Top prospect Gray among Rockies' non-roster invitees

Top prospect Gray among Rockies' non-roster invitees

DENVER -- Right-handed pitcher Jon Gray and shortstop Trevor Story, one-time Rockies first-round picks in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, are among the prospects from the Rockies' organization to receive non-roster invitations to Major League Spring Training.

The Rockies issued non-roster invitations to 24 players. They include a healthy number of free agents with Major League experience -- most notably right-handed relievers John Axford, Rafael Betancourt, Brett Marshall, Justin Miller and Jose Ortega; starting-pitching candidates Jair Jurrjens, Yohan Flande, Aaron Laffey, John Lannan and Gus Schlosser; outfielders Roger Bernadina and Matt McBride; lefty reliever Buddy Boshers; catcher Audry Perez; and infielder Omar Quintanilla.

The pitcher and catcher invitees will join pitchers and catchers from the Major League roster in reporting Feb. 19, with their first workout on Feb. 21. Full-squad workouts begin Feb. 27.

Gray, 23, the third overall pick in 2013 and Colorado's top prospect, is in his second straight big league camp and enters the season ranked the No. 16 prospect in the Minors by MLB.com. He went 10-5 with a 3.91 ERA at Double-A Tulsa in his first full professional season.

Story, 22, lit up the Class A Advanced California League -- against generally older players -- to the tune of a .332 average with a .436 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 20 stolen bases in 50 games. Promoted to Tulsa at midseason, Story -- a first-round Draft pick (No. 45 overall) in 2011 out of Irving (Texas) High School -- batted .200 with nine homers, a .302 OBP and three steals in 56 games.

Invitations also went to catcher Tommy Murphy and right-handed closer Scott Oberg, two players whose ascents were cut short last season by injuries.

Murphy, who turns 24 on April 3, hit a combined .288 with 22 home runs and 83 RBIs at Class A Asheville and Tulsa in 2013, and had a promising showing last year in Spring Training. But shoulder injuries limited him to 27 games, a .213 average and five homers last season at Tulsa.

Oberg, who turns 25 on March 13, had a 1.86 ERA and 33 saves for Modesto in 2013 and a 2.63 ERA and 15 saves in 27 appearances for Tulsa in 2014 before suffering a right shoulder injury that required arthroscopic surgery.

Catchers Ryan Casteel and Dustin Garneau, and left-handers Jason Gurka, Kenny Roberts and Kraig Sitton round out the list of invitations.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.