The Milwaukee Brewers will have just 10 non-roster players at spring training this season -- in 2017 they brought in 17. Some are prospects getting their first taste of the majors while others are veterans hoping for another chance. Don't discount these guys -- among last year's non-roster spring training camp players, Paolo Espino, David Goforth, Eric Sogard , Tyler Webb and Aaron Wilkerson all were with the big club at some point during the season. Here's a look at each of this year's 10 invitees to Milwaukee's camp. (Note: Updated to 12 on Feb. 15; added to the bottom)
USA TODAY SportsRick Scuteri
C Christian Bethancourt
Bethancourt is listed as a catcher -- even though he did not play that position the majors or minors last season with San Diego. He does, however, have 114 games of experience at catcher in the majors with the Padres and Atlanta from 2014-16, throwing out 35 percent of attempted basestealers. His arm has never been a question -- San Diego had him pitch in Triple-A in 2017 (he's also logged 5 1/3 MLB innings) -- but his bat has. Bethancourt is a career .222/.252/.316 hitter in the majors and .275/.306/.389 in the minors. Milwaukee appears to be set at catcher with Manny Pina and Steven Vogt (although Vogt's deal he signed this offseason is not guaranteed), but Bethancourt provides unusual versatility for a catcher. Besides pitcher, he's played left field, right field and second base in the majors.
USA TODAY SportsJason Getz
RHP Corbin Burnes
A fourth-round pick in 2016, Burnes was named Milwaukee's minor-league pitcher of the year after compiling a 1.67 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 26 starts for Carolina and Biloxi. Burnes has quickly moved up the list as one of the Brewers' top prospects. While it would be a surprise to see Burnes break camp with Milwaukee, an appearance in the big leagues at some point in 2018 certainly isn't out of the question for the 23-year-old.
1B Ji-Man Choi
The left-hand hitting Choi reportedly had 12 teams bidding for his services. He's shown good plate discipline and power in seven minor-league seasons, although it has yet to translate in the majors, where he has a slash line of .181/.279/.386 in 60 games with the Angels and Yankees. While he does have a little experience playing the outfield, it's hard to see how Choi fits in on the Brewers -- but then again the same thing was said about Aguilar in 2017. Choi turns 27 in May.
USA TODAY SportsNoah K. Murray
RHP Ernesto Frieri
If Frieri can recapture his form from early in his career, he has a shot to make Milwaukee's bullpen at some point in 2018. From 2009-13, Frieri had a 2.76 ERA, 1.171 WHIP and 12.3 K/9 with the Padres and Angels, recording 60 saves with the latter. But from 2013-17 -- excluding 2016, in which Frieri didn't pitch -- he had a 5.05 ERA, 1.344 WHIP and 10.9 K/9 for four teams.
2B Keston Hiura
Milwaukee's top draft pick in 2017 gets a courtesy invite to spring training after playing no higher than Class A last season. But Hiura hit … and hit and hit and hit for both teams in which he played (AZL Brewers and Wisconsin). In a combined 42 games, he had a slash line of .372/.422/.611 and he reached base in all but one game. Hiura was able to play only three games in the field in '17, so getting experience on defense will be just as important as batting against tougher pitching. Hiura isn't the Brewers' second baseman of the present, but this could be the first glimpse of the future.
RHP J.J. Hoover
The 32-year-old Hoover has been with a big-league club in every season since 2012. His first five years were spent with NL Central rival Cincinnati, where he had a 4.12 ERA and 1.263 WHIP in 242 1/3 innings. In 2017, Hoover pitched in 52 games for Arizona, recording a 3.92 ERA but a 1.766 WHIP in 41 1/3 innings. He did, though, record 54 strikeouts (for a career-high 11.8 K/9).
USA TODAY SportsAaron Doster
2B Nate Orf
Orf has been in the Brewers' system since 2013, when he was signed after being undrafted out of Baylor. He's moved steadily up the chain, playing at every level. Orf had a career year in 2017, batting .320/397/.507 with Triple-A Colorado Springs. Besides second base, Orf also has experience in the minors at third base, shortstop and the outfield. A utility role seemingly would be his best shot of making the big club.
RHP Luis Ortiz
The lone piece remaining in the Brewers' system from Texas in the Jonathan Lucroy trade, Ortiz had 4.01 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with Biloxi last season in 22 games (20 starts). Ortiz has never pitched more than 94 1/3 innings in a season, which he did in 2017. Perhaps Ortiz could stick as a reliever, but more likely he'll be get sent to the minors for more seasoning.
RHP Jon Perrin
A 27th-round draft pick in 2015, Perrin has nominally been a starter in the minors for Milwaukee -- until last season, when he had 12 starts and 11 relief appearances with Biloxi, posting a 2.91 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 105 1/3 innings. Perrin has shown impeccable control in the minors, walking just 1.5 batters every nine innings.
OF Kyle Wren
The left-hand hitting Wren, who will be 27 in April, joined the Brewers organization in 2015. In 2016, with Biloxi and Colorado Springs, he hit a combined .322/.412/.412 with 29 steals. Last season in Triple-A with the Sky Sox, he batted .286/.364/.401 and stole 26 bases. In his minor-league career, Wren has an on-base percentage of .365 and 172 stolen bases in 576 games.
UT Nick Franklin
Franklin played for the Brewers briefly in 2017 after being claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay before being traded to the Angels. He can play multiple positions -- all over the infield (he made nine starts at second base for Milwaukee) as well as the outfield (13 starts for the Brewers). Once considered a top prospect, Franklin, other than one season with the Rays, hasn't done much offensively in his 300 major-league games, batting .214/.285/.360. With the Brewers, the switch-hitter had 89 plate appearances in 53 games and hit .195 with two home runs.
LHP Wade Miley
Miley had a rough year in Baltimore in 2017, with career worsts in ERA (5.61) and BB/9 (5.3). Miley didn't fare well in his three years in the American League with Boston, Seattle and the Orioles (combined 5.10 ERA and 1.495 WHIP). Perhaps a return to the National League, where he pitched with Arizona from 2011-14 (3.79 ERA, 1.323 WHIP) will be his cure. Miley could land in the rotation or bullpen with the Brewers.