At long last, the New York Yankees released their list of 2024 spring training non-roster invitees on Tuesday afternoon. Blessedly, it features more variance than their spring training hats.
When the Yankees report to camp, they'll be bringing 26 players with them who aren't currently on the 40-man roster. That crew includes rehabbers, longshot relievers, a few recent waiver-clearers, some top prospects, one diminutive sprite, and two people named "Warren".
Every year, some reliever emerges from absolutely nowhere to make the big-league club and deliver a significant impact. Odds are, that man is currently on this list. Yerry De Los Santos is the odds-on favorite, but don't discount Nick Burdi, Duane Underwood, or the rehabbing ex-Red Art Warren, who the Yankees stashed during an inactive 2023, but who whiffed 34 in 21 innings in 2021, posting a 1.29 ERA/1.84 FIP.
The main event, as always, will be Jeter Dow -- sorry, the team's top prospects. Last spring, Jasson Dominguez used his invite as a showcase and springboard for his eventual promotion, while catcher Carlos Narvaez filled in admirably amid a rash of catcher injuries and eventually made the 40-man.
This time around, all eyes will be on Spencer Jones, Chase Hampton, and Ben Rice, but more eyes should be on Caleb Durbin, the 5'6" mite the Yankees stole from the Braves' system in the Lucas Luetge trade.
Yankees Spring Training Non-Roster Invitees list highlighted by Caleb Durbin, Spencer Jones, Chase Hampton, Mystery Relievers
The team's other top prospect tales are well-told; even if Jones isn't quite ready to master big-league pitching, it'll be a treat to watch him work it out in the seventh innings of some meaningless contests.
But Durbin getting included amongst the glitterati is crazy -- unless you've been paying attention. Durbin was sent to the Arizona Fall League last year, and came home with the final "Hitter of the Week" award at the top prospect showcase. If your main complaint about the Yankees is that they're too strikeout-heavy, you're gonna love this guy; he whiffed 18 times in 253 at-bats last season across multiple levels, hitting .304 with an .822 OPS on the season.
It's difficult to carve out a role in this star-studded Yankees depth chart, but the process begins right now. Durbin, among many other far bigger names, appears to have been given the inside track to a first impression.