24 players were invited including top prospect C.J. Abrams, former Golden Spikes award winner Kevin Kopps, former Dodger Trayce Thompson, former Ranger and White Sox outfielder Nomar Mazara, 2021 Padre Aaron Northcraft, San Diego legend Daniel Camarena, Jose Castillo, and Webster Rivas.
A storyline to watch this spring is seeing how much playing time Abrams will get in these big league exhibition games, considering the shortened exhibition schedule. The odds are low but it feels like there’s a very slim chance Abrams can get onto the major league roster before the All-Star break even if there are no injuries.
For some reason, Robert Hassell III was not included on this list. He is also a top prospect in the system and he was invited last spring and was expected to be a slam dunk invite this spring as well.
Besides Abrams, Castillo is the most intriguing player out of this year’s group of non-roster invitees, as it’s clear he has potential to help the Padres bullpen but he just has to stay healthy. After earning an ERA under four in 2018, Castillo hit the 60-day injured list in 2019 and shortly after being activated, he went right back on it less than a month later in September with a finger injury.
In 2020, Castillo was on the IL again dealing with a lat strain and it was the same story in 2021. This time it was Tommy John surgery that forced him off the mound. He is still just 26 years old so he is still in his prime years.
Castillo told reporters this month that he feels like he owes the Padres organization and that was a reason why he returned in free agency. “I feel comfortable here,” Castillo said. “And I feel like I have a debt to pay to San Diego. … They gave me the opportunity. I need to repay that.”