With the flow of time from January to February, the countdown to Spring Training is now officially underway. And with the Blue Jays unlikely to make many more moves prior to the start of camp on February 12th, we can all pass the time together by taking stock on what exactly we have to look forward to this Spring.
One of the first places to start would be the slew of non-roster invitees that will be showing up in camp in a matter of days. It gets lost in the excitement of all of the moves that Alex Anthopoulos has made this winter, just how many waiver claims and minor league deals he has made to help bolster the depth of the organization.
Over the course of the next few days, we’re going to look at the various players that will be given a shot to show what they can contribute. On Monday, we got things started by looking at the left-handed pitchers that will be showing up in camp on the 12th.
You can find that post here:
Now that we’ve got the non-roster pitchers out of the way, let’s take a look at the three gentlemen joining them on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old from Princeton was selected 31st round of the 2009 draft by the Blue Jays and after four seasons in the minors, finally worked his way up to Double-A New Hampshire. Overall, Murphy’s role in Spring Training is likely to work with pitchers, especially with the absense of J.P. Arenciba (World Baseball Classic). The weak-hitting backstop has turned on some power in 2012, hitting a total of 12 home runs between Single-A Dunedin and the Fisher Cats, but is getting a little long in the tooth at this stage and likely will not progress much past Double-A.
The 29-year-old Nickeas came to Toronto as part of the R.A. Dickey trade, but was ultimately included only for the sake of keeping catching depth in the Blue Jays farm system. He appeared in 47 games for the Mets in 2012, hitting .242 with a single home run and 13 RBI. Those numbers are right in line with his minor league stats as well, meaning Nickeas will find himself getting aquainted with pitchers in Buffalo this summer, a familiar home for the backstop as he has spent parts of the last three seasons there while it was a Mets affiliate.
Like Murphy, Ochinko was selected in the 2009 draft, albeit in the 11th round. He offers a bit more upside than the aforementioned Murphy, despite being relatively the same age. A career .289 hitter in the minors with a .802 OPS, Ochinko looks like he could hit enough to be a back-up at the highest level, although he’s far behind the likes of A.J. Jimenez on the depth charts, and with Josh Thole and Arencibia already ahead of him, Ochinko may have to find his chance somewhere else