The story was too good. He was too good. Now he’s out.
Wynton Bernard flew into the competition on top of a nice afro and a story of going from an open tryout to the Tigers’ 40-man roster. We should’ve seen it then. We should’ve known his likeableness, his proximity to the majors and his position — center field, a weakness last season after the Austin Jackson trade — would prevent him from being anonymous for long.
Bernard’s journey in the competition started out well enough, with a fuzzy story about Ian Kinsler giving him a new pair of cleats.
A positive came out of all of this though. As I was on the Tigers website looking at Bernard’s stats, I noticed something peculiar. In past years, MLB.com’s team rosters have included every player in spring training for that team. This time, they split up non-roster invitees into their own tab.
For the first time ever, players are being added to the JMMA pool in the midst of spring training.
The Tigers brought 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, but not all of them qualify for the James Mungro Memorial Award presented (sponsor pending). Catchers Miguel Gonzalez, Austin Green, Manny Pina and Grayson Greiner have no chance of making the team, so they’re out. I’ve heard of infielders Jordan Lennerton and Josh Wilson as well as pitcher Luke Putkonen, so they’re out. Pitcher Joe Mantiply is out because he’s the guy everyone singled-out as “under the radar”, thus putting him on the radar.
That leaves eight new additions to the competition:
Alberto Cabrera, P, Age: 26. Cabrera has 32 games of MLB experience, but none since 2013. His dad is a street vendor in the Dominican Republic, baking and selling bread, which is fun.
Rafael Dolis, P, Age: 27. Dolis made the Cubs’ opening-day roster in 2012 but was demoted after 34 games. He has five games of major league experience since then.