The Yankees have released their list of 2015 non-roster invitees, bringing a total of 26 players to big league camp in addition to the 40 already on the roster. Of those 26, 20 of them are prospects from within the organization, but that doesn't mean that everyone that might be worth something was invited. There are nine players of interest who weren't invited to big league camp and it opens up questions about their future.
With the club lacking at shortstop, it seemed possible that Ali Castillo could get an invite to spring training to see how he performs next to major leaguers. His strong performance this Winter gave him some momentum, but with Cole Figueroa, Jonathan Galvez, and Nick Noonan all brought in, spots were limited for a 25-year-old in Double-A with limited upside. The killing blow is Cito Culver getting invited instead of him, meaning that they really don't see much of a future for Castillo, not even when compared to what little Culver has offered in his professional career. This non-move by the Yankees confirms that Ali Castillo is just another minor league baseball lifer and we shouldn't be concerned about what he does from here.
As far as the outfield is concerned, the Yankees are more than set. They currently have seven outfielders on the 40-man roster and invited two others on top of that, so it really isn't a huge slight to see both Taylor Dugas and Ben Gamel get left behind. The only thing this shows is that neither are quite ready to make major league contributions, at least not until September. Dugas' high-contact abilities should keep him in the running for a backup outfielder role, but at 25 he's running out of time. Gamel, on the other hand, needs a big year to put him in the picture, so nothing is certain about his career as of yet.
Invited to spring training last year, Adonis Garcia is now another year older, and while he continued to hit well, he's also going to be 30 years old. It's looking more and more likely that he's nothing more than a Quad-A player on his way to the Ronnier Mustelier treatment. Now that the third base experiment is over, if the Yankees need to clear some space down in Triple-A this year, Garcia might be the first to go because it doesn't seem like he's worth much at this point.
Fred Lewis was once of some interest to the Yankees organization, but at this point, even as a lefty reliever, that's all gone now. He had a disastrous 2014 season and he's now 28, so leaving him out isn't really that surprising. Any chance he ever had of making it to the majors is now squashed and he'll likely remain a Triple-A bullpen arm until his contract runs out.
He wasn't exactly slighted, but seeing as how Yankees have Chris Capuano as their fifth starter and Bryan Mitchell is the only MLB-ready prospect in spring training who could possibly take his rotation spot from him, it would have been cool to see Jaron Long in big league camp. He's done well in the limited time he's played for the organization, but it's likely that his lack of pure stuff won't allow him to keep it up forever. Giving him a chance in spring would have at least given the Yankees a small glimpse as to what he could do against big leaguers because it's still too early to tell whether or not he's for real.
Perhaps the biggest snub this year goes to Mark Montgomery. After being considered one of the system's top relievers, it seems that his prospect value has completely dissipated thanks to a shoulder injury that has sapped him of his velocity. The Yankees clearly don't think much of him anymore and he'd be a DFA candidate if they ever had put him on the roster in the first place. Since they never did, expect him to bide his time in Triple-A until something miraculously changes or someone takes him off their hands. It's really all come to an end for him at this point.
Rob Segedin made a solid return in 2014, beating up his Double-A competition, but he ultimately fell short when he got the bump to Triple-A. Maybe his strong return should have bought him a trip to big league camp, but at 26 it's clear that his upside is limited. He might have been relevant back when Alex Rodriguez was the only third baseman the Yankees had, but now that Chase Headley is aboard, they don't really need Segedin. Expect him to play third base in Scranton until his contract expires or someone like Dante Bichette unseats him.
He was already expected to be a staple in the Triple-A rotation, but it would have been interesting to see Matt Tracy get a chance in spring training. He's already 26, so it's not exactly an injustice, but with his 1.75 GO/AO ratio, he's got something going for him. If he ever ends up at the next level, it will be as a reliever, but a groundball specialist could be useful to the Yankees at some point. At least keep him in mind come September, but don't expect anything to happen.
Some of these nine still have a future in the system and some are all out of chances. We should see their fates settled over the course of the 2015 season and, for those who are left, we will have a better idea about their chances going forward. But enough about these guys, we can talk about them again once the minor league season starts; let's turn our attention to those who made the cut.