he and his wife have been renovating their Victorian house.