Among the 20 non-roster spring training invitees the Blue Jays will be bringing to spring training include top prospects Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Sean Nolin, A.J. Jimenez, and Andy Burns.
For Stroman and Nolin, there's an outside chance to land a spot in the back of the starting rotation.
For the other three, it's an opportunity to soak up spring training in a big league atmosphere, where hopefully they'll fall under the influence and example of hard-working major league veterans, learning how to live and prepare themselves as professionals.
Stroman was not invited to spring training last year, but was brought along for a pair of exhibition games against the Phillies in Philadelphia, and he was lights out before serving out the remainder of his 2012 suspension for a positive PED test. He and Nolin, of course, will likely be locked in a battle with several other candidates for the 5th starter's job.
Here is a link to the Blue Jays 2014 spring training schedule, which inlcudes the dates of televised games by the Sportsnet gang. There is no guarantee, of course, but there should be an opportunity for some of us to get our first looks at Sanchez, Jimenez, and Burns. We did get a chance to watch Sanchez in the AFL All-Star game, and we're anxious to see more. Jimenez is a longshot to win a backup job this spring, and will likely be only a short hop on the QEW away in Buffalo. Burns is likely destined for a return to New Hampshire, where Sanchez will join him after spending last season in Dunedin, although we won't be entirely shocked if Burns spends time in Buffalo at some point this season.