6 Braves non-roster invitees to keep your eye on during spring training

With a vast majority of the big league roster set - here are a few players to keep your eye on this Spring.

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We are under two weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting, and just 18 days away from the first full-squad workout and the Atlanta Braves blessed us with their non-roster invitee list for Spring Training.

For those unfamiliar, non-roster invitees are individuals who are not necessarily on the 40-man roster and will report to big league camp in the spring to allow front-office brass to take a closer look at what they have to offer.

Last year we saw the likes of Jesse Chavez, Dylan Dodd, Alan Rangel, Jared Shuster, Ehire Adrianza, and Kevin Pillar - all who made contributions to the Major League team during the season, some such as Alan Rangel and Kevin Pillar, who made rather significant contributions to the team.

A quick look shows some obvious candidates - Hurston Waldrep, Drake Baldwin, Chadwick Trump, Tyler Tolve, and Ignacio Alvarez, all top prospects at their positions, or in the case of Chadwick with existing MLB experience. Former Ramblin' Wreck Luke Waddell is an NRI for the second year in a row. Let's take a look at a few of the players who you should keep your eye on this spring.

Pitchers to keep an eye on this Spring for Atlanta

We will save the big surprise listing for the end of this section who first jumps out at you is Atlanta's #2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, Hurston Waldrep, who apparently wanted everyone to know immediately he was drafted far too late as he worked his way up to Triple-A after seven total starts.

Hurston possesses a fantastic fastball, slider, and curveball and one of the best splitters in recent memory. His splitter is so good it has earned him many comparisons to former Brave and current Blue Jay, Kevin Gausman. Couple that pitch with continued improved command this season and fans will see Hurston battling for a big league spot sooner than later.

Coming up next we have intriguing relief prospect Hayden Harris. A local guy, born in Augusta and having gone to Georgia Southern, Hayden was a free agent signing back in 2022. All Hayden has done is absolutely shove - with a 16.2 K/9 in A-ball, 14.63 K/9 in A+ ball, and 12.86 K/9 at Double-A Mississippi. While the walk rate spiked up a bit while at Mississippi (4.37 BB/9), he is a strong Spring away from being one of the first arms called up for Atlanta.

Lastly was the casual announcement of Ken Giles coming to Braves camp. As stated above, Ken Giles was one of the best overall relief options in Major League Baseball from pretty much 2014 to 2019. He has amassed a career ERA of 2.71, an FIP of 2.46, and a career K/9 of 12.26. Ken, unfortunately, had to undergo Tommy John surgery which saw him miss most of 2020, and 2021. He has pitched mostly in the minors since.

Position players to keep an eye on this Spring for Atlanta

While we may not expect any of these players to play significant roles, if any at all, in Atlanta this year due to, well let's just call it what it is, one of the best rosters in the league. There are a few to keep your eye on to get a better understanding of what this farm system has to offer. First up we have my top position prospect - Ignacio Alvarez, nicknamed Nacho Alvarez.

Nacho possesses above-average defense at both short and third base, features a great arm, and fantastic bat-to-ball skills when hitting. He knows the strike zone very well, highlighted by his 13.2 BB% rate, while striking out 17.4% of the time in 2023. Nacho should hit for average, but the biggest question is, will his game power match his raw power? If it does you have a Top 100 prospect and one that will be challenging for that shortstop role in the near future.

While you often carry as many catchers are you can during Spring, there are some intriguing options available for the Braves. Chadwick Tromp saw time in the majors last year and was solid at Triple-A with a .720 OPS and 16% BB/9. However, it's the duo of Drake Baldwin and Tyler Tolve who look to make names for themselves this year. Drake Baldwin saw fantastic success across three levels last year hitting .260/.385/.466 at A+, .321/.390/.396 at Double-A, and .333/.333/.583 (3 games) at Triple-A while Tyler Tolve hit .238/.304/.394 at Double-A.

The Atlanta Braves already have a talented roster so it shouldn't come as a surprise that there is plenty more talent within the organization. Being a non-roster invitee is a big deal and gives fans a chance to see players during the Spring that they otherwise would not.

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