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A closer look at the Yankees' 2016 spring training non-roster invitee hitters

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

We are just days away from the start of spring training and the announcement of the list of non-roster invitees brings the long winter to an end. In addition to the 40 players they will have in camp, the Yankees also invited an additional 16 hitters on minor league deals. As non-roster invitees, many of these players don't have much chance to make an impact with the team, but a few could open some eyes and make an appearance in the big leagues over the long stretch of the regular season. Hitters like Greg Bird, Rob Refsnyder, Slade Heathcott, and Cole Figueroa started out here last spring and all ended up spending time on the major league roster. Who's next?

Catchers

Carlos Corporan
Age as of Opening Day: 32
2015 stats (TEX): .178/.244/.299, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 121 PA, 33 G

Francisco Diaz
Age as of Opening Day: 26
2015 stats (PIT-A): .353/.418/.482, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, 99 PA, 26 G

Kyle Higashioka
Age as of Opening Day: 25
2015 stats (NYY-A): .250/.299/.367, 5 HR, 37 RBI, 348 PA, 93 G

Santiago Nessy
Age as of Opening Day: 23
2015 stats (KCR-A/AA): .220/.287/.340, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 232 PA, 66 G

Eddy Rodriguez
Age as of Opening Day: 30
2015 stats (NYY-AA/AAA): .170/.202/.261, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 188 PA, 57 G

Sebastian Valle
Age as of Opening Day: 25
2015 stats (PIT-AA): .279/.341/.413, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 273 PA, 70 G

It would seem the Yankees are bringing a ton of catchers to camp this year. With Brian McCann, Gary Sanchez, and Austin Romine on the 40, that's a total of nine backstops altogether. Corporan, Higashioka, and Rodriguez are candidates to fill in at Triple-A and Double-A, while Diaz, Nessy, and Valle will probably be sent to various levels in order to fill vacancies. The Yankees once had a system filled with catching talent, but that's gone now, so they will turn to failed prospects like Valle.

Infielders

Jonathan Diaz
Age as of Opening Day: 30
2015 stats (TOR-MLB/AAA): .223/.328/.284, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 7 SB, 430 PA, 118 G

Diaz has the potential to be a utility infielder for Triple-A Scranton and maybe get himself a short stay in the majors if someone gets hurt. He's mostly a middle infielder, but he also has experience at third base, left field, and center field. Unfortunately, he's pretty useless with the bat.

Pete Kozma
Age as of Opening Day: 27
2015 stats (STL): .152/.236/.152, 2 RBI, 3 SB, 111 PA, 76 G

Kozma is mostly a shortstop, but he has also played at second and third. As good as he is in the field, the baseball world is fully aware of his limitations with the bat after he was thrust into a starting role in 2013. While it's looking less likely now, I'm still holding on to the idea that the 27-year-old will make it onto the Opening Day roster somehow. He's still pretty young, but this is one prediction I will be happy to be wrong about.

Jorge Mateo
Age as of Opening Day: 20
2015 stats (NYY-A): ..278/.345/.392, 2 HR, 40 RBI, 82 SB, 500 PA, 117 G

One of the team's top prospects, Mateo is still a few years off from being a serious consideration for the major league team. Still, it's good to see him get a chance to play with some regulars and I can't wait to hear about how much Alex Rodriguez, a former shortstop, helped the kid this spring. It will be exciting to actually see Mateo play, but don't get your hopes up too soon.

Deibinson Romero
Age as of Opening Day: 29
2015 stats (PIT-AAA/KBO): .302/.403/.548, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 155 PA, 38 G

The Yankees actually signed him after he spent most of 2015 in South Korea. Since Rob Segedin and Eric Jagielo have been traded away, there's a good chance Romero ends up as the everyday third baseman for Scranton.

Donovan Solano
Age as of Opening Day: 28
2015 stats (MIA-MLB/AAA): .189/.215/.244, 7 RBI, 94 PA, 55 G

Like Diaz and Kozma, Solano is capable of playing second, third, and short. He's previously served as the starting second baseman for the Marlins, but has never done much offensively. It's hard to see all these players ending up at Triple-A, so I imagine someone will get the boot after spring training ends.

Tyler Wade
Age as of Opening Day: 21
2015 stats (NYY-A/AA): .262/.321/.333, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 33 SB, 535 PA, 127 G

The team's sole internal option here, Wade isn't a can't-miss prospect, but it's clear that the Yankees like him enough to rush him through the system. He's only 21 and he'll likely get a chance in Triple-A this year. He's a shortstop, but with Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro entrenched at the MLB level, it makes a lot of sense to turn him into a utility player by giving him more reps at second and maybe even third, if the Yankees plan to keep him. Keep an eye out for where they play him this spring.

Outfielders

Dustin Fowler
Age as of Opening Day: 21
2015 stats (NYY-A): .298/.334/.394, 5 HR, 70 RBI, 30 SB, 518 PA, 123 G

Fowler has been a sleeper prospect for a few years now and another season like 2015 will put him on the map. He's still young and has some time left to go, but he's definitely someone to keep your eyes on, especially if he performs next to major league talent.

Aaron Judge
Age as of Opening Day: 23
2015 stats (NYY-AA/AAA): .255/.330/.448, 20 HR, 72 RBI, 7 SB, 540 PA, 124 G

After a disappointing stint in Triple-A, the Yankees are going to need more from Judge in 2016. He'll probably get a good amount of playing time, so while spring training numbers don't mean much, it will be interesting to see how he handles himself against better talent. Look out for him to unlock that huge power potential of his, even if it happens only occasionally. Let's just hope he doesn't strike out excessively.

Jared Mitchell
Age as of Opening Day: 27
2015 stats (LAA/CWS-AAA): .209/.298/.318, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 15 SB, 352 PA, 100 G

The Yankees have so many middling outfielders at the upper levels of their system, I'm not exactly sure what Mitchell brings to the table. He's a former prospect, but as a left-handed hitter he doesn't provide much that the Yankees don't already have.

Cesar Puello
Age as of Opening Day: 24
2015 stats (NYM): Played in one game.

After previously being suspended for his part in Biogenesis and missing all but one game of the 2015 season, Puello is only here because he can hit right-handed. Since he's a right fielder too, there's a chance they give him a good look early on as a potential replacement if Carlos Beltran gets hurt and they don't want to call up Judge yet.