While the final list of non-roster invitees has not yet been set, the Braves will, in all likelihood, not add any more free agents to the list at this point.
With just 19 days remaining until the Braves kick off spring training, two pitchers are currently on the list of non-roster invitees.
Both Scott Proctor and Mariano Gomez could prove valuable to the Braves this season; although, even with a good spring, I don’t see either of them breaking camp with the Major League team.
Of the two, Proctor is the obvious choice to make a bigger impact with the Braves this year, as he has previous Major League experience.
Despite his major league experience being a plus for Proctor, he is a big question mark as he missed all of the 2009 campaign recovering from Tommy John surgery and dealing with alcoholism.
Proctor’s strongest two years were 2006-07, during which he posted a 3.58 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and an ERA+ 126 in 166 appearances with both the Yankees and Dodgers.
For his career, he has posted a 4.42 ERA and an ERA+ of 100.
While the former fifth-round pick obviously has potential to be a big part of the Braves bullpen, he likely will have to spend at least a month or two shaking off the rust that has accumulated from not pitching in a professional game in over a year.
The first thing you get from looking at Mariano Gomez’s minor league numbers is that he is solid, but nothing special.
The left-hander began his professional career in 2000 and hasn’t reached the Major Leagues at all in nine professional seasons.
Originally a starter, the 28-year-old has pitched in relief the majority of the time since 2004.
With a career minor league ERA of 3.79, I am slightly surprised Gomez never has had a taste of the big leagues, especially considering that his ERA over the past two years (which are also his only two seasons at AAA) is 2.35 in over 130 innings.
After a terrific 2009 in the Braves organization (1.99 ERA, 8 saves in 72.1 innings) he likely increased the chance that the team would give him a look should injuries arise in the 2010 season.
28 is not that old, and with his best work coming over the past two seasons, it’s possible that Gomez has finally found something that was missing earlier in his career, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the next journeyman reliever to find great success coming out of the bullpen in Atlanta.