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Alberto Rios

Top 10 Latinos Non-Roster Invitees To Watch

Padres prospect Ethan Salas leads non-roster invitees in spring camps

Before the beginning of spring training last year, I reviewed the best talented young prospects who were invited to spring training as non-roster invitees. Four prospects who made my list made their MLB debuts: outfielder Oscar Colas (White Sox), shortstop Zach Neto (Angels), outfielder Jasson Dominguez (Yankees) and right-handed pitcher Eury Perez (Marlins).

You have players headed to the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues looking for a spot on their team’s respective 40-man roster. 

Non-roster invitees don’t have to be in the spotlight or spoken highly about to the media. They just want to work hard and show what they’re capable of doing on the baseball field.  

Two of the 10 non-roster invitees to watch on our list are on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects. The other prospects are highly rated on their team’s farm system.  

No. 10 Diamondbacks Ivan Melendez 1B/3B/DH

Ivan Melendez was regarded as one of the best collegiate hitters when he played for the Texas Longhorns in 2022. Melendez was awarded the 2022 Golden Spikes Award, a prestigious honor given annually to the best college baseball player.

The El Paso native draws a lot of power as a right-handed hitter. Melendez started in Class A+, but finished the 2023 season in Class AA. He carried a .272 batting average with 22 doubles, 30 home runs, 76 RBIs and a .923 OPS.

Moreover, the 24-year-old corner infielder has a high swing-and-miss rate with 146 strikeouts in 96 games.

The Hispanic Titanic will look to refine his plate discipline in spring training with the 2023 National League champions Arizona Diamondbacks.

No. 9 Orioles Samuel Basallo C

In January 2021, Samuel Basallo signed as an international free agent for $1.3 million with the Baltimore Orioles. 

Basallo, the No. 5 prospect in the Orioles’ deep farm system, displays hard contact from the left side with raw power and great discipline overall at the plate.

Basallo quickly climbed up the farm system and finished his season in Class AA. In 113 minor league games, he batted .313/.402/.551 with 20 home runs, 86 RBIs and a .953 OPS.

The Orioles are already loaded with young talent and will continue for a while. However, with Adley Rutschman behind the plate, there’s another catcher who can be turning heads soon.

No. 8 Mets Kevin Parada C

Kevin Parada was ranked on Our Esquina’s Top 10 Latino non-roster invitees to watch in 2023. Parada is ranked No. 5 in the New York Mets’ farm system.

The 20-year-old catcher was promoted three times last year. However, Parada struggled in his promotion to Class AA. In 14 games, he batted .185/.250/.389 with 10 hits, three home runs, 11 RBIs and a .284 wOBA.

With Francisco Alvarez set to be the Mets’ everyday catcher, Parada looks to continue to improve through camp and have a bounce back year in 2024.

No. 7 Braves Nacho Alvarez Jr. SS

Ignacio Alvarez Jr. or Nacho, as his teammates call him, was drafted in the fifth round out of Riverside City College by the Atlanta Braves.


Pac-12 POY Alberto Rios leaves mark at Stanford

Stanford coach David Esquer becomes Omaha regular

Kevin Parada eager to learn in first Mets camp

The Mexican American became the first player from the community college to be taken out of the first five rounds since Ryan Wing, a 2001 second-round pick from the White Sox.

Alvarez played the 2023 season in Class A+. The Fontana, Calif., native batted .284/.395/.391 with 119 hits, 24 doubles, seven home runs, 66 RBIs and 66 walks.

Nacho displays an exceptional bat at the plate, and his glove and defensive plays are sensational.

The 20-year-old shortstop is quick on his feet, shows a solid range when a ground ball is hit and presents a cannon of an arm. Alvarez finished the season with 144 putouts, 268 assists and a .965 fielding percentage.  

Alvarez looks to learn and improve in camp as he’s already off to a fast start in his first game.  Nacho finished 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs in his first spring training game.

No. 6 Angels Alberto Rios OF/C

After helping the Stanford Cardinals reach their third consecutive College World Series, Alberto Rios was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the third round of the 2023 MLB Draft. Now, he’s quickly moving up the farm as he ranks No. 4 in the Angels’ farm system.

The 2023 Pac-12 Player of the Year presents a short-swing path to the ball with solid contact and sneaky power at the plate.

After three games at Rookie level, Rios was promoted to Class A. He batted .183/.274/.307 while collecting 25 hits, three home runs, 19 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 33 games. 

Defensively, the Mexican American played left field making 49 putouts, one assist and only one error. 

The Angels organization has Rios listed as a NRI catcher going into camp. The  Bellflower, Calif., native caught behind the plate and played the outfield at Stanford. 

No. 5 Brewers Carlos F. Rodriguez RHP

With the departure of former Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, and Brandon Woodruff sidelined, Carlos Fernando Rodriguez could make a significant jump to the big leagues to join Freddy Peralta in the Brewers starting rotation.

Rodriguez is the Brewers’ No.7 prospect and their third best arm in the farm system. The Rivas, Nicaragua, native won the Robin Yount Performance Award and Minor League Co-Pitcher of the Year in back-to-back years.

Rodriguez presents a low-mid 90s mph rising fastball, a mid 80s changeup with downward movement, a slider that tails away from opposing hitters and a well-developed mid 80s curveball.

Rodriguez started 25 games in Class AA before he was promoted and pitched one game in Class AAA. The 6-foot right-handed pitcher posted a 9-6 record, 2.88 ERA, allowing 57 walks, while striking out 158 batters and holding hitters to an .187 opponents batting average.

The 22-year-old starter has a great opportunity to make his MLB debut this year if he performs well in camp.

No. 4 White Sox Edgar Quero C

Edgar Quero represented the Angels at the 2023 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Seattle. At the trade deadline, the Chicago White Sox acquired Edgar Quero in a trade from the Angels. 

The Cuban catcher just missed MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects, however, he ranks third in the White Sox farm system and MLB’s No. 9 catching prospect.

Quero is a consistent switch hitter that hits the ball to all parts of the diamond. In Class AA, he batted .255/.380/.351 with 94 hits, six home runs, 57 RBIs and a 106 wRC+.

The 22-year-old prospect could become the White Sox’s catcher of the future. In addition, Quero has already collected a walk-off hit in spring training.

No. 3 Angels Nelson Rada OF

Nelson Rada was 16 years old when he signed for $1.85 million with the Angels in 2022. In the same year, Baseball America ranked Rada as the No. 14 international prospect. This kid is the real deal.

The 18-year-old outfielder can cover a lot of range defensively while presenting loud contact at the plate and quickness on the base path.

In 115 games in Class A, the Angels’ No.3 prospect batted .276/.396/.346 with 121 hits, 13 doubles, six triples, 48 RBIs, 55 stolen bases and 113 wRC+. 

Defensively, the Valencia, Venezuela, native made 259 putouts, two assists and managed a .996 fielding percentage.

Rada has star potential and could possibly make the big league roster two years from now.

No. 2 Reds Edwin Arroyo SS

The Cincinnati Reds carry a lot of young depth in the infield. Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Christian Encarnación-Strand and Noelvi Marte are notable players on the 40-man roster. However, meet the next young star who can make the roster soon: Edwin Arroyo.

Arroyo moved to Florida from his native Puerto Rico when he was enrolling into his senior year of high school. In 2021, the Mariners drafted him in the second round of the MLB Draft. The following year, the Mariners traded away four prospects, including Arroyo to the Reds for Dominican pitcher Luis Castillo.

Since the trade, the Arecibo, Puerto Rico, native has quickly climbed up the ladder. Arroyo is ranked No. 67 by MLB Pipeline and No. 3 in the Reds farm system.

Moreover, in Class A+ he was awarded the Top MLB Prospect in the Midwest League.

The 20-year-old shortstop was promoted to Class AA in early September and did not disappoint. In four games and 17 at-bats, he batted .353/.400/.588 with six hits, two doubles, one triple, five RBIs and a .988 OPS.

Arroyo has already made some impressive offensive and defensive plays on the field in spring training. 

No. 1 Padres Ethan Salas C

Ethan Salas is already catching attention as the best non-roster invitee prospect at spring training. The San Diego Padres have a decent to low-powered catching depth, but Salas is the Padres’ future at the catching position.

Salas signed with the Padres for $5.6 million in January 2023, the largest bonus any player had signed in his class. The 17-year-old catcher is ranked No. 8 by MLB Pipeline and No. 1 in the Padres’ farm system. Salas is No. 1 on Our Esquina’s Top 10 Latinos non-roster invitees.

The Venezuelan American has potential to become a five-tool player at the catching position. He has elite contact with solid power, decent speed,  a strong arm and a defensive wall behind the plate.

Combining his Class A, Class A+, and Class AA stats in 2023, Salas batted .248/.331/.421 with 63 hits, 13 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 41 RBIs. In addition, he finished with a .987 fielding percentage while carrying a 17 caught stealing percentage.

Salas has already caught a bullpen from Padres ace Yu Darvish and recorded a 2-for-2 day in his fourth game at the plate this spring. 

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