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Top 3 prospects among Rockies' NRIs

Infielder Rodgers headlines group of 19
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Infielder Brendan Rodgers, the No. 10 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline, and the next two highest-ranked prospects in the Rockies' system -- third baseman Colton Welker and righty starter Peter Lambert -- were among 19 players announced as non-roster invitees to Major League Spring Training on Wednesday.

Rodgers, 22, is considered a factor in what's expected to be a heated competition for the starting second base job.

DENVER -- Infielder Brendan Rodgers, the No. 10 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline, and the next two highest-ranked prospects in the Rockies' system -- third baseman Colton Welker and righty starter Peter Lambert -- were among 19 players announced as non-roster invitees to Major League Spring Training on Wednesday.

Rodgers, 22, is considered a factor in what's expected to be a heated competition for the starting second base job.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

No. 2 Rockies prospect Welker, a right-handed-hitting third baseman who led the Class A Advanced California League with a .333 batting average last year, will get his first taste of Major League camp at age 21.

No. 3 Rockies prospect Lambert, who turns 22 on April 18, advanced to Triple-A Albuquerque last season and could figure in competition for the rotation now or serve as depth during the season.

While the list of invitees is populated with prospects, five players with Major League experience are arriving in hopes of making the Opening Day roster:

• Right-handed-hitting Mark Reynolds, the Rockies' primary first baseman in 2016 and 2017 before spending last season with Washington
• Outfielder Michael Saunders, an All-Star with the Blue Jays in 2016 who did not appear in the Majors last season
• Catcher Brett Nicholas, who appeared in 21 games with the Rangers in 2016 but spent last year in Triple-A with the Padres
• Right-handed pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez, who was 4-8 with a 4.54 ERA in 17 games (13 starts) for the Rangers in 2015 and 2016
• No. 24 Rockies prospect Sam Howard, a left-handed pitcher who made his Major League debut last year and re-signed on a Minor League deal this offseason.

Also on the prospect list are a couple of first basemen: No. 11 prospect, righty-hitting Tyler Nevin and No. 25 prospect, lefty-hitting Brian Mundell. The Rockies signed veteran Daniel Murphy to a two-year contract to play first base, but have an eye toward the future at the position with right-handed hitting Josh Fuentes (on the 40-man Major League roster) and the non-roster invitees.

The Rockies also will take a close look at No. 15 prospect, left-handed pitcher Ben Bowden, who went 7-2 with a 3.98 ERA in 49 combined games at Class A Asheville and Lancaster after missing 2017 with a bulging disk in his back.

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

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