Three non-roster invitees to watch in Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 07: Pinch hitter Daniel Nava
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 07: Pinch hitter Daniel Nava /
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ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 21: Ryan Lavarnway
ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 21: Ryan Lavarnway /

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway

At one point in time, Ryan Lavarnway was viewed as one of the top catching prospects in all of baseball. However, after debuting for the Boston Red Sox in 2011, Lavarnway was never able to put it all together at the Major League level.

After bouncing between Triple-A and the Major Leagues with the Red Sox for four seasons, the Sox designated Ryan Lavarnway for assignment following the 2014 season. This led to him splitting the 2015 season between the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles.

Last season, he resurfaced in the Major Leagues with the Oakland Athletics. This came after spending Spring Training 2016 with the Toronto Blue Jays. Lavarnway played in six games for the A’s in 2017, and he collected three hits and drew a walk in 13 plate appearances.

On January 22 the now 30-year-old catcher inked a minor league deal with the Pirates. This deal invited an invite to Spring Training where Lavarnway will compete to be the team’s starting catcher at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Francisco Cervelli is the Pirates’ starting catcher and he will be backed up by Elias Diaz. However, if either catcher were to suffer an injury in Spring Training, or at any other point in the season, then that could open the door for Lavarnway to see the field in Pittsburgh in 2018 and a strong spring will only help Lavarnway’s cause.