Several top prospects among Braves’ non-roster invitees

The Braves’ 24 non-roster invitees includes a couple of the highly rated prospects acquired in winter trades and at least a handful of pitchers with legitimate shots at making the opening-day roster.

Third baseman Rio Ruiz, one of four prospects gained from Houston in the Evan Gattis trade, and speedy outfielder Mallex Smith, part of the prospect trio that came from San Diego in the Justin Upton trade, will have a chance to show Braves officials what they can do when spring training begins in a few weeks at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

ESPN.com’s Keith Law rated Ruiz as the Braves’ fifth-best prospect and placed him at No. 93 in his list of baseball’s top 100 prospects. Smith, rated the Braves’ No. 18 prospect by Baseball America, hit .301 with a .403 OBP, 41 extra-base hits (five homers) and a minors-leading 88 steals in 120 games in Single-A.

Highly rated prospect Jason Hursh and bullpen candidates Michael Kohn and Sugar Ray Marimon are among five non-roster right-handers, along with former Cy Young Award runner-up Chien-Ming Wang and prospect Cody Martin.

Left-handers on the list include fifth-starter candidates Eric Stults and Wandy Rodriguez, veteran bullpen candidate Donnie Veal and relief prospect Brady Fiegl.

Former major leaguers Jesus Flores and John Buck and 2014 Cuban free-agent signee Yenier Bello are among eight catchers on the non-roster list, with Matt Kennelly, 19-year-0ld prospect Tanner Murphy, Chris O’Dowd, Braeden Schlehuber and Jose Yepez.

Well-traveled former Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson, a utility candidate, leads a group of non-roster infield invitees that includes Johan Camargo, Daniel Castro and Pedro Ciriaco. Cedric Hunter is the only outfielder besides Smith on the non-roster invitee list.