The second in a 4 part series, Jim already reviewed the first group of Non Roster Pitcher invitees HERE . There is an interesting mix of aging veterans, hard throwers, failed prospects getting a last shot perhaps, and up and comers with potentially bright futures in this group. While it’s not likely any of this group will be on the opening day roster, it’s very possible we see at least a couple of them before the year is out.
Edwin Jackson RHP, has pitched for two different teams in 4 of his last 5 seasons. He always seems to be good enough to want but never good enough to keep I guess. Per Brooks Baseball the 36 year old is still a hard thrower, averaging 93.5 MPH and even topping out at 98 on his 4 seamer in 2019. But he’s failed to reach 100 IP in any of those 5 seasons. The holder of a career 4.78 ERA and 88 ERA+, that is the 4th worst ERA+ of any pitcher since 1901 with minimum 1800 IP , and the worst since the advent of the DH in 1973. In other words, in modern times no pitcher has been allowed to be this bad for this long. On the plus side, he did have a decent season for the A’s as recently as 2018, going 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 17 Starts. The peripherals didn’t support it however, and last year he was a disaster, compiling a 3-10 record and 9.58 ERA for the Blue Jays and Tigers. Perhaps the team will use him strictly in a relief role if at all. He had success in 2015 as a reliever for the Cubs and Braves.
Eduardo Jimenez RHP, was signed out of Venezuela as an amateur free agent by the Detroit Tigers as a 16 year old in 2011. He suffered an elbow injury in 2013, requiring TJ Surgery and missed all of 2014. He was suspended 30 games for throwing a ball at another player during a brawl in 2018. But in between and around all that he posted some pretty good numbers in his minor league career. Converted from a starter to reliever after the TJ surgery, he has a 2.98 MiLB ERA, built mostly off of HR suppression, (0.4 HR/9). His 2.68 SO/W ratio is decent but not spectacular. Mostly a 4 Seam/Slider guy, he averages 93+ and can top out at 96 with the fastball. After 8 years, he finally got a chance at the majors last year, but it didn’t go very well. Called up and sent down 5 separate times, he only logged 10.2 IP in 8 outings through all that shuttling while allowing 7 runs (5.91 ERA) on 12 hits and 5 walk and a homer. Shades of Silvino Bracho perhaps. Still, this is an intriguing arm to add to the mix and perhaps the change of scenery and coaching will turn him into something. He’s only 25 this year, so there’s still a chance here.
Damien Magnifico RHP, Drafted by the Brewers in 2012, Magnifico has had a hard time living up to his name to date. The hard thrower, (hi 90’s velocity) is on his 5th organization, with stops at the Orioles, Angels, and Pirates . The DBacks signed him as a minor league free agent prior to last year. He did well in AA in the Southern League, posting a 2.81 ERA in 42 IP, along with a 12.1 K/9 ratio. But he got crushed in Reno when called up to AAA, allowing 11 runs in 11 innings, with 13 hits and 9 walks allowed. Not surprisingly, control and command have been his issue, averaging 4.6 BB/9 for his minor league career. If he can ever harness his raw stuff he could do some damage, (in a good way) . But time is running out, as he will be 29 this season.
Joe Mantiply LHP, Another minor league free agent, Mantiply has also bounced around quite a bit. Drafted by the Tigers after his senior year in 2013, he has had stints with the Reds and also twice with the Yankees. He’s also a Tommy John Survivor, and missed all of 2018 due to that surgery. The veritable soft tossing lefty, he has a good minor league track record, posting a 2.73 ERA and 4.09 SO/W ratio in 350 innings. However in his two brief callups in 2016 & 2018 he has been hammered, allowing 8 runs in 5.2 IP, (10 hits, 4 walks 2 HR). He throws a sinker, (89 MPH) curve and changeup. The organization has little left handed relief depth, so nothing to lose here, but he’s an extreme long shot to make the roster.
Keury Mella RHP. Signed as an International free agent by the Giants in 2011, he was included along with Adam Duvall in a trade for Mike Leake in 2015. He was given chances with the Reds in each of 2017, 18, & 19 that can only be described as “Nasty Brutish & Short” Across those 3 stints he threw 17 IP in 8 relief appearances and had a 7.94 ERA thanks to a 2.094 WHIP and 5 HR allowed. He’s another hard throwing lottery ticket however, averaging over 95 MPH on his fastball. Used almost exclusively as a starter in the minors (160 Starts, 800 IP) he’s averaged just 7.9 K/9 for his MiLB career.
Matt Peacock RHP. Drafted in the 23rd round in 2017, Peacock had an excellent year in 2019 with AA Jackson. He went 8-4, 2.97 ERA. His FIP was a bit higher at 3.60, but he had a 68% Groundball Rate, the 2nd straight year he’s been at that level. His Sinker may already be elite but his other offerings have a ways to go, as his slider and changeup are not rated all that well. He was Ranked 38th in the system at the end of the year by Fangraphs. The 25 year old will have to go through and survive the crucible that is Reno and the PCL to get his crack at the majors.
Jimmie Sherfy RHP. No stranger to Diamondback fans or Snakepitters, Sherfy has long been a guy that many people (including me) thought should have gotten more opportunity in the majors prior to 2019. However he was DFA’d after posting a 5.89 ERA and 4.62 FIP in 18 MLB innings last year and exhibiting some questionable mechanics. He cleared waivers and still ended up with the team and getting an invite to camp. He’ll need to recover the 2 MPH he has lost on his fastball or develop much better command of both his fastball and his breaking stuff to have a chance to get back on the 40 man roster.