As is customary, the Padres announced the list of players who would be participating in the team’s Spring Training with a chance at earning a spot on the big league roster for 2016. These players, otherwise known as non-roster invites, will be given a chance to earn a job out of Spring Training.
While February is usually the quietest time of the year in terms of baseball transactions, the Padres did announce one minor move on Wednesday afternoon, which also marks the beginning of Spring Training with pitchers and catchers reporting.
— Corey Brock (@FollowThePadres) February 17, 2016
For a complete list of all 19 players, follow this link. Out of the 19, one of the few new names is Noonan. Other names on the list include Hunter Renfroe, the recently signed Skip Schumaker, and quite a few other players brought on earlier in the offseason on minor league deals. For the purposes of this discussion, the most intriguing name is the new one that we have yet to see: Nick Noonan.
This is the first announcement regarding Noonan the Padres have made, as the team recently signed him to a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp.
At only 27 years old, Noonan has quite a prospect pedigree, as he was once viewed as one of the most talented prospects in the entire San Francisco Giants organization. Noonan was selected 32nd overall by the Giants overall in 2007, but failed to catch on with the club as he struggled in his first taste of the big leagues in 2013, and again in 2015.
In 135 big league plate appearances, Noonan slashed just .197/.244/.244 over 76 career games between 2013 and 2015. Noonan was originally granted free agency after the 2014 season and joined the New York Yankees before once again joining the Giants organization in August of 2015 after being released by the Yankees in July of that same year.
At one point, Noonan was one of the most highly regarded prospects in the entire Giants organization. Following the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Noonan was ranked the #6 and #5 prospect in the entire system respectively for each year. After 2009 he fell to 11th, and fell outside of the top 20 in both 2010 and 2012. Despite struggles in his big league playing time, the pedigree is there, and Noonan has a great deal of success in the minor leagues.
At this point, Noonan is nothing to be too excited about. He is once again just a non-roster invitee designed to be filler and possibly compete for a job. The Padres are more or less set in terms of starting infielders, but it appears Carlos Asuaje, Jemile Weeks, Skip Schumaker, Jose Pirela, Noonan and a few others will all be competing for the same position as a utility infielder. If there is one thing that Noonan has going for him it’s his versatility, as he is able to play second base, shortstop, and third base, with relatively good defense at all three positions. Another low risk move for the Padres directly ahead of Spring Training.