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Acuna highlights Braves' non-roster invitees

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- As the Braves prepare for Spring Training, it was assumed that Ronald Acuna, Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard and Austin Riley would be among the non-roster invitees. But they won't be the club's only highly touted prospects who will be experiencing big league camp for the first time.

The list of 21 players, which Atlanta released Friday afternoon, is highlighted by Acuna, who could stand as baseball's top overall prospect when MLB Pipeline unveils its 2018 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

ATLANTA -- As the Braves prepare for Spring Training, it was assumed that Ronald Acuna, Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard and Austin Riley would be among the non-roster invitees. But they won't be the club's only highly touted prospects who will be experiencing big league camp for the first time.

The list of 21 players, which Atlanta released Friday afternoon, is highlighted by Acuna, who could stand as baseball's top overall prospect when MLB Pipeline unveils its 2018 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

As expected, Soroka, Allard and Riley are also on the list of non-roster invitees. A somewhat surprising but certainly deserving prospect on the list is Cristian Pache, a 19-year-old outfielder who has the potential to make a quick rise through the Minor League system, much like Acuna did last year when he began the season with Class A Advanced Florida and ended it with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Video: Pache has the tools to excel defensively for Braves

Acuna, Pache, Jaff Decker, Dustin Peterson and Danny Santana stand as the five outfielders the Braves will bring to camp as non-roster invites.

While Acuna has the potential to be on the Opening Day roster, Atlanta seems more likely to give him at least a few additional weeks at Gwinnett. Pache doesn't possess the power tool, but his speed and defensive prowess could help him quickly advance toward the big league level.

Peterson came to camp last year hoping to gain an Opening Day roster spot, but his prospect stock dropped after he fractured his left hamate bone during a Grapefruit League game. There is a chance he could battle Decker and Santana for a bench spot.

The full list of non-roster pitchers includes five right-handers -- Soroka, Kyle Wright, Josh Graham, Luke Jackson and Miguel Socolovich -- and two lefties -- Allard and Phil Pfeifer.

While Soroka and Allard have experienced Minor League camp the past two years, Wright, who was selected with the fifth overall pick in last year's MLB Draft, will be experiencing Spring Training for the first time. Though none of those three will come to camp with a strong chance to be included on the Opening Day roster, each has the potential to reach the Majors at some point this year.

Video: Top Prospects: Kyle Wright, RHP, Braves

The Braves have also invited five non-roster catchers -- Rob Brantly, William Contreras, Alex Jackson, Tyler Marlette and Kade Scivicque. Brantly and Marlette appear most likely to get a call to Atlanta if necessary at some point this season.

Contreras possesses encouraging upside, but he has never played above the Class A level. Jackson made some strides offensively last year, but there are lingering concerns about his defensive capabilities behind the plate. Scivicque has drawn encouraging reviews from the player development staff, but he likely projects to be a backup catcher at the big league level.

Riley, Christian Colon, Ray-Patrick Didder and Sean Kazmar will be the four non-roster infielders. Riley stands as one of the game's top third-base prospects, but he is likely at least a year away from being deemed Major League ready. Kazmar has set a number of longevity records as he's spent the past five seasons with Gwinnett, but at 33 years old, his only big league experience is the 19 games he played for the Padres in 2008. Didder caught Chipper Jones' eye in Spring Training last year, but his stock dropped as he produced a .661 OPS for Florida.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves