Hey, every year the Bucs herd in a group of non-roster guys, some interesting and others to get a cup of coffee with the team before being shipped to Indy as insurance policies. It's not unusual for the Pirates to promote an occasional body to the 25-man roster out of camp as they did with Juan Cruz and Jose Veras the last couple of seasons, with other guys getting some time as the season goes on.
The non-roster invitees are generally a mix of fringe MLB players, minor-league vets and Pirate farmhands who haven't aren't on the 40-man roster, usually because of service time.
The first group in any camp are the minor-league up-and-comers, getting a taste of the big league life style. This year, the membership includes Gerrit Cole, Jamison Taillon, and Kris Johnson.
The other pitchers the Bucs brought in are Jonathan Sanchez, Jose Contreras, Vin Mazzaro and Mike Zagurski, all who will be given a look as longshots to make the roster. Sanchez has been a bust so far with command issues beyond the pale, while Contreras is till rehabbing.
Other arms brought in to bolster the organizational depth are Kyle Waldrop, Brooks Brown, Erik Cordier and Ryan Reid. We suspect that this year, the bullpen may all come off the 40-man roster; except for Sanchez, no one has in the list has topped three innings of work yet, so they're not getting in the mix very often so far.
Three catchers are on the list, and they're all ticketed for minor-league duty: Lucas May, Carlos Paulino and Ali Solis. They were brought in to handle the early-camp load of pitchers, but are also the calvary if Russell Martin or Mike McKenry go down during the season, along with Tony Sanchez. With Martin and Solis down, they've all gotten a little more work than expected and held their own (Paulino - .250/4 AB; May - .385/13 AB).
The infielders have looked pretty good as a group - Jason Goedert (.385), Anderson Hernandez (.455), Ivan DeJesus (.333) and Brad Inge (.250) have been sharp. Matt Hague's prospect days are past, and Brad Hawpe (.118 with nine K in 17 AB) hasn't taken advantage of his reunion tour with Clint Hurdle.
Whether any impress enough to knock out Jordy Mercer or Josh Harrison has yet to be seen; DeJesus probably has the best chance. But they do provide some short-term insurance in the organization.
The outfielders, Felix Pie (.294) and Darren Ford (.267), have been solid. With the numbers game in the OF, they don't have much chance of sticking, but they do provide flexibility for the Pirates. Both have some MLB experience, can run and are the LF/CF hybrids the Pirates FO prefers.
This is one of the stronger non-roster groups the Pirates have put together, but it looks like they're ticketed as organizational depth; maybe one of the relievers and one of the infielders, as things stand today, have a shot at breaking camp with the team.