Olivo is exception on LA's prospect-heavy NRI list
Veteran catcher, Pederson, Lee among 15 non-roster invitees to Spring Training
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have signed journeyman catcher Miguel Olivo, who will join a group of non-roster invitees to Spring Training that leans more heavily toward young players than the Dodgers have brought to camp in recent years.
Top prospects Joc Pederson, Zach Lee, Chris Reed and Ross Stripling are among the 15 invitees, a clear sign that management is determined to develop players in-house. Other young prospects invited include catcher Chris O'Brien and pitchers Red Patterson and Carlos Frias.
The 35-year-old Olivo, released last July by the Marlins after playing in 33 games, peaked offensively in 2009 with 23 homers and 65 RBIs. He is viewed as veteran insurance for a catching corps headed by A.J. Ellis and backups Tim Federowicz and Drew Butera. Other catchers invited to camp are O'Brien, JC Boscan and Griff Erickson, who re-signed as a six-year free agent.
Previously announced invitees are pitchers Sam Demel, Daniel Moskos; and infielders Miguel Rojas, Clint Robinson and Brendan Harris. Rojas, a defensive specialist moving from shortstop, has a chance to make the big league club at second base.
Pederson was the top-rated Dodgers prospect at this time a year ago and management remains high on the left-handed hitter, who likely advances from Double-A to Triple-A this year. Pederson can play all three outfield positions and was under consideration for a big league promotion last season that eventually went to Yasiel Puig.
Lee has continued his steady, if unspectacular, advancement through the system in a third full season after being bought out of a college football career for $5.25 million. Lee now projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter because he lacks any one overpowering pitch, but he has four solid pitches and the makeup to reach the Major Leagues as soon as 2014.
Reed, a left-handed pitcher out of Stanford, was a first-round pick in 2011 whose 3.84 ERA last year at Double-A Chattanooga was a better indication of his progress than a 4-11 record.
Stripling, a fifth-round pick in 2012 out of Texas A&M, is a right-handed starter who was 6-4 with a 2.78 ERA at Chattanooga.
O'Brien, 24-year-old son of former MLB catcher Charlie O'Brien, is known for his defense after three years in the system.
The 26-year-old Patterson, a right-handed pitcher drafted in the 29th round out of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, is coming off a 7-4, 3.03 season at Triple-A Albuquerque. He has a 32-11 career record in the Minor Leagues.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.