The Atlanta Braves announced the final list of their non-roster invitees for spring training today. The list includes top prospect Jason Heyward, expected to seriously compete for the starting right field job this spring. It's been debated over and over here at Talking Chop as to whether or not the Braves should start Heyward in the majors or give him more time in the minors, but we really have to wait and see how he performs in spring training.
Top first base prospect Freddie Freeman also got an invite for the second consecutive year. It will be interesting to see how he performs in his second major league spring training. Shortstop Brandon Hicks will also be in his second major league spring training.
Top draft pick from 2009, Mike Minor, gets an invite to spring training, as well as top draft pick from 2006, outfielder Cody Johnson. Two interesting pitchers to watch include reliever Craig Kimbrel, who some consider a future closer candidate, and Eric Cordier, a talented oft-injured former second-round pitcher who many expect to turn a corner this year. Diminutive and speedy outfielder Matt Young also received an invite.
The obligatory extra catchers also received invites, Jesus Sucre and Braeden Schlehuber, who join veteran invitees Orlando Mercado and the yearly sighting of J.C. Boscan.
Previous players receiving invites include position players Joe Thurston, Brent Clevlen, and Mitch Jones. Thurston has a chance to earn a role as a utility infielder, and Jones could contribute off the bench or in the outfield if Heyward fails to make the team.
The final three invitees are bullpen candidates Mariano Gomez, Chris Resop, and Scott Proctor, who will likely still be rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.