KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- About 30 of the Astros' most promising prospects, including several members of the 2014 Draft class, reported to the Minor League complex at Osceola County Stadium on Sunday morning in advance of a mini-camp that begins Monday.
The majority of the players are pitchers, which gives them a month to get innings under their belts before the start of the Minor League seasons. Pitchers who have been invited include right-handers Brock Dykxhorn, Adrian Houser, Lance McCullers and Daniel Mengden and left-handers Kent Emanuel, Josh Hader and Tommy Shirley. Other players invited are catcher Brian Holberton, infielders J.D. Davis and A.J. Reed and outfielder Derek Fisher.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said some of the mini-camp players will get time on the Major League side. Some of the players will be used as backups on March 8, when the Astros have a split-squad game at home against the Braves and one at the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.
"The guys that have made our team get a little bit easier ramp into Spring Training, so we might utilize some of the mini-camp guys," Hinch said. "Some names I'm looking forward to seeing -- you want to show the guys that are in the mini-camp their next step would be, are they options for big league camp? -- some of last year's Draft picks, A.J. Reed, Fisher. There's going to be some guys that get some exposure who aren't in big league camp."
The mini-campers will play four games vs. other Minor Leaguers: March 12 vs. the Nationals, March 15 vs. the Tigers, March 17 at the Nationals and March 19 at Detroit.
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.