Every spring training, the Texas Rangers invite a group of players to come to major league camp that are not on the forty man roster. These players are called the non roster invitees. This is their chance to shine in front of the major league coaching staff and prove that they deserve a second look, maybe even being put on the forty man roster. I always enjoy watching these guys because they go into camp with something to prove. They are trying to show that they belong on a major league club somewhere, and right now their opportunity is with the Texas Rangers. Some of them are former major league players, and some of them are not. The first installment of this series will be about the Texas Rangers non roster infielders.
Kevin Kouzmanoff – Kevin signed with the Texas Rangers on December 12 of last year. He spent all of the 2013 season in the Miami Marlins organization, playing for their AAA team and getting 218 at bats and having a line of .294/.344/.440/.785 while hitting 6 home runs and driving in 42. Kouzmanoff has not played in the majors since 2011, where he played for both the Rockies and Athletics. Kevin is trying to get back to the major league level, but I am not sure that he will. His career numbers are not overly impressive (in six major league seasons he has a line of .255/.300/.420/.720 with just 86 home runs in 672 games) but I think he is worth a look. As we say here on this site all of the time, you can never have to much talent waiting in the wings.
Brent Lillibridge – Lillibridge signed with the Texas Rangers on December 12 of last year in hopes of being the utility infielder for the Texas Rangers. Lillibridge is best known for his time with the White Sox, but he has also played for the Red Sox, Indians, Cubs and Yankees among others. In 2012 Lillibridge was with the Yankees after Derek Jeter got injured and played in just eleven games for them batting just .171 in those games. He spent last season in the Cubs minor league system and never made it to the majors. Lillibridge is considered a good defensive infielder, but he has lacked pop or consistency at the plate in has career, having a career major league line of .205/.267/.332/.599 with 19 home runs and 79 RBI. Lillibridge is probably a worst case scenario for the Texas Rangers if he stays in the organization at all.
Josh Wilson – Wilson also signed with the Texas Rangers on December 12 of last year. He spent 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, his third stint with them over his career. Josh made the big league squad out of spring training but was designated for assignment on June 21 after batting .200/2.62/.300/.562 with one home run and forty RBI in 60 at bats. Josh has bounced around to a whole lot of teams over his major league career, but he continues to do enough to get signed by teams year after year. I don’t expect a lot from Josh, but it will be fun to see if he can show anything during his chances at big league camp.
Rougned Odor – Odor is a highly touted prospect in the Texas Rangers organization. He is only 19 years of age but is already getting invited to big league camp. Odor is small but he seems to have power. He hit six home runs in just thirty games with Frisco last season. He also spent some time at the Texas Ranges high A affiliate and his line there was .305/.369/.454/.822 with 5 home runs and 50 RBI in 100 games (377 at bats). Odor is highly coveted by other organizations when the Texas Rangers talk to them about trade possibilities, and he has a lot of upside. I really look forward to seeing what he can do at camp to show off some of his talents in the spring. And if you like to keep up with the Texas Rangers minor league teams during the season, keep your eyes on Odor.
Up Next: Outfield