ATLANTA -- Travis Demeritte, Patrick Weigel, A.J. Minter and Dustin Peterson are among the Braves' prospects who have been invited to Major League camp for the first time this year. They will be joined by Ozzie Albies and Sean Newcomb, a couple of elite prospects who will return to Spring
ATLANTA -- Travis Demeritte, Patrick Weigel, A.J. Minter and Dustin Peterson are among the Braves' prospects who have been invited to Major League camp for the first time this year. They will be joined by Ozzie Albies and Sean Newcomb, a couple of elite prospects who will return to Spring Training intent on building on the success they had while gaining this same first experience last year.
The Braves announced they have invited 20 non-roster players to participate in their big league camp this year. The list of non-roster invitees includes the aforementioned prospects and a crop of veterans that includes right-handed reliever Blaine Boyer and utility man Emilio Bonifacio, who stand as the most likely members of this group to earn a spot on Atlanta's Opening Day roster.
• Spring Training info
A non-roster player includes any member of the organization who is not currently on the 40-man roster. Thus, this list does not account for Max Fried, a highly touted left-handed pitcher who was guaranteed his first invitation to big league camp when he was placed on Atlanta's 40-man roster in November.
With starting shortstop Dansby Swanson, Albies, Newcomb, Demeritte and Fried, the Braves will have five of their top 11 prospects, per MLBPipeline, in big league camp. Weigel, Minter, Peterson and 40-man-roster members Rio Ruiz, Lucas Sims, Luke Jackson and Akeel Morris are the other members of the team's Top 30 Prospects list who will be present.
Albies, who will likely begin the season with Triple-A Gwinnett, and Demeritte, who will likely start with Double-A Mississippi, stand as the only infielders coming to camp with the Braves as non-roster invitees. If Albies overcomes the fractured right elbow he suffered in September, there is a chance he could reach the Majors this season and begin serving as Swanson's double-play partner. Demeritte is another talented middle infielder who distinguishes himself from the others with his power potential.
Peterson, who will begin the season with Gwinnett, and Bonifacio are the only outfielders coming to camp with the Braves as non-roster invitees. Bonifacio spent most of last season with Gwinnett, but the switch-hitter's ability to play center field and provide speed off the bench has seemingly positioned him as a favorite to begin the upcoming season on Atlanta's bench.
The Braves will bring 11 pitchers to camp as non-roster invitees. The right-handers include Boyer, Weigel, Rhiner Cruz, Joel De La Cruz and Jordan Walden. The left-handers are Minter, Newcomb, John Danks, Sam Freeman, Adam Kolarek and Eric O'Flaherty.
If Boyer pitches effectively during Spring Training, there is a good chance he will be back in the Braves' bullpen, which he previously inhabited from 2005-09. Atlanta has some depth in this department, but Boyer's experience may provide him an edge if Mauricio Cabrera, Jose Ramirez or Rule 5 Draft selection Armando Rivero show their youth during camp.
O'Flaherty and Walden are a few other former Braves who can at least provide further insurance during camp. Danks will bid for a rotation spot, but his best shot at earning a roster spot might be to unseat Josh Collmenter as the bullpen's long reliever.
The five non-roster catchers coming to camp with the Braves are David Freitas, Blake Lalli, Joseph Odom, Braeden Schlehuber and Kade Scivicque.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.