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Arizona Diamondbacks Non-roster Invitees 2020: Part 3

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Let’s look at some of the position players who’ll be at Salt River Fields this week

2019 Arizona Fall League Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Seth Beer

Part of the return from Houston in the Zack Greinke trade, it’s not clear yet where Seth will settle. After the deal, he played left-field for AA Jackson. But in the Arizona Fall League, he occupied first-base, and was the only Diamondbacks prospect named to the All-Arizona Fall League Team, after batting .315. The problem is, that’s a position where we have no shortage of long-term depth - starting with Christian Walker, who is under team control through the end of 2024. Kevin Cron and Pavin Smith are also contending for the same spot on the diamond. But if Seth (pictured, above) makes it to the majors, there’s no doubt that the “Beer” jerseys will be flying off the shelves at the team shop

Ben DeLuzio

Originally selected out of high-school in the third round by the Marlins, DeLuzio didn’t sign, and his stock plummeted to the point where he went undrafted out of college. The D-backs eventually picked him up, and he spent last year with Jackson and Reno. The center fielder is known for his speed, Reno manager Chris Cron calling DeLuzio’s speed “off the charts,” saying, “I think he’s one of the fastest I’ve ever seen.” Back at Florida State, Ben was timed from first-base to home in 9.84 seconds, beating the mark set by some guy called Deion Sanders. I must confess, my first thought was “I could do that”, until I realized this meant via second and third, rather than jogging down the first-base line...

Drew Ellis

Our second-round pick in the 2017 draft, going 44th overall, Ellis hit only .235 for Jackson this year, but did swat fourteen home-runs. However, it wasn’t enough to prevent him from dropping out of Michael’s Top 30 prospects list, having been ranked ninth the previous season. Fangraphs ranked him #33 this winter, also down from #20 in May. Part of that is due to the strong draft class added to the system in 2019, but it is likely true to say that his stock has also dropped. A strikeout rate that increased from 19.5% to 24.2% is a concern, though a 14% walk rate is good, and Ellis’s 63 bases on balls did lead the Generals last year. He’ll need a good showing this season to rebuild his potential.

John Hicks

The catcher/first-baseman has accumulated 254 major-league appearances across the last five seasons, with the Mariners and Tigers. Last year, it was a career high 95 games for Detroit, though a triple-slash of .210/.240/.379 explains why he was allowed to walk at the end of the season. That’s despite his walk-off grand-slam against the Orioles in September (above). Interestingly, particularly in the light of subsequent events, he also helped thwart the Astros’ stealing the Tigers’ signs in August last year. “There are more teams that do it (steal signs) than don’t,” he said after the game - again, something which perhaps is more significant now, than it seemed at the time...

Jon Jay

Clearly the most familiar name on the list, Jay returns to the D-backs, with whom he spent the stretch run of the 2018 campaign. The veteran outfielder, who’ll turn 35 next month (he shares his birthday with Nick Ahmed), appeared 47 times for the Chicago White Sox last year, batting .267/.311/.315 (OPS+ of 70). It would have been more, but a hip problem which blew up in spring meant he didn’t make his debut until almost the end of June. And injury then ended his season in late August, with surgery to repair the same hip. He therefore won’t earn anywhere close to the $4.5 million received from the White Sox, and proving his health is going to be the first thing Jay needs to do at Salt River Fields in the coming weeks.

Dominic Miroglio

The catcher’s 2019 campaign was limited to just forty-seven appearances for Jackson, missing the last three months of the season (the reason for this absence defeated my Google-fu). Unlike his colleague there, Daulton Varsho, Miroglio is considered much more a defensive catcher, though did bat over .300 in the minors during both 2017 and 2018. This year, he fell well short, hitting .233 with two home-runs in 164 PA. Though without knowing what prematurely ended his campaign, it’s hard to be sure if there was an injury factor to this drop-off. It’s possible this lack of reps last year is a factor in his spring training invite, but again, good health is the main thing to look for this pre-season.

Geraldo Perdomo

The team’s top shortstop prospect can take him time in getting ready for the majors, now that Ahmed isn’t going anywhere for a bit. Perdomo only left his teenage years behind in October, but that didn’t stop him from posting an on-base percentage of .397 for Visalia and Kane County last year, with more walks (70) then strikeouts (67). But that’s not his only talent. Geraldo is already being called “the best defensive player in Arizona’s system,” and was labeled the #82 prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline earlier this winter. At a cost of only $70,000, this could end up being the best low-budget signing for the Diamondbacks since Miguel Montero cost them just $13,000.