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Rockies' top prospect among 17 spring invites

Rodgers expected to see time at short, second and third in camp
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- The Rockies' No. 1 prospect, Brendan Rodgers, is prepared to watch, learn and maybe laugh.

Rodgers, 21, a shortstop who also has experience at second base, was one of 17 players to receive non-roster invites to Major League Spring Training on Monday. Rodgers not only is the team's top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, but the No. 15 prospect overall entering 2018. He also is MLB Pipeline's fourth-ranked shortstop.

DENVER -- The Rockies' No. 1 prospect, Brendan Rodgers, is prepared to watch, learn and maybe laugh.

Rodgers, 21, a shortstop who also has experience at second base, was one of 17 players to receive non-roster invites to Major League Spring Training on Monday. Rodgers not only is the team's top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, but the No. 15 prospect overall entering 2018. He also is MLB Pipeline's fourth-ranked shortstop.

The first invite to Major League camp usually is a get-your-feet-wet proposition for a player as new to pro ball as Rodgers, the team's top pick and third overall in the 2015 Draft. Generally that player is expected to learn quietly, and even take some good-natured kidding. But it's also Rodgers' first shot at competing with and against Major Leaguers -- players he hopes to play alongside soon.

Video: Top Prospects: Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies

"It's a big honor," said Rodgers, who last year was invited from Minor League camp for two Cactus League games and went 1-for-2 with a double. This year, he gets to be with the Major Leaguers during their preparation.

"I'm really excited. That was my goal last year, to hopefully get that big league invite. The hard work paid off, and I ended up achieving my goal. ... I'm sure there will be some nicknames, but that's all part of it. I'm just going to have to play along, play hard, fit in with those guys. They can help me."

Rockies' Spring Training info

Rodgers earned the early invite with a standout season at Class A Advanced Lancaster and Double-A Hartford -- .336, 18 home runs, 64 RBIs, 26 doubles and three triples in 89 games.

Rodgers also made progress defensively at shortstop. He is expected to work out at short, second base and third in camp in an attempt to accelerate his big league readiness.

How close Rodgers is to the Majors is unknown. The production suggests a fast path, but Rodgers believes the ability to stay healthy could make his goal a reality. He had nagging injuries while playing 37 games at Rookie-level Grand Junction in 2015 and 110 games at Class A Asheville in 2016. Last season, he had a minor hand injury at the start of the year and missed significant time at Hartford with a right quadriceps injury.

To combat that, Rodgers said he realizes that muscling up to the 215-217 pound range was not the best, so he is down to his preferred playing weight of 205.

"That's a good weight for me," said Rodgers, who chuckled about looking online and seeing him listed at 180 -- his weight at Lake Mary (Fla.) High School before the Draft. "I feel like I'm better at 200-205. Maybe sometimes bigger and stronger isn't going to last you through 140-160 games. Sometimes being more light on your feet helps you last those extra 20-30 games."

Other key prospects receiving invitations were Garrett Hampson, MLB Pipeline's No. 7 second baseman in the Minors and the No. 8 player in the Rockies' system; right-handed starting pitchers Peter Lambert (Rockies' No. 5) and Ryan Castellani (Rockies' No. 6, second big league camp appearance); righty reliever Shane Broyles, who had a 1.84 ERA and 21 saves at Double-A Hartford; first baseman Brian Mundell (Rockies' No. 14), who batted .300 with 15 homers at Lancaster and Hartford; catcher Dom Nunez (Rockies' No. 15), who played at Hartford and in the Arizona Fall League; and center fielder Sam Hilliard (Rockies' No. 19), who hit .300 with 21 homers, 23 doubles, seven triples and 37 steals at Lancaster.

Video: Top Prospects: Garrett Hampson, 2B, Rockies

Also back in camp is lefty starter Harrison Musgrave, who nearly made the Major League club last spring but saw his season at Triple-A Albuquerque shortened by a finger injury.

Tweet from @Rockies: 7 players in their 1st big league #SpringTraining.10 homegrown players.15 members of the Rockies organization last year.Here are our 17 Non-Roster Invitees for #RoxSpring 2018. pic.twitter.com/jji0UqJEyt

The Rockies have not signed a longtime Major League veteran to a Minor League deal. However, two middle infielders with Major League experience -- Daniel Castro (Braves 2015-16) and Shawn O'Malley (Angels 2014, Mariners 2015-16) -- were invited to improve depth. Additionally, righty-hander Brooks Pounders, who has 24 total relief appearances with the Royals in 2016 and the Angels last season, will be in camp.

Completing the list are righty relievers James Farris and Austin House, and lefty reliever Jerry Vasto, all of whom pitched at Albuquerque last season; and catchers Anthony Bemboom (Albuquerque) and Jan Vazquez (Hartford).

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Brendan Rodgers