March 14, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; New York Mets right fielder Adam Loewen (20) against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsWith 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. At this stage, we’ve discussed the LH Pitchers, RH Pitchers, and Catchers that will report to camp in just two days time.
You can find those post here:
Moving forward, let’s take a look at the outfielders who come to camp with minor league deals and are hoping to make a solid impression.
The 28-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia is said to only have received an invite to camp due to his participation with the Canadian national team in the World Baseball Classic this spring. Loewen, a former pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles, is attempting to go the Rick Ankiel route and get back to the big show as a hitter, playing both first base and the outfield.This will be his second go-around in the Toronto system, last playing with Las Vegas in 2011, hitting .306 with 17 home runs and 85 RBI during that campaign. He spent 2012 in Buffalo, then of the Mets system, and struggled there. Loewen will likely head back to Buffalo once the WBC is over.
Langerhans, a 10-year veteran, has bounced around quite a bit since being a prized prospect in the Braves organization, with the Blue Jays being his seventh organization. Things have been quite the struggle for Langerhans at the highest level, with the 32-year-old posting a .226 career batting average in the Major Leagues. However, he has been the classic 4-A player, hitting much better in the minors with a .805 career OPS and a significantly improved power stroke. It would be hard to imagine him in Toronto at all this summer, as his signing if likely more to provide Buffalo with a veteran hitter throughout the season.
The 31-year-old Nanita has spent the last three seasons in the Blue Jays system, but has yet to play at the Major League level. He is a career .299 hitter in the minors with a .796 OPS. After 10 seasons, he finally got a taste of Triple-A ball in 2011 and 2012 and took a liking to the thin air in Vegas. Toronto has invited him to camp to see what they have there, but given his age and development curve, Nanita would need to be the second coming of Jose Bautista to break camp with the team. Quite frankly, that is doubtful at this stage.