The Colorado Rockies have announced the team's non-roster invitees to Spring Training 2012 at Salt River Fields at Talk Stick, and 20-year-old third baseman Nolan Arenado enters camp with a legitimate shot to break camp for the start of the regular season. Who else will be joining him? Let's break down the entire list:
At catcher, we have Wilkin Castillo, Lars Davis, Matt McBride and Wil Nieves. Castillo was signed during the offseason; Davis was a third round draft pick by the Rockies in 2007 and has played at Double-A Tulsa for the last two years; McBride was acquired in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade and had previously played first base and the outfield. Nieves is an option to be Ramon Hernandez's backup should Wilin Rosario fail to make the Opening Day roster.
In the infield beside Nolan Arenado, Brendan Harris, Brandon Wood and Jim Tracy's son, Chad Tracy, are going to be in big league camp. Ben Paulsen will make his second appearance at big league camp and he could potentially be a replacement for Todd Helton is a couple of years.
Tim Wheeler leads the outfielders after hitting 33 home runs for the Tulsa Drillers last season. He is heading toward Triple-A Colorado Springs this season. Kent Matthes will be in camp after winning the Cal League MVP in 2011 with a .334/.378/.642 batting line for the season. He hit 23 home runs. The Rockies picked up Andrew Brown off waivers in October.
The list of pitchers is long: Chad Bettis, Stephen Dodson, Mike Ekstrom, Joe Gardner, Dustin Molleken, Jamie Moyer, Rob Scahill, Josh Sullivan and Carlos Torres. Moyer has the best chance to break camp in the rotation, but Chad Bettis is the best pitcher in that group to have a long-term future with the Rockies. Bettis struck out 184 batters in 169.2 innings with the Modesto Nuts in 2011. He sits in the mid-90s and can reach 98 mph on the gun. His slider reaches the upp-80s, but he needs to work on his curveball.
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