The Braves are inviting 20 non-roster players to their 2019 Spring Training adventure.
Among these players are:
- Starting pitching prospects Ian Anderson, Kyle Muller, and Joey Wentz;
- Relief prospects Thomas Burrows, Corbin Clouse, and Tucker Davidson;
- Position player prospects C.J. Alexander, William Contreras, Greyson Jenista, Jonathan Morales, Cristian Pache, Austin Riley, and Drew Waters;
- A small smattering of organizational depth.
Of these names, most are unlikely to make the final roster that will head north from Florida to kick off the 2019 season. However, Austin Riley figures to make his major league debut at some point this year, while it’s not inconceivable that Thomas Burrows and Corbin Clouse get call-ups at some point (or even potentially make the team out of Spring Training), as the Braves’ relief situation is very much in flux and will likely continue to be such throughout the year.
In case you’re unfamiliar with some of the names on this list...
Carlos Martinez is an organizational depth-type catcher from Colombia who made it as far as Double-A last season. Andres Blanco and Pedro Florimon are veteran utility infielders who have most recently seen major league time with the Phillies. Sean Kazmar actually appeared at the major league level all the way back in 2008, but has toiled at Triple-A for the Braves for each of the last six years — the definition of a minor league lifer. Luis Marte is yet another utility infielder who has spent parts of his last two seasons at Double-A and Triple-A; he departed the Rangers organization in 2018 and was snapped up by the Braves.
On the outfield front, Ryan LaMarre actually has 220 plate appearances of major league experience across parts of four seasons, with nearly all of that coming last year with the Twins and White Sox. LaMarre did manage a 91 wRC+ in 180 PAs last year, but a .389 BABIP suggests some great fortune, and the former second-round pick probably isn’t a candidate to make the roster unless he shows out and other circumstances (like injuries, knock on wood) strike. Rafael Ortega, meanwhile, has also been around the block, making his major league debut back in 2012. The 27-year-old has been a dreadful hitter (62 wRC+ in 351 major league PAs) but has hit decently across his many Triple-A stints. However, he doesn’t necessarily offer much defensive upside, as Statcast was not a fan of his defensive work (career 0 Outs Above Average and -2 percent Catch Percentage Added).