ATLANTA -- While Austin Riley, Cristian Pache and William Contreras will be getting a second taste of big league Spring Training, Kyle Muller, Joey Wentz and Ian Anderson will be experiencing it for the first time.Riley, Pache, Anderson and Drew Waters headline the 20 non-roster players who have been invited
ATLANTA -- While Austin Riley, Cristian Pache and William Contreras will be getting a second taste of big league Spring Training, Kyle Muller, Joey Wentz and Ian Anderson will be experiencing it for the first time.
Riley, Pache, Anderson and Drew Waters headline the 20 non-roster players who have been invited by the Braves to participate in big league camp. Each of these four players ranks among MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects, a list that could someday include Muller, Wentz and Contreras.
Braves non-roster invitees
Infielders: C.J. Alexander, Andrés Blanco, Pedro Florimon, Sean Kazmar Jr., Luis Marte and Riley
It's always good when this list includes Kazmar, who has established himself as a organizational favorite while spending each of the past six seasons with Triple-A Gwinnett without ever being added to Atlanta's roster. But the focus among this group will be on Riley, a power-hitting third baseman who ranks as the game's 38th-best prospect and finished last season ranked fifth in the Braves' Top 30.
With Josh Donaldson signed to serve as the Braves' third baseman this year, Riley's big league ETA has become harder to project. He'll spend some time learning to play the outfield during Spring Training. But his long-term future remains at the hot corner.
Pitchers: Anderson, Muller, Wentz, Thomas Burrows, Corbin Clouse and Tucker Davidson
When the Braves had five of the first 75 picks in the 2015 MLB Draft, they used four of those to select Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka, Riley and A.J. Minter. The club followed this by taking Anderson, Wentz and Muller with three of the first 44 overall picks in 2016.
Anderson posted a 2.49 ERA while producing 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings with Class A Advanced Florida and Double-A Mississippi last year. The 20-year-old right-hander will likely begin the upcoming season with Mississippi. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the game's 32nd-best prospect and finished last season ranked No. 3 in Atlanta's system.
Muller stands as one of the most intriguing prospects, coming to camp after training this winter at Driveline Baseball. Velocity no longer seems to be a concern for the 6-foot-6 left-hander. Wentz's development was slowed last summer, when he experienced two separate month-long stints on the disabled list. But the 21-year-old lefty still impressed, posting a 2.28 ERA over 16 starts (67 innings) for Florida.
Outfielders: Pache, Waters, Greyson Jenista, Ryan LaMarre and Rafael Ortega
Pache has been regarded as the top defensive outfielder in the organization, but he had never homered before totaling nine with Florida and Mississippi last year. The 20-year-old center fielder ranks as the game's 68th-best prospect and the Braves' sixth-best prospect.
Waters has cracked MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects List, checking in at No. 86. The 20-year-old outfielder hit .293 with nine homers and an .819 OPS for Class A Rome and Florida in 2018 season, his first full professional season.
Jenista was seen by some as a reach when the Braves took him with the 49th overall pick in last summer's MLB Draft. But the 22-year-old outfielder made a decent first impression, producing a .723 OPS while playing for Rookie Level Danville, Rome and Florida.
Catchers: Contreras, Carlos Martínez, Jonathan Morales
Contreras is the younger brother of Cubs All-Star catcher Willson Contreras. The 21-year-old Venezuelan has the chance to be Atlanta's catcher of the future. But he is likely at least a year away from becoming a legit option at the Major League level.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.