Kolten Wong, obviously, has secured his roster spot with the Milwaukee Brewers after signing a two-year, $18 million deal earlier this month.
Three other Big Islanders are looking to join Wong in the big leagues and are primed to head to major league spring training camps as nonroster invitees: former Waiakea standouts Kean Wong, Kodi Medeiros and Quintin Torres-Costa.
• Kean Wong made his major league debut with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019 but has since been released three times. After a lost year in the Giants organization – minor league games were canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic – the 25-year-old infielder rejoined the Los Angeles Angels organization in November and is one of 25 nonroster invites to their camp in Tempe, Ariz.
• The 24-year-old Medeiros spent time on the Chicago White Sox’s 40-man roster in 2018, when the left-hander went 7-7 with a 3.60 ERA (137 2/3 IPs, 141 strikeouts, 67 walks) with two teams, finishing the year at Double-A Birmingham.
He garnered an invite to work out with the White Sox’s taxi squad in Chicago last summer and then was assigned to Triple-A Charlotte.
Pitchers and catchers report Wednesday in Glendale, Arizona, and Medeiros is one of 21 nonroster invites.
• Torres-Costa, 26, will join Kolten Wong at the Brewers’ camp in Phoenix looking to shake off the rust that was caused not only by the pandemic, but also the Tommy John surgery that cut short his 2019 minor-league season.
Before his injury, the left-handed reliever looked primed to break through to the big leagues after striking out 65 batters in 55 innings with two teams in 2018 and compiling a 1.31 ERA while earning a promotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
“It’s just an honor to be invited to the big league camp and get the opportunity to show what I can do and how I can contribute to the team,” Torres-Costa told KHON2 in an interview earlier this week.
He said the lull caused by COVID-19 allowed him to give back to the game – something he figured would have had to wait until after his career – by providing pitching lessons to youth players.
“I couldn’t just sit around and watch TV all day,” he told KHON2. “I wanted to figure out a way I could show my support and knowledge of the game to whomever wants to learn, and still be able to train and work out for this spring training.”
One of 18 nonroster invites, Torres-Costa starts camp Wednesday with pitchers and catchers, and if he doesn’t make the cut, he’s likely destined for Triple-A Nashville.
Full squad workouts ramp up next week, and the first exhibitions are Feb. 28.
Spring rosters will be limited to 75 players, with minor league camps delayed until the big leaguers leave town for opening day April 1.