Correa, Appel headline Astros' spring invites

Correa, Appel headline Astros' spring invites

HOUSTON -- The Astros announced Tuesday they've invited 17 non-roster players to Spring Training, including former No. 1 overall picks Carlos Correa and Mark Appel -- both of whom will be at Major League camp for the second consecutive year.

Including Correa, a shortstop, and Appel, a starting pitcher, the Astros added five pitchers, three catchers, seven infielders and two outfielders to their Spring Training roster. Pitchers and catchers report to Kissimmee, Fla., on Feb. 20, and position players report Feb. 24.

The other non-roster players coming to camp are left-hander Darin Downs; right-handers Brady Rodgers, Jason Stoffel and Jordan Jankowski; infielders Dan Johnson, Gregorio Petit, Matt Duffy, Nolan Fontana, Colin Moran and Joe Sclafani; outfielders Andrew Aplin and Preston Tucker; and catchers Luis Flores, Tyler Heineman and Roberto Pena.

Seven of the Astros' top 10 prospects, as ranked by MLB.com, will be in attendance at Major League Spring Training, including Correa (No. 1), Appel (No. 2), outfielder Domingo Santana (No. 3), right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (No. 4), Moran (No. 5), right-hander Michael Feliz (No. 7) and right-hander Vincent Velasquez (No. 8). Santana, Foltynewicz, Feliz and Velasquez are currently on the Astros' 40-man roster.

McTaggart on prospects in 2015

Correa, 20, missed the second half of last season after breaking his leg at Class A Lancaster. He's healthy and expected to start the year at Double-A Corpus Christi and could be in Houston by the end of the season.

"I got a video two nights ago of Correa taking BP in the Dominican Republic at night, and it sounded like gun shots coming off the bat," said general manager Jeff Luhnow. "So he looks physically outstanding. He came to have his surgery looked at by the doctor that did it, and the reports were all really good. He should be full-go."

Appel, 23, missed almost all of spring camp last year after undergoing an appendectomy, which was the beginning of a strange year for the No. 1 pick in the 2013 Draft. He finished the season pitching well at Corpus Christi and was outstanding in the Arizona Fall League, setting him up to compete for a spot on the club this spring.

Another shortstop returning from an injury is Fontana, who broke a finger in June and had season-ending surgery. He hit .262 with 21 doubles, 26 RBIs, 61 walks and a .418 on-base percentage in 66 games at Corpus Christi last season.

Moran, 22, will be in camp with the Astros for the first time after being traded to Houston last year in the Jarred Cosart deal with Miami. A third baseman, Moran hit .296 with 27 doubles, seven homers and 55 RBIs in 117 games between Corpus Christi and Class A Jupiter last year. He was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 Draft.

It will be the first appearance in Major League camp for Aplin, Duffy, Flores, Feliz, Velasquez, Jankowski, Pena, Rodgers and Sclafani.

The 17 non-roster invitees bring the Astros' spring roster total to 56 players (25 pitchers, 31 position players). The 40-man roster sits at 39 players.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.