Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. mentioned a few times that Phillies third base prospect Maikel Franco would be joining the club in Clearwater this Spring to see what he could offer the big league club in 2014. Today the team announced that they will invite to Spring Training Franco and a number of their young prospects.
Todd Zolecki tweets:
Phillies invite 5 more players to camp as non-roster invitees: Jesse Biddle, Maikel Franco, Sebastian Valle, Mario Hollands and Ken Giles.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) January 8, 2014
Phillies fans tend to know the names Jesse Biddle and Maikel Franco as they are regularly ranked the Phillies top two prospects. Giles got some attention this Arizona Fall League for his powerful pitching arm. Hollands is perhaps the least-known of the bunch; he split the 2013 season at Clearwater and Reading. Hollands is currently pitching for Los Tiburones de La Guaira in the Venezuelan league this summer.
Valle is not considered a prospect, but he will provide catching depth, something that a team needs plenty of in Spring Training. After being removed from the Phillies' 40-man roster this offseason, Valle was outrighted to the minor leagues. Valle will be an extra option behind Carlos Ruiz, Wil Nieves, Tommy Joseph (if he catches at all), Cameron Rupp, and Lou Marson.