The Mets announced today that they have invited prospects Dominic Smith and Gavin Cecchini to major league spring training and signed catcher Nevin Ashley to a minor league contract. Ashley, too, will be in big league camp, as will a few other Mets minor league players: catchers Johnny Monell and Xorge Carillo, infielder T.J. Rivera, outfielder Travis Taijeron, and right-handed pitchers Paul Sewald, Zack Thornton, and Chase Bradford.
Smith and Cecchini were the Mets' first-round picks in 2013 and 2012, respectively. Smith, a first baseman, spent the 2015 season with the High-A St. Lucie Mets and hit .305/.354/.417 on his way to winning the league's MVP award in his age-20 season. Cecchini spent the year in Double-A Binghamton and hit .317/.377/.442 in his age-21 season but struggled a bit in the field and ended the season with 28 errors at shortstop.
If you hadn't heard of Nevin Ashley until now, you are not alone. The 31-year-old made 21 plate appearances for the Brewers last year, but he has spent the rest of his professional career in the minors. A right-handed hitter, he had a .306/.374/.442 line and 8 home runs in Triple-A last year. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth round of the 2006 draft and spent most of his minor league career in that organization. And Wayne Randazzo provided an interesting tidbit about him on Twitter: His wife's name is Ashley Ashley.