Here are the non-roster invitees to Braves spring training

Houston Astros relief pitcher Ken Giles looks at first base during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. The Astros won 2-1. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Credit: Jae C. Hong

Credit: Jae C. Hong

Houston Astros relief pitcher Ken Giles looks at first base during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. The Astros won 2-1. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The team’s 2023 first-round pick Hurston Waldrep headlines a group of 23 non-roster invitees to Braves big-league spring training.

Of the non-roster invitees, 16 have previous major-league experience – and three were Braves last season. Four invitees rank among the club’s top 30 prospects on MLB Pipeline.

The Braves, at this moment, have 37 players on their 40-man roster, which means they have 60 players scheduled to be in major-league spring training. The Braves could fill the final three spots on their 40-man roster before camp opens.

Some other notable names among the 23: Ken Giles, Ignacio Alvarez, David Fletcher, Eli White and Jordan Luplow.

Waldrep ended last season as the Braves’ No. 2 prospect on MLB Pipeline. Alvarez, an infielder, was seventh, which led all position players in the system.

After the Braves drafted the right-handed Waldrep in July, he rose all the way to Triple-A in a brief minor-league stint. He certainly made a positive impression as he posted a 1.53 ERA over 29-1/3 innings across four levels. He’s known for his nasty splitter, which the Braves viewed as one of the top secondary pitches in last year’s MLB draft.

Waldrep’s inclusion is intriguing because the Braves are expected to have a competition for the fifth spot in their starting rotation. Waldrep might not have a ton of experience in professional baseball, but his time at the University of Florida means he’s more seasoned than a pitcher taken out of high school. The Braves have shown a willingness to be aggressive with prospects who earn opportunities.

Plus, remember when Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd eventually both made starts in the first turn through the rotation last year?

Anything can happen.

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge (99) steals second base ahead of a throw to Los Angeles Angels shortstop David Fletcher (22) during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Credit: AP

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Credit: AP

Speaking of surprises: The Braves signed the 33-year-old Giles, a former closer, to a minor-league deal. He has 115 saves and a 2.71 ERA over 355-1/3 career innings. He was part of Houston’s World Series team in 2017, and had 34 saves in the regular season and two more in the postseason. But since the end of 2019, Giles has pitched eight innings in the majors.

Giles will earn $1.75 million if he’s in the majors this year, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Recently, Giles threw for interested teams. The right-hander was at 94-96 mph. This spring, the Braves will find out whether he has something left.

Remember this about Fletcher, who is a non-roster invitee despite the team acquiring him and his $6 million salary this winter: Earlier in the offseason, the Braves outrighted him off the roster to create flexibility on the 40-man roster. They placed him through waivers expecting no one to take on his $6 million salary. He’s guaranteed that money, which means he’ll likely be on the major-league roster as the utility infielder, barring anything unforeseen.

Braves fans will recognize catcher Chadwick Tromp, infielder Luke Williams and White. All spent time on the Braves’ roster last season.

Luplow was in camp with the Braves last year after the team gave him a one-year deal, but oblique soreness put him behind in camp. Luplow didn’t make the team and the Braves later designated him for assignment.

White eventually was released after suffering a season-ending torn labrum in his left shoulder. Tromp and Williams were in bench roles.

Braves pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to North Port, Florida, on Feb. 14. Position players are to report Feb. 19.

The Braves don’t have many questions entering camp. Barring anything unexpected, their lineup is set. We know four of their five starters. Every team must figure out its exact bullpen mix, but it seems we have a decent picture of which relievers are virtual locks for the roster because they have guaranteed deals. The Braves must still figure out their entire bench.

But spring training always brings at least one surprise. Perhaps someone on the list of non-roster invitees will give it to us.

The full list of non-roster invitees:

Pitchers (8): RHP Hurston Waldrep, RHP Ken Giles, RHP Taylor Widener, LHP Ben Bowden, RHP Tommy Doyle, RHP Grant Holmes, LHP Hayden Harris, RHP Jake Walsh

Catchers (4): Chadwick Tromp, Drake Baldwin, Tyler Tolve, Sebastián Rivero

Infielders (8): Ignacio Alvarez, Phillip Evans, David Fletcher, Leury Garcia, Alejo López, Andrew Velasquez, Luke Waddell, Luke Williams

Outfielders (3): Jordan Luplow, Eli White, Luis Liberato

Hurston Waldrep, the Braves 2023 first-round draft pick, was promoted to High A Rome from Low A Augusta.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Augusta Green Jackets

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Credit: Photo courtesy of Augusta Green Jackets

Florida pitcher Hurston Waldrep (12) throws against South Carolina in the first inning of an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game Saturday, June 10, 2023, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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Credit: AP

Los Angeles Angels' David Fletcher waits for a pitch while batting against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Credit: AP

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Credit: AP

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