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Diamondbacks Non-Roster Invitees: A 2014 viewer's guide, part three

Woo! The NFL season is finally over - time for baseball! So let's get on with our look at the players outside the 40-man roster who'll be reporting to Salt River real soon now. This time, we cover the Diamondbacks' non-roster catchers and outfielders.


Henry Blanco

Not much introduction needed, with Blanco having been Opening Day backup to Montero in both 2011 and 2012. After being replaced by Wil Nieves last season, might Machete return? Right now, he'll be battling Tuffy Gosewisch for the spot, though it's still possible the team trades for or signs an alternative. But even if Blanco doesn't make the roster, he could still be with the team, as our assistant hitting coach. He was apparently interested in the job, which currently remains open, and Kevin Towers recently said, "It's kind of a complex situation. We've got a pretty good idea. It probably will not be announced until right before Opening Day." Now, why would they say that?

Blake Lalli

Although Lalli fell through the cracks in the draft, being signed by the Cubs as an amateur free-agent, he still clawed his way to the majors, appearing in six games for them in 2012, and 16 with the Brewers last year. Though he hit .128 with no extra-base hits, his first hit for Milwaukee was a walk-off one against San Francisco. So, liking him already! The 30-year-old hit pretty well at Triple-A Nashville in 2013, batting .282 with 11 home-runs in 82 games there. He only took up catching after being signed by Chicago - he was a third-baseman in college, and 2013 was his first season playing mostly behind the plate.

Bobby Wilson

Caught Ervin Santana's no-hitter for the Angels against the Indians in July 2011, though had caught a no-hitter in Triple-A (by Sean O'Sullivan). Appeared 191 times over parts of five seasons for Anaheim, peaking in 2012 when he got into 75 games. However, didn't play in the majors at all last year: he was first claimed by the Blue Jays in October 2012, only to be released, and was signed by the Yankees instead. He spent the entire season with their AAA affiliate. In his first at-bat ever, as a 5-year-old in T-ball, Wilson hit into an unassisted triple play: "My uncle was umpiring. I was in tears. He made the call. 'Out, out, out!' I'm like, 'This game sucks!'"

Steve Rodriguez

Drafted out of UCLA by the DIamondbacks in the 15th round of the 2011 draft, Rodriguez split time in 2013 between South Bend and Visalia, but struggled at the plate, hitting barely above the Uecker Line (.202) in 56 games combined. John seems to have had him pegged before last season began, writing in his Visalia preview, "Looking more and more everyday like a system backup catcher. Caught [Trevor] Bauer in college at UCLA and was drafted higher than he should have. Just doesn't hit enough. Still an important cog in the minor league system, just not a legit prospect." So, a little surprised to see him getting a spring invite.

Danny Dorn

Moving on to the outfielders, Dorn is a career minor-leaguer, with 854 games and almost 3,400 PAs there, without reaching the majors since being drafted by the Rays in 2005. A left-hander, Dorn's case probably isn't helped by his platoon struggles, though the gap has narrowed since 2011, when his OPS vs. RHP was .868, but a mere .479 vs. lefties. Still, given our right-handed heavy outfield this year, that might not be an issue for the D-backs, and if Cody Ross isn't available at the start of the year, Dorn could be a name in the mix as a potential fourth outfielder, to give us a little bit better balance.

Justin Greene

Had a decent 2013, hitting .308 and being named by to the Diamondbacks' organizational all-star team, although his power evaporated. After averaging 11 home-runs a season from 2010-12, Greene managed only one in all of 2013. However, his wheels improved, Justin stealing 31 bases, which is only one fewer than Tony Campana, and was good enough for third in our farm system (Ender Inciarte led with 42, should you be interested). That average led the Southern League and helped Greene be named to both their mid-season and post-season All-Star rosters.

Evan Marzilli

Definitely counts as a courtesy nod, given Marzilli has not yet played above A-ball, and had a lackluster .687 OPS over 136 games for High-A Visalia. Still, has a reputation for being a bit of a defensive wiz. You might remember the catch below from late in spring training last year. It was an interesting echo of the similar one he made in the 2012 College World Series for South Carolina against Florida, also saving late-inning runs with a diving grab in the gap. That one made the ESPN Top 10 for the day. And he has some mad hops as well, able to jump almost five feet vertically from a standing start.